Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nature

 
Photo Credit: Paul Sheers
We're setting up the sign on for the ViCiOUS Velo race when Claire points to the track and shouts out "That bird is eating another bird!"

All spin round and stare, to understand what she's rambling on about. It was in fact a Sparrowhawk pinning a Pigeon to the start/finish straight and was trying to peck it's head off.

The Pigeon managed to wrangle itself free and flew directly towards the ViCiOUS gaggle that had clustered. With the Sparrowhawk in close pursuit we ducked at the prospect of the on-coming talons. A little bit of wee probably came out for Matt Hinse and Ben.
The Sparrowhawk accelerations and shear power straightaway closed the gap on the Pigeon and it took it down again onto the grass where the parking spaces are at Herne Hill 'drome. More deadly pecking followed and we finally figured out what was going on....nature!
The Pigeon wriggled its way free yet again, but this was going to be for the final time. As the Pigeon headed towards the fabled track entrance the Sparrowhawk swooped in and went for the kill. All ran down the bank to see the final blood bath and in that short window when the birds were out of our view, the final chapter of the story was written.
A cat clutching its' prize trotted back from having snatched it from the talons of the bird of prey, before  disappearing into a neighbours' garden. All agreed, those two minutes of action was one of the most epic things any of us had ever seen!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vicious Cross at Herne Hill

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20111218-926G5648-EditWent off like a charm! Vicious Ben won the u12's and the senior race was mostly memorable for the Curly Wurly hand-up - which the commissaires bollocked us for btw, feeding's not allowed is it! BOOOOOOO!!
Warhead kept things funky and Gem Atkinson was snapping - cheers for coming along!
Disappointment of the day were the no-shows from the espresso wagon (leaving a lot of disappointed u10's who'd been promised free coffee - apologies kids) and the no-show from Ben's Mum. Gutting.
There were a lot of broken bikes on the day, but hopefully everyone still had fun - that must have been the first sighting of mud for a lot of people!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Just cos we've not had any music for a while and I like this, especially the intro

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ViCiOUS clean up at regionals

Badass, Boom, Kev, Paul and Ben headed to the south east & east regional champs last Sunday. It was dry and fast racing...and ViCiOUS medals galore.


Boom blasted off from the start and led the women for most of the race. I punctured on the first half of the first lap and had to ride the flat tub round to the pits to change bikes. Boom was still leading and had pulled clear away from Hope's Katie Simcock. Eventually with about two laps to go, the Badoom train got going. We rode together for a bit then I pulled away ending in a ViCiOUS 1 & 2 on the podium. Result.

Kev rode a strong race to come second in the Vets. He was nipping at the heels of first place by the end and he rode so fast that his face stretched a bit.


In the seniors, Paul had a race-long battle with them some pesky VCL tracksters and came in 10th followed by Ben in 11th http://www.flickr.com/photos/30401683@N06/6454570433/in/set-72157628278427063. VCL have been mouthing off about it so we'll crush 'em next time even if one of them has got big blue thighs.

.....Heinous omission not including Ben who won the under 12s with almost a minute to spare. Brilliant ViCiOUS debut!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All back to Bradford

The weather sounds grim up north this week - ideal for creating a deadly quagmire in Peel Park for this weekend's National Trophy. Our money's on Badass pulling off a podium on home soil, Boom showing off some skills for a top 5, Paul and Andy scrapping for a top 30, while Ben won't get lapped. Anything could happen with Knox, and probably will.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stories inspired by the off-season: The night of the involuntary crack deal

A guest blog by Vicious’ non-cyclocrossing motormouth.
Photo by b+c+c+f on flickr
If you want tales of racing, you won’t find any here just yet, not until the weather improves anyway. I don’t currently own a ‘cross bike, but that’s soon to change. I reckon I’ll be good for the early season, like September, but when it gets cold...

I’m not good in the cold.

My mate Robin calls me ‘The Spaniard’.

I’m not good at getting up in the morning either. I’m not good at a lot of things, but what I am good at is getting myself into situations – some more dangerous than others – but real scenarios that provide good stories for the pub – or in this instance, for the blog! So here’s the first: The night of the involuntary crack deal.

A few years ago I was in a band. We made a record and the guy producing it was pretty famous. He was a bit of a hero of mine when I first developed a music taste beyond the hit parade. Does anyone call it hit parade these days? Does anyone buy singles? Anyway, he’s an all-round champ of champs, but I’m not sure he’d be too happy about me using his name, so let’s just call him ‘W’. After we’d recorded, W came to stay with me when I lived in Camberwell. We drank some beers, ate some pizza and he asked me if I could get him some weed.

In Camberwell around that time, that was about as easy as it is to buy a Flat White in Shoreditch.

Off we went, down Coldharbour Lane to the end of Pomfret Road.

No one there.

