• Never forget the ones to forget

    The Heaton Park race didn’t go all that well really. A remarkably greasy course, which was still fun even if I didn’t get to grips with ‘that’ off camber section, could have been well suited to me, with some good long power sections – up and down through the trees with accelerations and ‘get stuck in’ cranking needed to hold your speed, that sort of thing – and what amounted to a hill reps section halfway round.
    I realised early on in the day that my ‘intermediate’ tyres on the 2nd bike weren’t the right choice – their paddle like tread offering little on the off-camber sections as far as grip went and, although they clear mud well, not enough tread depth to bite into the still fairly solid-but-slippery course. Oh well, I’d have to stay on the 1st bike whenever possible, maybe swap once if the bike clogged up with the grass & autumn leaves. That seemed like a plan.

    Didn’t work out like that though. The #1 bike seemed fine during my turbo trainer warm up, but a gentle half backpedal while on the start line, seconds away from the off, unshipped the chain. “Weird”, I thought, “but easily fixable, I’ll just wrap it back round the chainring and…oh, that’s weird, it’s not on the jockey wheels either. It’s jammed in between the lower jockey wheel, how the f-k did that happen?!”
    I got the chain back on with about 30 seconds to go…but on the first turn of the pedals off the start it jamme itself in the rear mech again. I sprinted backwards through the field, chain growling it’s way through the cage of the mech, gears skipping all over the place. Arse.

    I soft pedalled back to the pits, somewhere near the back of the pack and swap to the #2 bike (at least I have one!) and set about trying to work my way back up through the racers. I’d not lowered the pressure in the tyres much, which wasn’t helping with their lack of grip in the corners, so any places I’d make up in the faster sections was being thrown away in the corner-y bits as I tried to not fling myself through the course tape over and over.

    Lap after lap went past like this, with me getting more and more wound up with myself – if only I’d sorted out some grippier tyres for this bike, I’d be OK – and staring hopefully up at the pits on each pass of them, hoping the #1 bike would somehow be resurrected, only to see a huddle of Horwich helpers gathered round it, like onlookers at a car crash. Ah bugger.

    Issuing some watts while the tyres gripped. Of course it’s an Ellen pic

    It wasn’t all bad. The bike was by no means unrideable. The tyres cleared the mud well and the tread actually worked really well on the climbs and the faster sections. Racing is racing, no matter where you are in the overall scheme of things and the sun was coming out. I tried to enjoy it.

    About halfway through the race, Paul called out to me that the #1 bike had been made rideable again. Ace. I flew into the pits, sideways – I’d been doing a lot of things sideways, with the #2 bike often giving up grip with no notice – and got on with getting back into the top end of the race.

    I managed to get a few more places back and felt like I was settling in to the race quite well when one young lad I’d just caught back up put on a full on sprint round the final corner before the finish line. “That’s weird”, I thought, glancing at the lap number board still reading ‘1 to go’, “I wonder why he bothered to do tha…oh”. Directly underneath the ‘1 to go’ board, the chequered flag fluttered gently. “Ah bugger. Again”

    7th in the end. Could have been much worse though and, lets be honest, playing out on bikes in the park with good people is always worth it. Even more so when you’ve got a team of people willing to hang around in the pits performing surgery on a filthy bike for you, while you mince around pretending you’ve got it tough. Thanks guys 🙂

    (The mech’s a write off though, I’m allowed to be annoyed about that)


    9:52 pm on October 15, 2018 | Comments Off on Never forget the ones to forget | # |