Tuesday "Fastermediate" Gravel

Since the season got under way in earnest we have been offering gravel rides for all levels of Intermediate and Fast riders on both Monday and Wednesday. Early in the season we were getting upwards of 30 riders coming out for both of these rides. In recent weeks these numbers have dwindled somewhat. Last year a Tuesday “fastermediate” ride was introduced. This proved to be very popular. I have been getting feedback that bringing back this ride would provide the faster riders in the club the opportunity to push their limits while providing a rest day after weekend racing or long rides and a rest day before the Thursday threshold road rides. To get a better idea whether this is the right route to go I have set up a poll. To be transparent on this, if the consensus is to switch the faster option to Tuesday a ride leader will have to step up. I will continue to lead a Wednesday gravel ride but I can’t ride both Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • Tuesday
  • Monday
  • Wednesday
0 voters

Watching this… Jim and I have been chatting back and forth a little already.

My Wednesdays have become booked for the summer, so plan initially was to keep going monday night with gravel. But could easily switch to Tuesday if that’s more poular.

Also was gonna post about gravel TT, but holding off to see this poll. (Initial plan was second monday in May, June, September and October, but let’s see how the poll goes.)


Rationale for Tuesday being need a rest day before Thursday Road (for the next 4 months).

Monday seems a little too close to the weekend? But could do if that’s the consensus.

Just my two cents… but for me having the “fast” and “intermediate” (and potentially “fastermediate”) options on the same day/time/place/similar route is a big draw, as it gives the option of choosing a group/route based on who shows up and how I’m feeling. I agree that it’s nice to have a rest day before the Thursday, but I wonder how the numbers would be impacted if there were to be a split in running a fast/fastermediate group on Tuesdays and an intermediate group on Wednesdays

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Good point @pascallap

The poll is for Fastermediate. Which means…fast…but keeping an eye on the pace and effort within the group, while still pushing at the front and stopping to regroup every so often.

It’s a different experience than FAST, who are the strongest riders in the club (by far), and who are looking for training, and speed, and focusing on data and pushing their fitness without much stopping them along the way. A very fun and welcoming group BTW…just FAST !

I am hearing some folks in the FAST group may also be interested in a Monday/Tuesday option for the same reason as us Fastermediates. :point_right: Saving legs for Thursday.

If some fast people want an option, we could consider 2 “fast-ish” groups on Tuesday and offer the choice depending on who’s out…like we do currently on Wednesday.

For those of you who remember last year… Tuesday “Fastermediate” was WAY faster than Wednesday “Fastermediate”. And that was not a bad thing.

That’s because it was often a mixed group of G1/G3 people who rolled out of the parking lot together….with faster people at the front warming up for the first 15 mins and checking not to totally shell the G3’s in the first 30 mins. Call it a “social start”. That said, at some point the pace would pick up and the fastermediates holding wheels would get permanently shelled on some hill to form the second group. At least that was the dynamic we experienced last year.

Let’s see how the poll shakes out and if there is interest from the fast group for Tuesday because they also need rest before Thursday Road? If the groups are big enough at the start and clear on their intended pace…then it’s 2 groups, and you have the choice at the start.

If we don’t have two large, distinct groups. And it’s billed as a fastermediate ride only, we’ll have to put a governor on the pace at the front to ensure those who show up get a quality ride and arrive home with the group.

Wonderfully, I’m already seeing people who were not able to come out on Wednesday’s, vote for Tuesday above. So, this move will attract people who would not otherwise ride gravel.

P.S. We were originally thinking Monday Gravel to avoid Tuesday, in an attempt to rebuild Group 3 at the HIIT Road Tuesday. But there are only so many days in a week, and the preference is for gravel these days.

Some qualitiative info on why I voted Tuesday! Basically – scheduling for me; my son is doing volleyball in Mondays and I’m often driving, so Monday isn’t available for me in the near term. Once that frees up again later in the summer, I’m pretty agnostic on the Monday/Tuesday split.

On the current group size – my bet is the switch to 6:30 pm once the days get longer might help. For me, getting on the bike for 6 pm is often doable; being at the parking lot for 6 pm is often a stretch for me! Not sure if I’m representative or not, but I need to have my day going really smoothly for 6 pm to happen!

I enjoyed the Tuesdays last year. I’m often on the slower end of the Tuesday group, so it’s a matter of letting the fast folks push up front, maybe take a few short pulls, and hang on to wheels as best I can. The pace is waaayyy faster than I’d usually be able to ride, which is cool, and the group has a very welcoming vibe, so it was really fun. If I ride Tuesday, I just dialled it back a couple of notches on Wednesday. When the days are long, it’s nice to have extra gravel.


