2019-20 end-of-season survey results

Below we have tried to summarise the data from the end of season survey. There were 146 participants. We have included as much information in this post as we can but, for free-text answers, we decided to remove a handful of comments where individuals could easily be identified.

As well as data that can be displayed in the many plots we have produced, there were also ‘any other comments’ boxes. These are included at the end of this post, for those who make it that far! We asked for specific comments on how individual events could be improved. These have been sent to the organisers rather than publish openly. The`best bits’ about each event can be downloaded here. We have encouraged organisers to consider the comments and publish some sort of ‘you said, we did’.

The overriding message from the survey results is that we have a great League and have had a great season. However, there is plenty to digest with a view to fixing a few issues and making things even better. Some of the comments will be addressed in the upcoming league newsletters. You may want to use the survey results in formulating proposals for the upcoming AGM and as arguments for/against proposals brought to the AGM.

About those who participated in the survey

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Overall impressions of the League

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What’s important to you?

The plot below is a stacked histogram. Each colour represents an event feature (course design, parking, toilets, …). More of a colour on the left means that feature is considered more important, more on the right means less important. For example, many people agree that course design is the most important feature.

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Why the conflicting opinions?

Below is a short aside on how the event feature ranking data might be interpreted to yield clearer trends. Do feel free to skip!

There seems to be a group that thinks course design is least important. Perhaps these are the same people that think changing facilities are most important? Maybe they got the ranking system the wrong way round? If we plot the opinions of the 33 people who scored course design 8 or 9 (less important), we get the plot below.

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Their opinions do seem to buck the trend. It would be surprising for a cyclocross racer to think catering, location, bike wash, and changing are the most important aspects of a cyclocross event. A nice meal at home would seem a better option than going to a cyclocross race for this cross-section of the population. If we leave out this ‘conflicting group’, we get the plot below.

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For this subset of riders, we start to see clearer trends in what people think is least important. Note that, while few people think that toilets and parking are most important, hardly anyone thinks they are least important (i.e. we need minimum standards for these features).

If we get particularly daring in our analysis of the data, we could flip the scores of those that we think got their ranking the wrong way round. This yields the plot below, which comes with the strong health warning that the data have been ‘massaged’. However, we do see there is very little difference between the massaged data and the plot above. This indicates that our ‘conflicting group’ really did get their ranking the wrong way round (the rather less likely scenario is that they have almost precisely the opposite opinion to the rest of the riders).

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Courses

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Comments on Wessex courses as a whole are included towards the end of this post.

Registration and numbers

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The idea of registering for the league is that riders have the convenience of keeping the same number all year. However, riders have been needing additional numbers (at considerable expense to the League). We would like to find a solution to the problem.

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Number of events

How many Wessex League races did you enter this season?

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This season there were 17 events in the Wessex League (including the area championships). If you could choose, how many events do you think there should be?

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This season there were 10 counting events. Based on your preferred total number of events, how many counting events do you think there should be?

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Race schedule

Another stacked histogram, which basically shows people are happy with the current order of events (with a bit of disagreement regarding the order of the Women and V50 race):

