As soon as I arrived at the bowl and saw the mud…..I knew there would be mud, and it would be a muddy race, I was glad I had mud tyres on. Thats all I have to say about that.
Plus, as we’re on the point of Gumpy, its bloody ridiculous to say “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your’e gonna get next”…….WTF….look at the little card at the bottom of the box like everyone else at X-mas you muppet, tells you exactly what you’re gonna get next…..why do you think all the soft centred shitty red ones are always left over !
So week 10, can you believe we are 10 weeks in, only 4 to go now. Kettering, Twickers, Crossmas and Rockers…..not long to go.
On the way to the Bowl I was trying to think what last years course was like…..nope…..nada……couldn’t remember a thing. Although I can remember my daughter won her first race, so it clearly overshadowed my normal lack lustre finish of circa 40th, 30th if its muddy…..still looking forward to it none the less. Some arrival pics:
Dolli and Molli-Dolly were having a great time chatting a way in the back of the car…..those rubber heads !
On arrival, it was the Race Day S.O.P (for those outside RAF.cc that stands for Standard Operating……..stuff). It follows these general process:
- Kids sign on – ranging from approx 3 – 15 minutes (today was SLICK at 3 mins). Easy peasy, outside tables…..loads of room….no congestion…..BOOM.
- Find a spot & unload the trolley – 4 minutes.
- Undo envelopes and attempt to remove kids clothes – 23 minutes.
- Attempt to place tag on shoe and pin number of kids back (x2) – 43 minutes.
- Find cable cutters to remove the really annoying ends of the tie raps (obviously we are all incapable of riding with this flapping in the wind !) – 2 mins
- Put on kids helmets – 2 minutes
- Find kids gloves – 17 minutes
- Guide kids towards warm up lap / sighting lap – 4 mins
Race done…..all back safe, enjoyed it….. Phew.
So onto the proper grown ups race. Luckily, turning up with the munchkins 6 hours before the start of my race means I get a few extra laps to warm up. Riding round with the kids gave the immediate sense of what the course was going to be like, it was obvious even with a few hours of sun light the course was cutting up. Yes../// GET IN. Some mud at last….it was like getting the key ring in the X-mas cracker….not the plastic comb.
One quick tangent that I must cover following a request from one of the VB social media followers who asked an important question last week….”What are the shitters like”. ….great question from an unknown Mr Steve P. I’ll obviously oblige with a roving jobbie report.
I can only speak from personal experience regarding Trap 3 (obviously going from left to right, there were 5 in total). Now I had already covered the “2-Poo-Process” at home. (How come its only on race day I feel the need to 2 x poo !? WTF…..never happens 2 mins before I leave the house to ride to work….so how come its only on race day….nerves I guess….come on I’m not alone here am I !) so this was just a simply a Number 1….easy, in and out….not a huge amount of spandex removal….just that uncomfortable pull down of the bib shorts so low that it nearly stops the blood circulation to your testicles…..the guys no exactly what I mean !
Anyhow, back to Trap 3…..it was of average size, a slight marking of fresh mud on the floor, 6.3 toiler rolls, somewhat artistically stacked in on the corner, lid down….(I wont treat you to a more in depth pic – but just think SlumDog Millionaire . Two things to note…..what the hell is that hole for !?! Also, who was brave / bored enough to enjoy a Skinny Machiato in there……well I can tell you….someone called “Mikey” had a cheeky Starbucks trip en route to the race !
The first exciting event of the day was meeting up with Molli and seeing her new toy…..a really really loud HOOTER ! (FYI: VB are still in the process of sourcing the Megaphone, but this was fantastic gap filler.
I was thinking this: We got this, but it was still a loud one !