The importance of long held staple rides such as Tuesday HIIT and Thursday Threshold are vital to the club.

Allowing more rides on these days is detrimental in many ways.

Where is the leadership regarding this? I’m very disappointed that other rides are even allowed to be considered on these days.



I’m a relatively new member of the club but I thought I would add my perspective

I ride gravel and MTB and don’t own a road bike. I can generally fit in one group ride a week between my work schedule and other riding. From my personal perspective It’s great having the flexibility to have different days in the week to choose from as my work schedule is quite variable

As @JimDaley stated they are a lot of riders showing up for some of the gravel rides. I wonder if there are enough people in the club who ride predominantly gravel to support three gravel rides a week without diluting out the road rides mentioned above? Not sure how to determine this but just a thought


Amazing. Great discussion as usual.

I’m no longer formal club leadership, and should just pipe down to leave space for others to add their voices, but the discussion is great, and balanced, and complicated.

I hear you @BRUBS. And you are providing much needed leadership for Tuesday and Thursday. I support you.

I am/was trying to rally the G3 troops out to Tuesday again this year. Especially after last night where the art-of -the-ride was clearing missing in our G3 at the start. Not enough pack etiquette or understanding of how pace line is about teamwork and building camaraderie and strength and order together. It’s taught and passed down on Tuesday. I almost feel like we’ve done a disservice to the new riders by letting Tuesday die.

We had two new riders in our G3 group last night and one said he “rejoined” because he remembered the WCC Tuesday ride from 10 years ago. And many of you will remember before COVID when we regularly had 80+ people out on Tuesday. So many showed up that we had to appoint a “deck master” to count people as they left the lot to ensure we would have no more than 15 people in a group to allow for proper rotation and clear instruction during the ride to guide the newer riders. We had club announcements and celebrated racing results from the past week. It was an amazing weekly club event that brought everyone together.

Still a HARD drop ride. But there was enough people and structure that you’d quickly find your group one week, learn the discipline, and try harder the next week. A thing of beauty.

And @BRUBS you are currently the custodian of that legacy ride. Same for Thursday. So, I get where you are coming from and I support you.


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That said, nothing happens in a vacuum.

Back when Tuesday was king, there was no gravel. Now, we have a massive gravel contingent that is a mix of road, MTB…and many came into the club during COVID as “only gravel”. Gravel has become one of the largest groups post COVID who shows up on mass on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s twelve months a year. Between 25-50 across 4 very well known and structured groups. At the moment, it is stronger and larger than Tuesday HIIT.

So we need a way to accommodate the fact that gravel does 2-3 rides a week during the summer now. Complicating matters is that many of us are core group riders and leaders for both gravel and road.

That’s easy when it’s only gravel season in the spring and fall. Not so easy when road rides start and we now have to integrate the combined road/gravel members in a way that allows for high performance and maximum participation in both disciplines during the week.

So the problem/challenge is…we can’t do HARD HIIT Tuesday, followed by HARD Gravel Wednesday, followed by HARD Thursday Road. And can’t kick gravel members to the curb for the summer.

Options are:

No Choice: Distinct seasons like the old days pre-COVID

  • Jan-Feb is Fat/Track/Zwift
  • March-April is gravel/groad (prep for P2A)
  • May-August is road. Tues, Thurs, Sat. (4 months)
  • Sept-Oct is CX (and/or gravel/groad)
  • Nov-Dec is fall gravel.
  • MTB all the time! (Sun, Mon, Wed) for the club.

Allow choice:

The survey is issued by the club leadership, and is asking the fastermediate gravel riders for their preferences and using democratic voting as a way to inform the decision making. And this chatter in the forum is a good way to capture the nuance and unintended impacts on other rides.

I love Tuesday HIIT. I hope it survives and THRIVES!. We need it. We’re also trying to make sure the leadership and momentum of Wednesday gravel isn’t fully lost as we transition to full road season.

The fastermediates are just trying to find one ride a week for gravel. The rest is road.



@Francqlife summed it up perfectly.

Ultimately you have to offer what the masses want otherwise they don’t remain members and then we are all worse off.

I love Bamberg and hope it thrives. I’m trying to make more myself. I like a break from the gravel bike after 6 months of not riding a road bike. But many only ride gravel and assuming there is leadership then they should have rides on whatever day works for that group.

Ride popularity changes with momentum. I remember the gravel rides being huge when I joined. Then they petered out for the intermediate to fast group in club. The main driving force at the time seemed to be the introduction of CX practice on a Saturday. It has swung the other way again.

