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

April 11, 2021


Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 8:47 pm

Round 4 of the NW CX league this weekend. The way things have been in the world, to have got to 4 rounds is pretty impressive. The way racing has had to be, to have got to round 4 without completely destroying the bike in the clogging, drivechain jamming mud is no less impressive (if somewhat more luck based, in place of hard graft and boundless enthusiasm by the organisers, sponsors, marshals and courseside sheep…), but there I was, stood on the startline, fully working bike ready for another thrashing.

Only it wasn’t me on the startline. I was in the woods with a hi viz vest of authority and a couple of (never used, thankfully) coloured warning flags and a radio that seemed to be mostly be used by commissaires finding out of there was anyone in the queue for a brew yet.
Mashaling duties. I can’t pretend it was a hardship. Maybe it was for anyone unlucky enough to be stuck out on an exposed hillside during a race in really bad weather, but for me and Angela it was basically a day in the sundappled woods, hurling encouragement (and mild abuse) to everyone as they raced past. With free coffee, when we joined the aforementioned queue.
The hundreds of other me’s on the startline for each race thundered past us over and over again as their races came and went. The delightful deep rumble of grippy tyres skimming over parched ground was a great counterpoint to our combined (and often repeticious, sorry – bit out of practice!) encouragements and, quite frankly, by about midday I was well up for some of the dry and dusty, fast racing that had shot past us.

With not much in the way of cx racing recently, I’ve not been trying to ‘peak’ or really work on top end speed – not that anyone has, I should imagine – but it took all over about 2 seconds for me to totally forget that and get thoroughly caught up in the flat out, grin inducing nature of dry cyclocross. The sprint off the startline towards the ‘cornery’ part of the course was half gasping for breath, half giggling with glee. There was to be no ‘grinding it out in the slop’ today.

Yay racing! Pic by Ellen

Any power you put into the tyres was converted into forward motion with little resistance and the corners, oh the corners! Standard protocol at the side of the course, pre and post race at dry cyclocross races is to tell everyone you prefer it when it’s muddy as your handling skills come to the fore. Balls to that. I love racing in the mud, it is great fun and a true test of skill and ‘feel’ but getting leant over in the grassy turns, popping out the other side of each course twist with a stomp on the pedals to release a little flurry of dust and acceleration, those deft, lightweight flicks to keep you skimming across the ground, rather than several inches deep in it, REALLY is brilliant.

Getting a lean on! Pic by Ellen

The only thing better, in fact, is to be doing it shoulder to shoulder with other people and, yep, most of the race was like that. Just awesome fun.

As per usual, it all seemed to be over all too soon. The lap counter on the start/finish line counted down just too quickly for my liking (Should have entered the senior race too. Would have done if I’d known how clean the bike would be after one race!) and, although I dropped back a bit from the great fun racing for 2nd/3rd I could feel I had plenty more efforts in my legs, I crossed the finish line in 3rd, wanting more. More!

Oh no, only a few laps left! Pic by Ellen

I settled for more marshaling so I could watch and cheer on the junior/senior race. The riders in it seeming to relish racing on a course that hadn’t been churned to utter misery by all us old fogeys for once 🙂

Spot of TTing this week, then…MORE! With any luck, another dry (though, you know, I prefer muddy cross races because my epic skills come to the fore, ahem) cx race to finish off the season and draw a line everyone involved ca be proud of under the horrible 2020 season.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much to you and Angela for the help, and encouragement of course. And I do like the word “sundappled” and will aim to use it more.

    Great racing, great atmos, great helpers. Ace.

    Comment by Dave Haygarth — April 12, 2021 @ 1:38 pm

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