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

December 29, 2020

Bonus ball

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 10:54 pm

So, yeah, I crossed the finish line. On the bike. Mostly for the look of it – running across the line when your bike’s in one piece just looks wrong in my opinion. It probably cost me a couple of seconds, having run across the timing mats on my last lap right up to the start of the gentle descent into the lower field, in order to keep stretching out my advantage on the riders behind, by keeping a pace that was higher than the wheelspin inducing ground would allow. But the time loss didn’t matter too much. I could see open space behind me enough to calm me down and the emptiness of the course in front of me was once again humbling enough to wipe any concern about putting extra effort in to catch anyone.

I had no idea whereabouts in the race I’d finished…well, no, that’s not entirely accurate, I knew I hadn’t won. I’d crashed on the first series of corners AGAIN (as I shouted to myself at the time), offering up a huge advantage to riders who simply don’t need it anyway. But other than that, I didn’t know how many people were ahead of me, how many were still behind me and just how many were still taking part.

At each one of the races I’ve done this season I’ve classed crossing the finish line on board a bike that was still in the correct number of pieces (one – even if it is misbehaving) as a success. Maybe not a hard earned one, but something to be happy with on the way home afterwards. In a normal season, I’d have worn my welcome with my pit crew pretty thin by this point, with half lap bike changes no doubt being the norm to keep them on their toes and me on a fresh, working, non clogged bike. This time round, however, you and everyone around you simply has to push their luck. Tyres will clog, mounds of grass and mud will build up wherever they land and drivechains will succumb when jammed solid with dirt with no warning. No-one’s around to clean it off for you. Yes, you can try to limit the risk slightly by opting to run more (as I did on this occasion), favouring cleaner lines over what might be faster ones and holding back slightly with the effort pushed through the gears, but it’s still basically a lottery. Play the numbers as they’re called – remember which gears are still working rather than skipping and work out how to use what you’ve got as you ride – but know that not eveyone will make it to the finish line and it could be your bike that implodes next, even if you’ve done nothing wrong, as far as mechanical sympathy goes.

So. Yes. Over the finish line on a still working bike (2nd, 3rd and 4th gears still usable and shiftable between them as needed, that’ll do), having had great fun retaking as many of the places I’d thrown away on the first lap crashfest. I’ll take that.

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Putting some power down when possible. Pic by Ellen

Turns out I finished 2nd. A welcome bonus, even if it is a coincidental one. 🙂

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