Bamberg is probably a reflection of biking in general. Scrappy badger got more entrants than the first road Ocup.


FWIW I’m with @BRUBS . Make Tuesday Bambi great again.

Don’t get me wrong, the proliferation of gravel adventure rides, and the subsequent proliferation of “gravel specialists” is a fantastic thing, and I love to claim that I was doing it before it was cool, because it really is cool.

But Tuesday Bambi is THE marquee ride to build race ready fitness and group riding skills that carry over to ALL disciplines. There’s a reason our elite level MTB riders have traditionally come out and smashed it on Tuesdays (after winning OCups on Sundays, most recently I’m looking at you @jamie.wagler
:smiley: ). Our gravel specialists should be doing the same.

The route and ride format → a combo of punchy hills, often relentless wind, rotating paceline, with all groups/levels doing the same route, teach things that no other ride we offer teach. You learn to find efficiencies in the paceline you never thought were there, and you are forced into and out of the red by the hills, the wind, and the group itself, building not only paceline skill but race fitness as well. But we need numbers for it to shine, and I mean to make the ride great, WE NEED NUMBERS ACROSS ALL LEVELS, so there are solid stepping stones for riders to attempt to cross (e.g. group 3 → group 2 → group 1) without the discouragement (and general pointlessness) of getting dropped immediately and having no group to drop back to and plodding out a lap in the wind alone and going home. We need to discourage the negative feedback loop of “There’s no good group X at that ride anymore so I won’t come out”… it reminds me of some sort of mangled version of the Yogi Berra quote of “noone goes there anymore, it’s too crowded” :joy:.

Because of all this I am strongly in favour of reducing gravel ride offerings during peak summer to boost Tuesday Bambi numbers, then come Labour Day etc. reintroduce LITD, Cx practice and all the other midweek gravel adventure rides.


This is great to hear from everyone including from different disciplines of riding.

I agree the club needs to adjust and change in order to grow, keep and attract members. The members are the club, the club is the members.

However, imo the club has withered and been reduced in numbers compared to the grand days when I first joined the club. I’m constantly asking myself why that is…

I understand covid hit the cycling community and it’s different now because of that. I understand the legacy leadership of the past (thank you Blake and Alain) cannot forever continue to volunteer their valuable time, and the replacement leadership has their strengths and weaknesses and steer the club in the direction of their passions.

All that said, it is very easy to directly correlate and attribute the proliferation of other disciplines like gravel and especially the number of rides being offered daily/weekly (with multiple ride options on the same day) to the downfall in membership numbers in the club and particularly the lack of number of riders attending any said ride.

Offering many low quality rides instead of a few super high quality rides will not attract and retain membership. This is proven from what I’ve seen since I joined and watched what’s happened to the club.

For example, we used to have 80+ riders on Tuesdays HIIT and even more on Thursdays Threshold and Saturday Fondos. We ALL met at the same location on the day, at the same time. In the last several years I don’t remember ever seeing more than 30 at Tues Bambi and 50’ish is huge for Thursdays and Fondos are barely 30 at the most. And it doesn’t sound like Gravel has 80+ riders either.

There is something to be said about arriving the ride start and the entire parking lot is full of cyclists, with like a hundred of us there. It attracts attention of non club members cycling past or driving past, maybe they think hmmm that looks like a good large cycling community and maybe they’ll join! It gives the club members a sense of belonging, a part of something great when there are so many numbers, and above all there is guaranteed to be a group of riders of your ability, no matter what your ability is.

Like it was stated above, Tues Bambi is THE marquee ride to keep the club thriving. When Bambi doesn’t thrive (current state), the club doesn’t thrive. Make Bambi great, the club will grow and swell.

How do we make Bambi and the resulting club great?

Tues Bambi will make you a better rider in every discipline. It will make you a better MTB, better gravel rider, better CX rider and better road rider. It will make you a better racer. I directly attribute Tues Bambi to my ability to ride like I do. Many others do as well.

The unfortunate part of the many rides being offered is how it impacts the number of riders who can come to Tues Bambi, which quickly snowballs into “There’s no good group X at that ride anymore so I won’t come out”…

Last summer on one of the absolute nicest days of the year, 5 people came to the Tues Bambi. Only 5!!

Last night we had 27 at Bambi!! And last Thursday we had 50-ish! This is a good start!

How do we make Bambi great again? Adding a gravel ride on Tuesday will be a direct hit to the growth of the club.



I can offer my own experience, riding with the club for about five years (maybe more?).