So the support for the Novice race started, I’m sure those boys are getting quicker….Shout out to the the NBRC chap on Canonndale Lefty, he turns up every week…..thumbs up emoji
I had a swift visit to the coffee hut….”Coffee 2 Go” which is personally the only slight negative of the whole race day. I wasn’t entirely sure if was a legitimate coffee stop by the look of the freshly printed sign, but unfortunately it wasn’t up to the standard of the Team MK tent. I didn’t go for a coffee, mainly due to the fact I only had £6 on me! No chocolate brownies or home made flapjack like last time….just fudge bars straight out of CostCo at £2.50 each …..WTF ! I know its a captive market but come on, they’re 65p in Costco.
Off of the back of the not-so-refreshing–refreshments it was time for the U16 Race; including our local faves Molli and Mase (sounds like one of those really posh handwashes).
Both got off to a great start, Mase chose a good line along the start / finish dodging the hot tub sized puddles that had formed. Molli equally as quick off the line, was out in front, both not put off in any way but the hootering from the VB truck….surprised at that, it was louder than you think.
Love the look the Twickers rider is giving Molli, clearly thinking……”WTF”.
A snap of the snapper…..and a little glimpse of Ian with his new BBH !
We decided to visit the pits for a change to get a different perspective on things, maybe catch some pit bants. Caught up with Suzanne, who was “Pit Person” for Mase…..holding tightly on a certain Ausie F1 drivers bike…..but it only made it as a pit bike……..as Mase had liberated his Dad’s (hello Rich) shiny Trek Boone…..but Mase was covered, his Dad would never find out!
We took the time out to enjoy a lovely cup of tea…….well I say we…..it was in fact just Keeno……note his hands are not the size of shovels….it was literally like he was drinking a stainless steel thimble full of tea.
We’ve included a little treat for you this week and provided an indepth look into the life as a full time, semi professional Pit Bitch…..our very own – Keeno. Turn the vol up as he was a little bit quiet !
Also, as you can see Keeno is wearing his new Big Bobble Hat (oooh someones been to the Cotswold Camping Black Friday sale !)
Lanky pole like…..Keeno is the one on the left.
The end of Molli and Mases race always brings a tear to the eye, mainly as I know we have to don the SPDs, strip off the studded belt and head out for the warm up lap(s). Here we go.
We’d had a few visits to Parc Ferme before we had headed out; Poggo came over from VC10, fresh from his results last week, was looking forward to destroying another course on his new CX weapon (love the look of those GT Grade’s). Also said hi to Ian T….keen to enquire about the hottest club in town….Velobants.cc……anyone welcome as long as you’re not a boring fart and then finished off with a quick chat to the hotties at the Corleys tent.
We headed to the spright-fully waved Green Flag, and off we went cameras rolling. A slight change to prior races saw the start on the grass…or I say grass…more mud. We had a lovely tinkle round, taling everything easy, looking at a few lines to take, and found the course got progressively worse in terms of grip the further through your rode. The main steep off camber area we normally descend was a climb today, which was ridable at 11:30…..not sure how long that would last. Heading over to the other side of the bowl highlighted the really deep mud sections, one corner as you entered the bowl area was a high risk area of losing your shoes….plus the corner just above you was super slippy at that point, so we knew straight away this was going to be fun fun fun…..with LOTS of running !!
Back to the cart we returned to start the pre-race rituals….red bull, gels, bananas, sugar, more sugar and a little of the left over £2.50 fudge flapjack, sprinkled with sugar !
Approx 15 mins later we heard the whistle and headed over to the cow-pen as I like to call it. I like this bit as this is where the bants starts….Tim Edwins was to my right as usual, although an unfamiliar face to my right for a change, cant recall his name, but I did recognise him as “the fast guy who rode flat bars” last season with a green / black chequered jersey on. Tim looking prestine in head to tow Minion fancy dress, (also good to note its nice to see Simon Moss back again after his accident, or as I like to think the minimum amount of time it takes for the PEDs to naturally drain out of his system). Nice shiny bike too.