We carried on until we almost reached Brixton, under the bridge when there’s those skiddy patches of pigeon shit landmine the pavement. Sure enough, we were soon inundated with offers. My girlfriend approached a group of dealers, another, lone dealer approached me and not wanting to have their business taken away, one of the guys from the group put his arm around my girlfriends shoulders, moved her to one side while his ‘colleague’ whips out a pistol from his belt and suggests that the lone dealer ‘absconds’. I’m not sure if that was the word he used, but anyway, he did. Wisely.

We exchanged cash for class B and headed for home to watch Spaced.

It doesn’t end there, unfortunately. The lone dealer headed us/me off on the next corner and insisted that I take a look at what he’s got and pops a small lump of crack wrapped in clingfilm onto the palm of my hand.

I’ve always done this, I always attracted the loons.

My girlfriend and W walked off, heading for home with their loot and I descended into what I can only describe as a Larry David/Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque sketch with ‘the lone dealer’.

Me: ‘No thanks, you can have this back. I’m not even sure what it is. What is it?’
TLD: ‘It’s not weed, none of that, this is good shit manggg.’
Me: ‘It’s crack isn’t it? You’ve given me crack. I don’t even know what to do with this.’
TLD: ‘Yeah, now give me a tenner.’
Me: ‘I don’t want it, as I just said, I don’t even know what to do with it, have it back.’
TLD: ‘Nah, you give me a tenner.’

He then gets his phone out and starts to dial someone. The police! We have a smart guy on our hands here I thought.

TLD: ‘Right, I’m phoning the Police. If you don’t buy this, when they get here I’m going to tell them that you tried to sell to me.’
Me: ‘Now, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m wearing glasses. I’m a little bit middle-class and I suggest you think about this properly. Who do you think the police will believe when they get here? You, who appears to be wearing a doo rag, or me?’

I popped the crack back onto the palm of his hand and walked off to join my girlfriend and W that had left me to fend for myself. Cheers united!

We went home and W wrote this song called ‘But you know it’s true’.

Apt.

This is a true story of how you should never try to impress your heroes.

Disclaimer:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vicious Velo at the Derby National Trophy

Ben, Boom and Andy started the weekend early, travelling up to the Peak District on Saturday to scout locations for a Condor Cycles photoshoot. The weather was grim: a howling gail, howling drizzle, and howling cold temperatures. It seemed winter had well and truly hit the north.

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Cold, wet and with a couple of shots in the bag it was back in the Condor van to Derby for a rock n' roll night of riding the turbo in the Premier Inn, using the Gideons Bible to prop up the front wheel. Even Alice Cooper would feel bad about that. Apologies to our religious fans.

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One day someone will cotton onto the fact that bike racers need coffee and they'll start turning up to races with one of those Piaggio Barrista bikes. Until then, we're sorted with Ben's Handpresso and travel kettle, and Andy's 12v Moka pot. Seriously, race organisers, get some decent coffee at your events and everyone will be happy!

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There's a lot of hanging around and junk to transport at a cross race. The racing is spread over a full day, and you need to be prepared for every eventuality, times two, as you really need to be able to run the same type of tubs in both bikes should it be needed.
Derby was remarkably dry, but we all ran muds as it was greasy enough that the risk of sliding out in a corner wasn't really worth the extra speed on the straights.
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Then the racing started. First up was Kevin in the vets, followed by Delia and Claire in the Women's race, with Ben and Andy racing in the afternoon with the Senior and U23 Men. Kev's cock up of the week was missing his gridding... One day he'll put his brain in before the race, be in the right place at the right time, not have a mechanical, either self-inflicted or otherwise, and he'll get a good result. Until then, 12th is about right. Our regular dueling partner Greg Simcock did cracking ride for fourth place though, well done!

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In the women's race, the girls rode well, coming seventh and eighth, Badass and Boom respectively. If you could mix Badass's fitness and Boom's skills into one rider - Badoom - you'd have a podium contender, no doubt.

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Juniors we like: Emily Barnes and Hugo Robinson. We should do an interview with Hugo, we could use some tips on how to go that fast and make it look soooooo easy. The kid has talent.

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And then to the seniors.
Fuck it was hard. Windy as hell which made being in a group a huge advantage, but twisty enough that staying in a group was hard as hell: that concertina effect making life very unpleasant. The field was stacked as well. Both Andy and Ben did their best rides of the season, Andy finishing on the lead lap, and Ben getting caught by the leader on his final lap. And yet neither cracked the top 40.
Time was that hard work, abstinence from any kind of debauchery, lots of intervals and decent bike handling skills were enough to see you finish in the top 25 at the Trophy series. Not any more. Now you need TALENT as well.
Time to create a Singlespeed or Masters category for choppers like us perhaps?
 
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Nick Craig: hero

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Roger Hammond didn't have the best time of it. He crashed, probably more than once. His sleeve was already ripped when Boom saw him somersault and land on his head. As an indication of how hard it was, he only finished 20secs and five places ahead of Andy.

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Paul Oldham: another proper working man's hero.

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Then it was over, after 70mins of racing for Andy. Ouch. Then onto the long drive home to London.

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Next stop on the Vicous Velo Tail End Tour is Bradford in two weeks. See you there perhaps?
Till then, there's a shit ton more shots on Flickr