A bit of background – I’ve been riding my whole life, but never competitively and never in groups. Most importantly, I’ve never raced (or, really, wanted to) I just liked riding – I wanderered around on my road bike, then was a three season commuter for about a decade while living in Toronto. Moving to Waterloo was the first time I’d ever regularly ridden with other people. So, I came to the club a bit more like a new rider, even with a lot of time on the bike.

The LTGR was great. I’d done the track training at Milton, so I was comfortable riding in groups, but the LTGR was an excellent primer to know what to expect on WCC road rides.

But, for people like me, there is a lot of additional knowledge that gets passed down informally, or gets learned from racing and training in groups (or doesn’t). I came into group rides very much riding each ride the same way. I felt like I needed to take a ‘decent’ pull at the front no matter what the pace was; I’m a bit introverted, so my communication was (sometimes is) lacking; and I let whatever the group pace was determine my pace. If I couldn’t find the right group, my ride suffered (as did I).

The first time we hit Middlebrook, I literally had no idea what the heck was happening. I remember being on the front, fading a bit on an uphill, while a bunch of folks passed me like I was standing still! I still suck on the sprints, but at least I know what’s going on now …

I did try the Tuesday ride once. Everyone was really welcoming, but I got dropped pretty quickly and just had no idea how to approach it differently for future rides. I just felt like I was way, way out of my depth, so I tagged it as ‘not for me’.

Three things changed for me that made my WCC experience a lot better.

First, I bought a gravel bike and started riding gravel. The gravel rides feel a bit more casual and less structured. Sometimes we ride like a road group ride – in a pack, moving. Other times, we spread out and regroup. The whole thing felt a little less intimidating and I was way less stressed about riding. The vibe, for lack of a better word, was more relaxed and I think that @JimDaley and @KevRidesGravel deserve credit there. That got me riding with the club more.

Second: I got to know more people. I started more regularly riding with the Track folks in the winter, which meant I got to know more people over breakfast. I then got on a bunch of gravel rides with people like @Francqlife and started to absorb some ‘instituational knowledge’ about how to ride with faster groups – and how to change the way I ride depending on who I was riding with.

Third – threads like this! Understanding more about ride culture, what to expect from different rides – all of that is impossible to communicate before and during a ride. I’ve learned a ton just reading threads like this – super helpful.

All of which to say, for some of us, the more challenging rides can be a little intimidating. But, there’s huge value for having them available when you are ready … which is probably a great arguement for giving the Tuesday HIIT ride some breathing room to grow.

FWIW, you’ve almost convinced me to do the needed maintainance on my road bike and come back with an expectation that I’ll once again get dropped, but with a much better understanding of what happens next (it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster). We’ll see!


Oops deleted my post by mistake!

Here’s my two cents…

Tuesday is a staple night for sure, I used to love that ride but have been turned off by some close calls with aggressive drivers and worsening pavement.

As for schedule I agree with keeping Tuesdays and Thursday rides road only and higher intensity.

Something like:
Monday: Gravel (Intermediate/Fast)
Tuesday: Road Bamberg HIIT
Wednesday: Gravel (Intermediate/Fast)
Thursday: Road Thursday Threshold
Friday: ?
Saturday: Road Fast Fondo AND Long gravel
Sunday: Gravel?

I find gravel rides absolutely perfect for endurance/Z2 work. The scenery is so beautiful it’s nice cruising, building fitness, chatting with friends and admiring the countryside.

I personally save the harder days for Tuesday/Thursday though I prefer using the TT bike on Tuesdays for hard intervals in prep for provincials coming up and the road bike for Thursday threshold.

There’s enough space in the week to keep Tuesday and Thursday core road ride specific. I think this is the best solution for the club and membership.


A few of us have had a lot of discussions offline on when best to run the gravel rides.

Ultimately the majority of members seem to prefer the Thursday Elora run and it seems to be the one staple road ride that is still attracting a lot of riders. This means you aren’t riding a fast gravel ride on a Wednesday if planning on a Thursday. Similarly if you move the ride to Monday most aren’t then riding Tuesday if they push it Monday.

I love Tuesdays but the kid has been in the way the last few years. I tried racing Kelso but it isn’t the same, and Bamberg for me still wins every time.

Having said that Bamberg is a training ride, pretty much no social aspect apart from the parking lot. it provides quality training for a few, but the majority of us aren’t training. As Tony put it, the ride is intimidating and isn’t always approachable, largely due to folk law.

Quality of ride is subjective depending on your goals. I’d argue for most the gravel rides provide way more then Bamberg. We had several rides approaching 40 last year with a range of abilities, you can push yourself or use them as easy recovery rides depending on ability and who shows. Speeds may be more inconsistent, but its much easier to do intervals on gravel and loop back then on the road. This year I have had hammer fests with the strongest in the club, and also ridden with those that participate in Rec rides when on a recovery ride.