Surprised to see Michael P gridded behind me, as he generally finishes ahead of me, although after the “Red Bull Rampage” OTB stylie stunt ride of Halton I spose thats the edge. (Although that didn’t really matter as at one point the gridding was switched up….the 50s were gridding before the 40’s…..he passed me with the biggest grin on his face…..but he gave up his place on the grid like a gent after the confusion was sorted)
Some start line bants occurred with the collective introduction of “Good Luck Ed.” chants from his fans….(not to be confused with Equipe Velo Tiny Ted as he cried off this week with a sniffle) So we welcomed Ed with a swift bout of “Eddy Eddy Eddy”…..Oi Oi Oi…..followed by a Xmas panto chant all the kids wouldv’e been proud of form Kevvo…..’Wheres Ed?”…….”He’s behind you”….Oh no hes not”….you know the rest,,,,,you had to be there…..honestly….BANTS
Also, the standard de-robbing to gain the extra watts started….although the guy next to me took his watch off….bit extreme Bradley…although I did wipe my lip balm off. To make matters worst I was still wearing a buff…..not cool for the pics…..not cool !
One guy next to me started letting air out of his tyre, clearly having second thoughts about his pressure vs grip equation….which literally had the same affect as a bad fart wafting across the office…..he let some out…..the guy in front then obviously thought….’shit I’m pumped up to the max’…..he let some out…..a guy behind me…..ppfffftttt……let some out…..Christ….at one point I’m sure I heard Tim Baileys tyre let out a cheeky sealer parp !!
Anyhow, whistle went, Garmin’s sprung in to life, riders were off !! GO GO GO. Now I’m not blowing my own Flugelhorn, but I generally have fantastic starts….generally gridding 40th or so, I’ve been known to head round the first corner around 20th, sometimes 15th….then pull the lung-BPM-handbrake and head backwards. Today was similar, 100m or so down the start finish everyone started to drift right in anticipation for the first corner, so I pulled a standard Top Gun stunt and went high, (obviously not putting the brakes on and letting them fly right by) but found grip and started to pass riders as though they were stationary…..nice work Tommo. Kevvo also riding like a trojan went from 60th to 30th in about 400m…..for the first race ever we were within a few riders….its was borderline romantic….christ I virtually had a semi !
Round the first few bends, along the top of the ridge and dropped down round to the biggest climb. It was all pretty civilised on the climb, I actually thought it would be a slug fest, but form what I could see most people were staying on bikes digging in. Up to the top and the chance for a little recovery, for me anyhow, some were taking the opportunity to make up places. Then, as you would expect, what goes up has to come down, and at the bowl this is generally down through the wooded areas. Down we went, out on to road and then a drag round to the next wooded climb. At this point for some reason I was thinking about Kevvos bike….he’s had a shocker for 3 – 4 races as we’ve tried to be a little clever this season, and follow all these pro types by going 1×11. Easy right, you just take stuff off…..add a slightly different front ring and Bobs your Dads Brother….although little did we know not having a clutch on the rear mech doesn’t quite give you the right chain tension (bear with me I’ll get there eventually)…ipso facto…..Kevvos chain keeps jumping off. So mid week, we proper McGyvered the shit out of a chain catcher, fitting it with some major adaption from the Tommos workshop. Anyhow, today was thumbs up, chain stayed still….nice chain…..
So we climbed back up into the wooded area, this then dropped you off at the corner, which is where the mud fun started. The first corner was ace, a few tried to go deep, as far as they could, but the deep mud was simply unridable (even the World Champ guy who sticks his middle finger up at mud and always wears pristine white kit didn’t even ride it…and he has SKILLS !).
With the high possibility of losing a shoe in the mud we all managed to dismount, run, re-mount at the appropriate time without slipping off, then back on the course, only for a mere 50m or so as we turned back on ourselves to a climb…..yep…more slippy mud…LOVE IT.
