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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
Nick Craig: hero
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.
Paul Oldham: another proper working man's hero.
Then it was over, after 70mins of racing for Andy. Ouch. Then onto the long drive home to London.
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
Monday, November 28, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
With little in the way of CX racing happening this weekend, we decided to have a break and go MTB'ing in Wales. Ben, Boom and Andy started the weekend at the Forest of Dean in pretty unpleasant weather, blasting out a couple of laps of the new Verderers Trail, with a few off-piste additions. That afternoon, in torrential rain, we drove over to Afan and our digs for the weekend in Cymer. I think it's fair to say we'd all heartily recommend Bryn Teg House now - we rented a house for four of us. It was perfect: bike storage, hot shower, bike washing, loads of towels, fridge to fill with beer, and walking distance to the pub.
What more can you ask for?
Saturday, we met up with Paul and his mate Rob, as well as Andy's mate Rob to ride the trails at Glyncorrwg. We started with an abbreviated loop of the Skyline in the morning, then did the Wall in the afternoon. That totalled nearly five hours in the chair, when you took into account Ben's punctures at least.
A fair amount of beer was drunk Saturday night, but that didn't stop us getting up early to meet up with Boom's Cape Epic team mate Collyn and Ben's cousin Will for a 10am start. We rode the same loop of Skyline as Saturday, but rather than going all the way back down to Glyncorrwg ponds on the final descent, we used the cut through to get back up to the top of the climb, then take the Whites Level descent back down. That trail has changed a lot in recent years thanks to felling - it's almost unrecognisable from the original, even if the trail does take the same route.
What was recognisable was the centre at Glyncorrwg. I had my doubts it would be the same since Ian left, but the food is still really good with huge portions at sensible prices. Just what you need after three days of shredding.
In the pub on Saturday night Paul had everyone in stitches talking about this video. I won't repeat his description, but CJ Boom actually cried.
On the MoHawkVember front, at the end of the drive home, I tried to fill the Kangoo up with fuel on Norwood High Street. I had a hat on.
The man in the shop wasn't happy.
"Take your hat off" he gestured, which I did, revealing the Mo.
He still didn't release the pump.
I went into the shop to find out what the problem was.
"You have money?"
I showed him my Amex card. All was well.
It seems having a MoHawk makes you look like an untrustworthy thug.