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

December 6, 2020

Great disappointment at the first round of the NWCCA league

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 8:00 pm

No two ways about it, I was properly gutted.

Not with my equipment, the bike was still working pretty well for something that you couldn’t see underneath the half ton of mud and grass. It was damn heavy to try and shoulder on the running sections of the course (so I didn’t bother and just dragged it alongside me for those), but it was still shifting gears as requested, stopping when the brake were pulled and heading in the direction I pointed the bars (after a few courseside moments had been spent straightening them after a first lap crash left them skewed somewhat off to the left…).

Not with the course either. OK it was pretty churned up and there was a fair bit of running involved every lap – especially when trying to be conservative with the bike as there were no pits to swap to a second bike – but it was mostly brilliant. Lots of super slippery corners to slither around, some really fun swoopy stuff, a couple of near vertical “run” ups and plenty of opportunity for close racing without having to get too close (covid secure and all that). All you could ask for, with some extra mud thrown in for good measure.

It wasn’t that the racing itself wasn’t very good. Because it was. OK so my stint near the front lasted about 3 minutes but, as has always been the way with ‘cross, it sort of doesn’t matter if you’re racing for 1st or 31st as long as you’re chasing down the riders in front, dropping the riders behind and trying to get each section of the course ridden well enough to exacerbate those two objectives.

Obviously the first lap, because I’m still near the front of the race! Pic by Ellen

I dropped several places with a couple of silly crashes (I mean, I’d even been advised by Phil which line to avoid before the race and I still managed to cock it up – leading to the aforementioned twisted bars), but I made a few places back up. I got comfortably ‘schooled’ by the super skilled guys who managed to put minutes into me, but I started to get to grips with the lack of grip towards the end. Frankly it was just ace being back racing with everyone again.

It wasn’t even that I’d dressed for the weather that had been around the day before – I was ready to race through sleety, snowy rain, strong winds and sub zero temperatures. All of which were absent, replaced with calm, blue winter skies and the kind of sunshine that makes the views even more impressive. I was soaked with sweat but fine with it. OK by the end of the long run up I felt quite close to death each lap (not a runner, even less a runner that can cope with heat), but frankly if you’re fidning it easy you’re either winning by miles or not trying hard enough.

Ahh, it’s good to be back racing again 🙂 – Pic by Ellen

No, the disappointment was simply the sound of the last lap bell ringing. I’d lost all track of time, all sense of how many laps I’d done (and it wasn’t even all that many…), I was just…racing. Not brilliantly, but still. Racing.
I even found the spare breath to double check with the timing tent marshals that it was definitely the end of the race. I could happliy have carried on. I would have happily carried on if I’d had the chance (maybe I should have entered the senior race too). We’d not been short changed, the race for me was 44 minutes, which is pretty generous, but like a kid on the 20th of December feeling like it just should be Christmas by now, the idea that I’d have to wait two weeks until round two just seemed rubbish. A huge disappointment, that tainted the overall experience of the day, for at least 10 seconds. Then the whole “end of race experience sharing buzz” thing kicked in (again, in a covid secure way) and we all just got on with looking forward to the next chance to race.

Roll on round two!

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