The climb was slightly trickier than the flat, glad I had the spikes on, I found I gained more of an advantage by running further for a good stretch along the top, from there I went high, as it was difficult to keep the line. Finding traction along here was where you found extra seconds, i found little in the middle but most on the lower edge. Next was a lovely flowy down hil bit, with a great corner at the end which took out a few guys in front of me, then a cheeky switch back into the hurdles. From here, a drag to the start / finish line.
One point to note, second lap….. I was digging in, probably at 99.7% when we dropped down on to the tarmac. As soon as we hit the black stuff, Kevvo flew past me and the 6 guys in front at a serious rate of knots……Jeez !! There was no way I could keep that speed up, but thought, WTF this would mean we could actually get snapped together for once on a lap…..some images for the up and coming Sky interview were exactly what we need so I threw the ineffective 0.3% out the window and went full gas. I managed to stay on his wheel until the top of the big climb where the 750ml of Red Bull has dissolved and he let me pass. Boom, the money shot…thank you KP
Nothing really of any substance to blog regarding the rest of the V40, managed to see a few offs on the slippy corners, a few mechanicals and some encouragement from the Keenos.
Although a valid point worth raising regarding a fantastic comment made from Aran Martin’s Dad as Kevvo and I repeatedly passed….(sorry I don’t know your name). Bants comparison between Tommo and Kevvo was distinctly night and day…..that of; big bants from Tommo……….Kevvo…..not so much !! Kevvo was clearly in the pain cave !
Then came the best part of the entire race for me……When you drop down into the bowl the sound from MC (in this case DJ Boothie) gets really clear, and as I was climbing over the last hurdle, I hear the MC let everyone know the leader is coming in to finish and has just ridden over the hurdles…..RESULT…..literally as soon as I heard that I started waving my right arm as though I was directing traffic…….screaming ////// “COME THROUGH SIR”…….perfect timing.
So race over, results of V40A – Tommo 30th, Kevvo 36th, great result for John Cavill 13th, another solid from Andrew Martin in 22nd closely hunted by Michael P in 23rd, Tim Ed 27th, Chris Mont 33rd, Spraggsy 42, JSC 58th closely followed by Poggo at 60th and unfortunately a mechanical for John M. Love those guys. (I’m actually making a heart shape out of my hands right now)
Next up….the V50 and womens race…..BANTS !
First off the bat…..I need to apologies to Keith……I’m 100% certain he’s been riding round in one of those plastic gaucho disguise moustache / glasses combo mask things, as on his bike with a helmet on he literally looks nowhere near as sexy as he looks in real life behind the lens….needless to say I haven’t recognised him…(Also I literally thought he was in the V40s)…..so I have inadvertently been screaming at him in the name of “Steve”…….’Come on Steve” I’ve been constantly screaming…..only to be pulled up today with a “You realise thats KP”…..sorry mate ! Owe you a beer in Rockingham
We decided on a dual position for this race…..so we sent the riders off with some supportive screams from the off, then swiftly moved to a slower corner further into the course.
A big shout out to all the Team MK women that turned up in force, hugeous mention to Suzanne, Lucie, Julia, Lisa, Gwen and Molli. They tore the already torn up grass upper.
Standard V50 shouts to Tony W, TIMBAILEY, Boovy, Brian, Andy L (no tree manoeuvre this week), Tony J
Missed the Marriot Charriot and Franster this week, apparently off sunning it doing some swim-athon or something.
Finally some pics to leave you with:
Elite agency are calling…..
Always catching my best side….
Kevvo showing his ballet skills form kinder…..
Mud mud mud
So scary that girl
Weapons of choice
Tony did an outstanding job of staying puncture free…..good work that man.
Who needs Burt Blurt…well to be honest we do as Kevvo did an average stand in….
Does anybody have any clue what this was (apart form the obvious blue art-deco glass dolphin ornament. It was literally by the start / finish line !? Answers on a post card please (digital obvs)
Something to leave you with, just a subliminal beer message…watch this space.