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Gridding

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Comments on courses

Variety is good, not all races need to be super hard physically but more technical aspects on most.
More signs so different age riders know their course for warm up
Generally a good mix and offer enough variety
Andover super league was too technical
There was good variety. There was only one event that I wouldn’t go back to, and that was because the course design for the U12s didn’t create suffient opportunities to learn about racing to be worth the early start and travel.
Be sent course maps for all races.  Have start areas clearly marked for kids races with area where to wait to be gridded from.  This is sometimes chaos!
Let’s get a bridge on one event next year
All great
The Wessex League has a very good variety of courses to suit everybody.  Long may it stay that way. 
Thank you to all the organisers, and those involved in running the league. Although I’ve raced Central and Western too this season Wessex is my favourite.
Most of them are very good
More like the Belgium course, the Wessex ones have too many turns that are unnecessary, not enough straights,  But add technical sections, off camber and hills, but adding more turns doesn’t make the course more technical
In regards to the courses, I think there is a good mix of technical/demanding courses and races do need to be accessible. So although I prefer tougher courses there is a balance. Dalton Barracks, for example, is seen as boring by some but you can gain a lot of time by riding a smooth and precise line.
It would be good if all the courses followed the BC rules on width / space for overtaking
Standard is generally much higher than 5 years ago.
I do not have many comments or suggestions to make as everything is already very good! I think the balance of features is good and with one or two exceptions the provision of facilities at courses is excellent.
I’ve races central in previous years and switched to Wessex due to the timing change of the v40 race at central. Overall I find Wessex courses better (more challenging) and the field slightly stronger (not very much though). What I liked about central and miss in Wessex is gridding further down, esp when you are mid pack, and just missing the grid cut off, it makes a difference. I’ll definitely stay with Wessex though as the courses are better
The range of Wessex courses is about right for physical demand with a mix of hilly and flat courses. I think there should be more technical “sections” as well as features to really stretch the field out, but this is of course venue and conditions permitting. In my opinion the Andover Supercross was a fantastic example of a course that wasn’t more difficult than usual to ride around, but very difficult to ride fast. More courses like that would be fantastic
overall a good mix of courses to suit different types of riders
I’d like to see all the above – a good mix of technical and flowy courses, and hilly and non-hilly courses. Something for everyone over the season
Last soton was too muddy for most especially kids
Brilliant season! Thanks to all involved. Whoever ordered in the mud did a great job!
Great commerarderie in the league.  There are a few courses where more technical elements would be good, especially in the U12s, but it is also good to have a wide variety of different terrain and technical level.
Love to see more vertical features such as short hills and steps, also grass condition/texture is very important, nobody likes a jarring bumpy grass crit race
Could organisers of events with dull courses be given guidance on how to include technical features?
Thank you for everyone’s hard work
The courses are all different and so through the season everyone has something that suits them, so no need to change anything.  The people are great, organisers do a fantastic job, what’s not to like?
As the series is it has a large variety of courses which is great, organisers do well
I’m glad there’s not much running in general
Pretty bloody good in my experience!
Overall, we had fantastic courses. I’d prefer it if participation in regional championships wasn’t factored into league scores
Very good variation, not every week is the same
better signage for the various courses
All merge into one, so no specific comments. All well run & good fun. Bit less mud next year ?
The U12 course can be made harder in places as most riders are very accomplished or need to learn for U14. Maye have one small extra technical loop where course allows.
Need to plan season so the all-weather venues/courses are used later in the season
This was my first season and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I havent got much to compare it against. Thank you to all of the organisers!!!
Generally they are v good and a good a variety. Many are at the mercy of the weather which can make a huge difference to the challenge at each venue.
Spend more time making appropriate U10/12 courses – some are just too boring – round a flat field, others are nearly impossible (Soton last round)
So much variety over the season. Really good for the rider.
courses should have lap times of 3-4 mins for the fastest riders (some are way too long and some way too short) (u12s)
Pits need to be larger and with segregation for non assisted riders
No really I like them all.
Currently a good mix.
Variety is good!
They never feel unsafe (eg opposing flow with just tape inbetween); starts never bottleneck; almost always have overtaking without being hindered; good mix of skills needed
A good mix of courses across the season would be ideal. I think then tend towards less phyiscially demanding and more technically demanding (a caveat perhaps of the races I’ve done over the last four years and my own capabilities!) but I’d be happy to see some more physically demanding courses (provided it doesn’t detract from the inclusive nature of the league).
It would be nice to cover all features eg sand at one, steps at another, during the race series
add some sand if possible and MORE BUNNY HOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More imaginative courses that are more Euro
There is something for everyone
Some courses are a bit ‘fiddly’ for racing, e.g., with lots of successive corners and not so much pedalling, making them interesting to ride around but a bit slow for racing, but I’d say they are generally good, tending towards continuous improvement.  The variety between courses is excellent and there’s usually good variety within each course too.