More importantly we aren’t a road or race only club but a community one. That for me is where the real value is. The gravel rides have brought in a lot of new members that likely wouldn’t be here otherwise. Some will have no interest in the road. I’m of the opinion if you want to start a ride and are willing to go out and lead it then as a club we should support it, in no uncertain terms should we be trying to protect rides based on objections of others. This approach will lead to a smaller club with some thinking there is no place for them and we all suffer. When I joined I said I would never race, MTB wasn’t my thing, I’ve raced everything but the track, I’m going DH MTB and I’ve taken MTB coaching courses. I’m sure more gravel riders now will lead to more on the road in the future.

Covid certainly hit the staple rides hard while others flourished. It may have happened anyway, but it is what it is. I’d love to rebuild the old volume there but it will take time and the only way to make it happen is to keep showing to the rides you love and help lead. I’ve got a few other thoughts as to why numbers have been hit but I’ll leave that to in person discussions.

I’ve pinned numbers on more than most post covid and I can tell you that numbers are down substantially, not that you have to look far from the club to realize this on a racing side.

Ultimately the only thing we should ban is @ChrisP using his aero bars on Bamberg :wink:


LOL Hey I had the Bamberg KOM (Tied along with you on my road bike prior to my Solo TT taking it a couple years ago).

Last night’s KOM isn’t even part of the official loop! :slight_smile:


I’m 100% with @ChrisP schedule proposal.

Outside of the points everyone is making, having options on different nights of the week has no downside. If the weather is foul on a Tuesday and there are two rides that night then you’ve burned two opportunities for a group ride that week. I understand a ride can be rescheduled but attendance will suffer anytime you do that.

What’s more having different options on different days means most of us can choose whether we want to ride more gravel that week or more road. You take that away by overlapping rides on the same night.

As one of the people who is a regular at the current Monday and Wednesday gravel rides AND the Tuesday and Thursday road rides, I can attest to the concern many have about siphoning riders from one ride to the next. As much as I’d like to I can’t rider two bikes on different routes at the same time.

As to @bike_daniells point about the different nature of the rides, isn’t that the point? Sure we’re a social club but we’re also competitive club. Why not ensure everyone has maximum options to be both and/or either on any given week?

Beyond all that, not that I’m much of a traditionalist but cycling has always been about tradition and I do believe there should be at least a small level of deference to THE ride that birthed this club TWO GENERATIONS ago (in the 70s!!!) on Tuesday’s. Doesn’t the bible say Sunday is the day of rest and Tuesday is for Bamberg?


Legacy WCC member here. I joined WCC in 2002 as a mountain biker. I knew nothing about group road riding but I bought a used road bike and joined Tuesday road rides. I was regularly dropped from group 5 or 6 or 4C or…

I gained a ton of fitness and experience. Back then, there was no Thursday road ride. There were no gravel rides. And Tuesday road rides had three loops to choose from (Bamberg loop, Wellesley loop, Hawkesville loop).

I made it up to Group 3 at my peak. But that was 20 years ago. Today, I’d get dropped on that first hill out of the church parking lot! And the road bike is sitting on my trainer with a training tire on the back. Tuesday rides have always been a staple, no question. It looks like last night’s LTGR gathering had a ton of folks - this is promising! The goal should be to ensure that these new LTGR’rs migrate to Tuesday rides.

I’m all about gravel/mixed surface rides now. But I also ride mostly alone (since I’m semi-retired, I ride during the weekdays a lot!).

Getting long-winded here, but I don’t think we need to offer gravel rides on Tuesdays. It’ll take some effort and time to re-grow Tuesday road rides, but those rides are a staple. If there are non-roadies who only want to ride gravel that day, there’s nothing stopping them. I do it all the time! But I don’t believe the club has to offer a gravel ride on Tuesdays. Just my 2 cents.

BTW, all this discussion has my thinking about getting the road bike on the road where it belongs. My gravel bike is a 1x, which is ideal, since I’ve been having nerve issues in my left hand, making shifting on a 2x difficult. I’ll see how it improves over the summer… Who knows, maybe a Tuesday or Thursday road ride may be calling…



Oh, and 2 more cents… back when we started the gravel rides, it was one group. We had the Igor’s and Gaelen’s. And we had me, and Bob A. and other slower riders.

What I’m saying is… “fastermediate”???

Now I’m just sounding like a grumpy old man yelling at a cloud…