Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

November 27, 2014

Top tip

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 12:36 pm

Almost forgot to blog about last weekend’s race. They’re coming thick and fast now…or they were, anyway. There’s now a 3 week break before the next NWCCA round, so hopefully I can get some good training in and get back up the results sheet a bit.
Sunday saw another round in Liverpool (well, near enough to Liverpool for the scouse accent to be prevalent). A few days of rain meant the course was nice and muddy. It was also wide, for the most part, so it was clear lots of close racing was going to be taking place. Yay!
For once I managed to get a half decent start, I was definitely nearer the front end than usual, which I was quite chuffed with. So chuffed, in fact, that I completely forgot about a set of steps in the middle of one of the little climbs and crashed my brains out by riding straight into them rather than around them. well done me. :-/

IMG_9786
see, I’m not at the back for once!

I got back on, straightened the brake levers and got back to the “usual” thing of working my way back up through the field.
The last few laps were spent trading places with Alex Jones (who, to be fair, is usually good few places higher up the results sheets than me, but hey, you race whoever’s in front of you 🙂 ), which was quite fun. The course meant there were loads of different line choices, so there was no problem passing backmarkers and you could launch little attacks out of each corner by taking a different route (or rather you could have done, if you’d had any sort of explosive power, which I don’t!). The lack of any sort of real “attack” for the final lap meant I eventually crossed the line just behind him, but back in the top 10. Could be worse I suppose!

IMG_9868

Few weeks of training now. A mixture of some top end stuff as that’s lacking ATM, combined with some longer stuff in preparation for the Strathpuffer (yep, entered it again). No idea how well that will work, but it’ll be fun finding out 🙂

November 17, 2014

Bah bloody humbug

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 2:15 pm

So. Last weekend’s race. Lets put it like this: I finished 13th. Which was the most apt place I could have ended up.

Got to the race site in Liverpool with loads of time to ride the course before the vets race, but discovered that there was nowhere to park the car. At all. It was so packed, in fact, that I drove the entire length of the park-side road to a dead end, then had to perform a million-point-turn to end up facing the other way so I could escape.
In the process of doing so I reversed the car into a (admittedly pretty large) rock. Damn it!

I still had plenty of time though, so I started driving back the way I’d come, only to end up caught behind a modern day mexican stand-off, as two drivers wanting to travel in opposite directions both refused to do any reversing (the road was only 1 car wide due to all the parked cars). This took forever to sort out, even with everyone pointing in the same direction as me highlighting the fact that there was nowhere for the other car to go. Damn it!

Finally parked up (miles away) I got the bikes ready and walked to the start, still with enough time to watch most of the vets race and get a decent warm up done. while standing around I noticed something on my front tyre. It turned out to be the innertube sticking out of a big rip in the carcass. Damn it!

Back to the car I ran (OK, walked). Dug out a spare tyre, fitted it and rode back to the start again to catch the end of the vets race and warm up. As I got there I noticed that the tyre didn’t feel the same as it had when I’d left the car. A quick check revealed I’d punctured the tube. Damn it!

Back to the car I ran (OK walked, again). Dug out a spare tube to go in the spare tyre and rode back to the start with just enough time for one practice lap before the start.

Start started I finished the 1st lap down in 20th place, then took forever to make any overtaking moves stick by consistently cocking up (Damn it!) and letting everyone back past me. Thankfully however, the bike remained in one piece, with all the inflated bits staying inflated and free of holes and, once I’d learned where I was going, I managed to make up a few places, finishing in 13th (with my last lap being my fastest).

I’m hoping for better things at the next round, suffice to day!

Sunday saw Angela, Jacqui and me ride the Cumbrian Cracker sportive (I’m not usually much of a “sportive rider”, but I’ll make an exception for this one because it’s held in winter(ish) and doesn’t seem to have as many idiots entering it).
Jolly nice it was too. A nice route, fairly quiet roads (admittedly we set off after most riders, so that’s not too surprising), plenty of sandwiches and cake (ahem) halfway round and plenty of time to chat in between the bigger hills. What more could you ask for?
It even had some very fluffy cows…

November 9, 2014

Sticky toffee pudding

Filed under: Racing,Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 8:44 pm

Well, it looks like the super dry cross races have finished for another season. This weekend’s race was preceded by a few days of rain, just enough to take the ground from ‘still kind of dry in places’ to the early winter staple of ‘stodgy thick slithery ick’. No longer can bikes be popped back in the garage post race, ready for a quick check over the day before the next one, oh no, we’re now officially back in the depths of “race for an hour, spend at least two removing the grass, mud, worms, eaves and god knows what else from every part of the bike afterwards”.

Good.

Don’t get me wrong, those flat out fast, sunny, warm(ish) races are ace. “Crits on dirt” they’ve been described as – crazy leans angles and skimming across the earth matched with a feeling of skillful invincibility as you carve every corner perfectly. Great fun…but not as good as the feeling of getting it right when that grip becomes much less predictable, when to keep your speed up means digging as deep as your tyres are digging into the slop beneath you. That’s where it’s at.

That’s certainly where it was at on Saturday. The Cartmel based course had a great mix of the ubiquitous grassy fields (well how else are you going to clog your mech up?!) and some woodland singletrack that wouldn’t have been out of place in a mtb race. It also had a fair bit of climbing in it…or at least it felt like it did, because everything was nicely muddy, nicely stodgy, still fairly firm underneath, but with a nice sloppy topping to slither about on and dig into on top. Think sticky toffee pudding and you’re not far off.

As is becoming traditional, my start was rubbish, within seconds I was swamped and a good 30 or 40 riders back from the front and so, once again, I spent a good lap or two working my way back through the field towards the top ten.
I used the climbs to my advantage, reeling people back in up them, then hanging with them and recovering on the descents before repeating the process until I’d built up enough grass and mud in the drivechain on the bike to need to dive into the pits for a change, flinging the mud encrusted ‘cross bike at Angela to clean while I carried on riding the On-One.
The placement of the pit area worked perfectly for this – straight after changing onto the mtb the course descended, with a few rooty, rocky corners that were much nicer with bigger tyres and a suspension fork. Then a climb back up to a second passing of the pits where I could negate any gaps that had opened by me slowing to go into the pits to swap bikes and quickly swap back to a freshly de-mudded ‘cross bike.


Bit of mud. Bit of climbing. Lovely. Pic from https://www.flickr.com/photos/129303887@N06/

By the bell lap I’d worked my way up to 7th, briefly getting up into 6th before the guy I’d overtaken cottoned on to who I was and got back past me round the final corner. Damn. Still, another decent result after another rubbish start. I should really try and get up near the front as the whistle goes off sometime. 🙂

Next week is a return to Otterspool. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than last time!

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