On the ‘physically demanding’ thing above, I’d say that longer, fast, pedalling sections can be just as physically demanding as a hill.

The mix is about right at the moment.
Needs a course like Heusden Zolder in Belgium (woods, big hills tarmac with a little bit of sand)
Can we organise a little bit less mud for next year please. It’s been fun, but would be nice for a change as I’m not keen on running
Good variation but some clubs need help in giving the course a feel
Good to have a mix of courses. Most riders use one bike, so deep, heavy mud baths can be off putting – bear in mind for scheduling of the different events.
Appreciate how hard it is to organise and event and find a location so happy with whatever people put on!
the course design, there seems to lots of turns, this is not technical, would like to see more technical balances with flat out, like the Belgium courses
They are all different and that’s what is fun.
A great big thank you to all who give time and energy to make the courses and events happen – it is greatly appreciated. re: facilities proper coffee and belgium chips are spectator highlights, podiums down to 5th place in u10/12 is very appreciated (just name check is fab), especially as adult races go to 5th place on most events.
Honestly, I think the variety is really important – I hate the runs and long straights but enjoy the technical bits.  Plenty of others feel exactly the opposite.  I’d like maybe a “one bike” category or maybe one whole round without bike washing (could still swap broken bikes but not cleaning)

Other comments

Cyclocross is the best sport
Is it possible to post gridding before the race ?
My first full season in the league coming from 3 seasons in Central league. Good atmosphere and variety in courses, good time keeping, getting the last race to finish earlier would be good (very long for pit crews).
Good league
Wessex League is fab
Wessex league is awesome 🙂
Mud!!!!!!!
Thanks for having us. Ollie – Parentini
Charging £5 for pre registration isn’t for me, the leagues has a mass amount of money in the bank. Surely they can afford to pay for these number as and when
A league for the younger cats
Thanks very much
roll on next season! Well done to all involved in the Wessex League.
Improve course design and make those changes consistent
I only marked down the gridding because I would like to see a larger number of riders gridded. Think we can learn from Central in this regard.
– It would be nice if the senior men’s race didn’t feel like an after thought. It is very rare for there to be any food / drink stalls available when we finish. We often start late for no obvious reason, the course is often being taken down around us.

– Gridding takes a long time due to calling the names of everyone on the list, some of whom haven’t raced for months. The actual grid positions are good and fair but considering the weather this season it is an inefficient way to do it. How about only pre-entered riders are gridded (works in Central league), takes less time, boost pre entries.

– The southern champs should not be part of the league. I am a central license holder (as are most of the people who organise the oxford, standlake and dalton barracks rounds) and we are excluded from the race on this basis and have to join the joint Central-Eastern race for regionals which is sparsely attended and potentially 4 hours away. There were 17 rounds this year, we do not need regionals to be a scoring round, if people want to race regionals it should be the same and national tropheys and they choose to outside of the league.

Thanks to everyone involved! See you next season!
After many years of central league I am glad I made the switch and will definitely be back next year
Thank you! There’s really not much I’d change about the league and how it’s run. Perhaps an info pack for prospective organisers. Though not in a position at present to organise a race, I’d like to in the future and it’d be nice to have an overview of what’s required.
Thank you to everyone involved behind the scenes!
It’s a wonderful league and I love being part of it- the most welcoming community I have ever come across! Friendly but competitive, it’s addictive!

Eventrex are awesome too.

