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

October 26, 2020

Eyesight Test

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 11:59 am

Round 3 of the heroically organised No Nonsense CX series came and went last weekend and it’s completely covid secure arrangements seemed like the perfect excuse to “test my eyesight” in these times of confusion, misinterpretation and misplaced stress.
Ongoing and continual improvements to the infrastructure surrounding the race were obvious as soon as I arrived – the (it’s a field) car park had some new matting down to prevent those of us with vehicles that are happy to bury themselves in the slop getting stuck. Hurrah! Or, more accurately, hurrah until you got past the (covid secure) sign on, at which point it was back to “floor it and see ho far your van gets before getting stuck”. It’s a work in progress I think (and is it even really CX season if you’re not getting your transport stuck somewhere in the mire?!), but it looks good so far.

Anyway. A quick stroll away from the beached van, around the once again redesigned course, that rapidly turned into a socially distanced natter to everyone (lovely stuff), during the senior race gave me hope that this round would offer more riding and less running. Not that I hate running or anything, but I don’t spend hours cleaning my bike to carry it round on my shoulder! Once again it looked good, but I couldn’t be sure my eyes weren’t deceving me. The only way to be sure was to race 🙂

After a bit of a warm up back at the van, staring off into the middle distance and chatting to Ben about how ace cx racing is generally I lined up on the front row of the grid, noticing that my race number was the black/white reverse of everyone elses. For a second I thought my eyes were paying tricks on me, then a second later that maybe the organisers had set up a “crashiest rider” award in much the same way as the combativity award in grand tours, noted with a different coloured number, but it dawned on me that it was more likely to be that the number I’d used at the last round was lost forever after one of my crashes, so this was just a replacement.
With all that considering going on, I completely forgot to get stressed about the start and, when the starting whistle went, I just set off without really working out any sort of “plan” for a good get away. Thankfully it had little effect and I managed to remain within the top few rders as we hurtled round the first 180 degree turn, giving me a chance to glance up and back at the speeding blur of everyone thundering after me. Hmm, a bit blurred, further eyesight investigation required. I wonder what it’s like if I keep the effort up.

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Not falling off on that bit this time round! Pic by Bernard Marsden

By the end of the first lap a few of us had moved clear of the main pack, with the lead swapping every few corners. The course was a fantastic mixture of ‘power required’ drags and series’ of corners that really did take concentration to nail – miss the line in the first part of the section and the difficulty of getting round the subsequent few bends would snowball. If your lungs weren’t hanging out on the efforts, your eyeballs were shortly after, seeking out the grip and the fast line as the course twisted and turned around you.
Running was still very much a requirement too, with some of the banking too churned up from previous races to ride through, even though the conditions were drying rapidly. My newly fitted toe studs would be thoroughly tested!

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Toe stud testing. Pic by Dave “about to race” Haygarth

After a lap Chris (on a charge) dropped back and for a short while I found myself what looked like out in front. I’d forgotten what that felt like – it was certainly odd to see empty course tape ahead! James and Ian closed the small gap I’d opened within another lap and, from my vantage point just behind them I was treated to a masterclass in smooth riding in the bends. It was perfectly clear just how much more I was wrestling the front of my bike through the corners than they were. I could see little gaps open up on each tricky section and set about learning what I could about their lines. I had enough power on tap to keep myself in touch through the strength-based sections (I don’t want to say “easy” because that’s selling myself a bit short and, frankly, they weren’t!), so I’d do all I could to close the gaps where I could and try to keep up everywhere else.

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Racing is ace. Simple. Pic by Jacqui “already raced” Simcock

Positions were changed repeatedly over the following laps and those little gaps were stretched, proving that skill can comfortably make up for brute force (and works even better when you’ve got both to play with…). I saw James pull away by a couple of seconds each lap, (not that being able to see it was necessary, as the Port Sunlight lads made sure I was in no doubt about how I was doing…) but kept plugging away as best I could, trying to ride in a calmer and less lurchy way in the corners, eventually crossing the finish line 12 or so seconds back in a best-this-season 2nd place.

I picked the mud out of my thoroughly tested eyes as I unpicked the pinned on “crashiest rider” number from my arm (maybe someone else will get it next race, as I didn’t fall off at all that time!). Once again, and as with every round so far, all I could see was grinning riders crossing the line and immeditaly swapping socially distanced race stories as they made their way off the course. Another successful race for everyone it appeared, no matter what the finishing position. It certainly felt like that for me (and I even got the van out of the car park without assistance, albeit sideways). A job well done. Again.
On to round 4!

1 Comment »

  1. I can recommend a nice optician.

    Comment by Dave Haygarth — October 26, 2020 @ 12:49 pm

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