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

September 21, 2020

Measured

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 1:16 pm

I’d given up waiting for it to be time to set off to yesterday’s race by about 10am. The request from the organisers to not arrive until 1 hour before your race made perfect sense to me, but I was in great danger of pre-race fettling the bike, which was already in perfect working order, as a distraction. That never ends well, so I’d packed the van and set off at a gentle pace, aiming to make the journey take just the right amount of time to get there with the full hour to get myself set up and have a mooch around the race course.
I eventually turned up at the race site at 11.45 – a little bit more than an hour before my race, but (I hoped) acceptably close. Based on the cheerful and helpful way everyone greeted me, all was indeed acceptable.

I’d packed the rollers to warm up on (after realising that my new bike’s thru axles weren’t in anyway compatible with the old turbo trainer I had, the evening before!), but, after a quick wander around the course during the senior race, they were left in the van in favour of just getting the legs and lungs going while pre riding. It’s not often you get cx races dry enough to not have to worry about keeping the bikes clean, so making the most of it seemed to be the right thing to do.

A few laps under the belt and a few extra attempts at the little tricky sections on the route comfortably used up the pre race hour and brought me to the HUGE gridding area just in the nick of time. Social distancing was very much maintained as we lined up and I got to see who else was up for it.
Hitters.
Hitters everywhere.
I’d been gridded on the front row, which was nice, until I turned round to get the measure of who was around me only to see a sea of fast people all sensibly spaced but still very much lined up to chase me down. A moment of trepidation quickly melted away into a massive grin. Let’s do this, I thought to myself, as I turned my gaze back to the mapped out but empty course stretching ahead of me, like some sort of metaphor for the season to come.
I felt quite pround of that metaphor for a bit, until I realised it was rubbish and concentrated getting myself ready for the first starting whistle of the season instead.

Any pre race planning about taking it a bit easier off the line as I wasn’t really warmed up ‘properly’, or that I should ‘learn’ the new bike a bit vanished in the first pedal stroke as we charged up the hill, gears clattering, lungs bursting, eyes wide for the slightest glimpse of an overtaking possibility. Within 10 seconds CX season was utterly upon every one us and we were all utterly engrossed. The starting whistle hadn’t even stopped sounding and the season was already brilliant.

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Pic by Jacqui “already raced, now cheering and taking pics” Simcock

Time trialling is, in it’s own way, a very good way to test yourself on a bike and have fun exploring your limits and I’ve quite enjoyed the few I’ve done this year, but it took all of about 3 corners, swapping places, searching for the limits of grip side by side, flicking left and right through the tight corners (flicking the shifter the wrong way and getting bogged down in a huge gear by mistake every now and again, whoops! I’ll get the hang of these new shifters eventually!) to realise that cross is just the best thing since sliced bread.

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Pic by Jacqui “already raced, now cheering and taking pics” Simcock

The race was, frankly, brilliant from start to finish. OK so I managed to crash (I had to work on it though!) and lose a bit of time but I – and I think everyone else around me – crossed the finish line grinning from ear to ear. Dusty, sweaty and absolutely buzzing. It probably showed.

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Pic by Bernard Marsden

It barely seemed to matter what place I’d finished in, as just to have the chance to race was enough, but I was happy with 4th on the day (like I say, hitters everywhere!). By the last lap or two I’d really started to find that race rhythm that becomes second nature by mid season, I’d got to grips with the bike’s handling and – not that I’d really suffered much from any lack of enthusiasm beforehand – was completely back on board with getting fitter and faster for the races to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, the season has begun, I have checked, and it is good! 🙂

Huge HUGE thanks to everyone involved in putting the race on – organisers deserve massive amounts of thanks at the best of times, to put on something during this crazy period deserves even more. You’ve proved it can work and work really well – respect! 🙂

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