Have a sub competition (in every age category) for those not running 2 bikes, spare wheels/puncture repair allowed. Not everyone can afford 2 bikes or able to persuade family/friends to pit. A rider would have to nominate at the start of the season if they were to partake in this competition.
U23 deserve a lot more credit and coverage
Thanks to all the volunteers for all the work they’ve put in.
The cost of racing for adults is very high – £25 a week is too much for me, which is why this year I did not compete more often (though my son rides every week). For both of us to ride you’d be looking at £35+ a week in fees, plus £10-20 in petrol, plus the costs of maintaining equipment – its too much. Could you offer multi-race discounts – eg buy entry to five races and save 10%, enter 10 and save 15% etc?
More consideration of suitability of course for younger riders. Last one saw lots having to push /drag bikes due to mud build up
Maybe have a list of training evenings that people run outside the league but in the areas we race. As didn’t know these existed till late on in the season.
Benefit from more races in south of area.  Gridding made no sense for u12’s. Daughter regular podium placing and top 20 finishes overall but wasn’t featuring in the gridding when expected.
Just wanted to say that Wessex is the best league for getting near instant results up on the day.  It’s hard to know in CX where you finished due to the nature of the race, so I really like how the big screen is up at the finish showing lap times etc.  Central, London and others could learn from this!  Thanks for a great season even though I only did a few races.  Women’s atmosphere was great as always and I really appreciate the generous and equal prize fund, the leader’s jerseys are a nice touch and I will definitely be back next year for races that aren’t too far from me in SW London.
Be nice if we could organise a National Trophy but only on a good course. (Foxhill, Droxford maybe Andover)
Nope, just thank you!
I suggested fewer events but, if this was the case, we should be careful to make sure that not too many clash with National Trophy races
I love the Parentini jerseys. The U8/10/12 riders miss out here. Without there being a league, maybe the winner (boy+girl) of the previous event could wear a jersey (awarded when they win that event)?
I think having a points system that awards points to every finisher is good but I think there should be a larger points difference between places, so that good results are rewarded more.
Thanks for another great season!
Thank you to all the team.
Consider revision of the maximum points for events organisers, as this negatively affects the league. Average points is a far option.
Only the 60+ league scoring
Kerie is fantastic, and commissares all great work
Another amazing season and thank you to all that help organise and sponsor
Really cool league thanks 🙂
Thank you to all organisers and helpers
Thank you to everyone who has put work into the league
Why do some events have top 5 on the podium and others only top 3?

There is no continuity and is disappointing to those who think they will get called to the podium.

Sometimes the same event even has some races as top 3 and others as top 5.

very tough to get onto the grid in V40, given such a large field. Should make it next year given overall result this year.
This season the V40 race was moved earlier by 10mins, leaving very little time between the completion of practice at 10.35 and gridding at 11.15 for the V40 race. This is not enough time to clean a bike/change kit/pin on number/drop spare bike off at pits…etc. I nearly missed the race start a few times. Please return to an 11.30 V40 start as that extra 10mins is vital to get to the start in time and prepared. Thanks.
I know the gridding isn’t perfect but it is frustrating that riders who rode one or two events at the start of the season and did we’ll get gridded when plodders like me who turn out most weeks have to start at the back. Unfortunately I can’t think of a better solution that doesn’t involve a load of extra work for the volunteers and comms who have enough to do as it is.
Better signage & course prep on U10/U12 courses. Very often these are not set up ready for the little ones to practice, with not enough signs showing how the route differs from the adult course.

Have a standard set of (early) sign on times for all races. A lot of races start sign on at 8-15 for U10, which is great, but others start a lot later (8-45 at Soton) which is too late in my opinion for a race that starts at 930

Have a standard procedure for U12/U10 podiums. Some races do each straight after the race, but other races do both after the U12 race. Either work, but it would be better if it was consistent throughout the series.

Have a standard procedure for whether the U12/U10 podiums call up the top 5 or only the top 3. Again some races do 5 some only 3, and the kids in 4th & 5th are standing there disappointed not to be called up.

Amazing league! Keep doing what you’re doing!
We need a league for the u12s and a jersey for the u12s. Overall, more woods would be good.  More WAFFLES please!  Can we have a raffle at the races?  We need SAND. I like seeing my Wessex League friends every weekend, getting muddy, and making mud balls.
Too many races, we need a break to have a few weekends off, I have a family life and would like to see them on a Sunday. Maybe extend the season and allow a few weekend off or reduce the number of races over the same time period. 17 races over this time period is ridiculous
I know the rules about moving over and I always do to the detriment of my own race with other competitors, but this season some of the lead riders have not been so good at demonstrating good sportsmanship in these situations . Without us slower guys the field would be reduced we are all trying hard to give it our best shot, murmurs at the back of the grid are not so happy with it.lets hope we can return to more sensible behaviour next season. 
Well done guys!
I like the new griiding system. It seems to work really well except for 1 thing. Definitely think organisers should get 90 points for their hard work not sure it should be counted as part of the 3x griding average. As this can move them way up the grid. Especially for an early season race.
The one thing that’d be really helpful is a set time for the U10/U12 podium.  I race along with my wife, and two U10 kids, so the main option for our practice laps is at the same time as the podiums.  Sometimes the podiums are done very quickly, and there’s time to practice after.  Other times they’re a little delayed and there’s no practice time afterwards, but we could have gone out before if we’d known there was time.  Having them at a fixed time of, say, 10:25 would allow a couple of practice laps without risk of missing the podium.
The guys who do the results and week after week smile at EVERYBODY when handing out chips…. without that slick operation, the league would be far worse an experience. Overall, this is the friendliest racing I have ever done; commissaries are superb, organisers relaxed, just fabulous.
Thank you to all the organisers of the races and the league overall. It’s always friendly and welcoming and I look forward to the cross season every year! Roll (well) on 2020-1!
I understand the rationale behind potentially charging for pre-registering. However as a private member I have already paid to be part of the league. It would be unwelcome to have to pay a second charge to pre-register.
Would be nice to have consistency between races: format for instructions etc. All should be on the same pro-forma with same details but relevant to that race. and sent out 5(ish) days before.

Some races (u10 etc) had 5 on the podium and some had 3 – very confusing for a child who comes either 4th (when 3) or 6th when 5 – arrghh!

Would also be nice for the childrens’ (u10 & u12) podiums to be after the u12 race and not during. It is very difficult to watch a child on podium and one racing at the same time.

Thanks for your hard work: our child loves the cross racing – just a shame the races are not very close to us……

Great season. Thanks so much to all the organisers. Really appreciate your time.
On the gridding – it is a bit of a nit pick and specific to people of my sort of speed who don’t get gridded – In the V40’s about 1/2 the field isn’t gridded so it is a bun fight before the start to get in a good position. I raced Central once last year and they gridded pre entries all the way down. I appreciate that is more work and waiting at the start but a a newbie i would have appreciated being able to gradually work my way forward, rather than having results somewhat influenced by how pointy my elbows were in the pre-start.
The area covered is enormous making for lots of travel. Numbers are high for events so 2 smaller areas could work.
It would be nice to have consistency of U8/10/12 podiums. Sometimes top 3 are on the podium and sometimes top 5. My preference would be for top 5 all the time.
I have really enjoyed my second season & cant wait to get back next season 👏👏
Thanks for a great 19/20 season 🙂 Please can we have more corners and spirals of doom for the Crow and Oxford Brookes courses and the off camber banking section for Southampton if it’s not too muddy!  Thanks.
Pleased to see this form.  It’s encouraging that the league wants feedback.
Well done, again. It is a brilliant league. Keep up the good work. Thank you everyone involved it organising it.
Have some beer tents and advertise in local cross towns FREE spectator entry to Wessex Cyclo-Cross races with Posters etc and local radio and TV just like others sports do.
Some of race briefings were rambling ahead of the U10 races, while they are getting cold.  Needs to be done but please handful of points.
Great league.
The league is brilliant. Thanks to everyone involved!
Keep up the good work!
Amazing League, love being part of it
Remove option of  pitting / bike changes for all except seniors to level playing field de to cost and having a pit crew, or run a pit supported and non pit supported race for each group
What happened to the youth coaching money promised by Parentini?
I love the league and everyone is doing a great job making it fun. Thank you from me and my mum and dad.
Congratulations to all the organisers. Your hard work is very much appreciated
To reiterate our thanks to all who organise and help with the Wessex League to make it so family friendly.
Keep it up !  I’ve only been racing for a season and a half and never done any other racing but weesex cx is REALLY good