CCXL Rd 5 – It huffed and it puffed and blew the course away (literally)

After being involved in the course building for Round 5, VB were super duper pooper excited about turning up and racing on the course we helped design, create, develop and build (thats a lie). The weather looked a little brutal and 50 mph winds forecasted for 12:02 put a little dampener on the mood!! Even in a bowl like….er….the bowl there were several areas where you just couldn’t hide…..unless you were drafting someone large that is !

So as normal, we dragged the VB cart into place, signed in, got the race packs, erected dolly, raced the kids, bought and consumed the coffees, then came the first support act for MK…no not Milton Keynes…..Molli Keenor.

IMG_0817.jpg

As usual her race grand depart time was with the U16s and off she went at 11:00. Replicated from previous rounds she got a great start out the gate, hole-shot achieved, smashed the first climb and returned round past the VB Cart in around 9 minutes, looking fresh……however then the windypops struck….the 40mph gusts had apparently blown the marking tape away at the end of the start / finish straight which meant the riders at the head of the field didn’t know where tthe f*%k to go….literally….it was like a game of “GRENADE” but on bikes…people peeling off in all directions, even onto the kids course……some even stopping with the raised arm / eye brow combo of “Where the feck do we go”. So via the power of MC…yes we had an MC, an adult too…he slowed down the riders and let them in to the secret that the race had to be restarted ! YIKES…..So back they all queued and off they started again…no biggy…..I suppose in these extreme weather conditions shit happens….as the gump states.

A few “Hand Ups” in (I’ll go into this in more detail for the uninitiated) the hydration was still in our hands and MK finished strong in 2nd, although for the duration of the last lap she did have a face like thunder after a slight mix up with the bell / flag / MC.

img_1506

Anyhow, less of the VB Team Photographer, on to the main event. Now let me start by saying, Kevvo avec Thommo do have a little start up pre-race routine, as I’m sure we all do. Nope, its not quite the 2-poo-process of a Sunday club run, its far more technical and pronounced, more of the following:

  1. Matching strong sock game – check.
  2. Check VB matching bottles – check.
  3. Pinning on of numbers & sticking on of shoulders numbers (completely pointless in 50mph winds)
  4. Hydration / PED intake. This involves, 2 x cans of red bull, 2 black pills I DO NOT KNOW what they do but something to do with lactic acid, 4 x gels, a large caffeine shot and a few bottles of SIS.
  5. 2 x nervous wees (each)

img_1481img_1477

So on to the V40 race…..with both our tootsies crossed there would be no “windy tape blowing away incident” we set off. (We have actually managed to find some footage that a few people have recorded of the start, with very similar positions to ours oddly enough, so we thought we’d include these in the blog, check it out below in the matinée feature). It gives a great POV of how hectic and close the initial off can get. Check out that schexy toosh in front !

The course was ace, I really enjoyed it. The start finish line was just the right length to string out the 100 man slinky of riders down to a right hander, although I’m sure there were a few twitchy bums (including mine) transitioning from concrete to grass running 22 psi ! It did feel a little squirmy to say the least! Off the straight into a few up and down off camber sections, this again is good as it slows the pace down a little into a technical obstacle with a focus on speed / grip. This then leads down into the base of the bowl meaning riders can take some speed into the long off camber climb up to the top of the main descent. The main descent, certainly in the V40s, is manageable, but you still have to dial in the speed to ensure you don’t go A-o-T, this obviously gets tricker as the race cuts in and the level of adhesion seriously reduces. The image below is from 2016…one I like to call “The Wrecking Ball” and shows how delicate this descent can be…..LOSERS 0 – Tommo 1. (Strong sock game also)

img_1512

Once round the bottom it was a long drag along the edge of the road up to the first climb up through the wooded area. It was rideable with the lead in, which helped and rewarded the hardy rider. A few opting to push which in hindsight wasn’t a bad thing as I shot out of the top well in the red every time. From there we worked around the top of the bowl, down a few twisties and across to the pits. Then, you guessed it, back up some off camber climbs. A similar descent down through the woods, along the perimeter and then back up through the wooded area, this time though with a new twist…..literally…..a dog leg which mixed things up and made it ever so slightly more technical, I could literally feel my tyres rolling away from the tubeless rims every time I powered around the corner too hard.

img_1491img_1505img_1493

Now unbeknown to me at this point, Kevvo, who was right on my tail after dropping down to the bowl after the first twistie section after a decent start gridded 60th, had an incident with his tyre. Currently running tubeless, somehow the air had decided it wanted a different perspective of the course and decided to “do the off” and burped its way to freedom. This meant only one potential outcome…..a swift ‘meet the mud’ moment and Kevvos podium chance was essentially ruined…..next came the lengthy run back to the pits….and it was some run….around 2.241km…….roughly.

Now this is where the VB pit crew came into its own, plus to be honest we have been drilling this stuff for some time now, and i think this shows in the video. Clearly it must have been really difficult for Kevvo to see Keeno standing on his own in the pit lane with the bright orange bike…but I spose a friendly yell of “Kev….Kev…its me” never hurt anyone, as I’m sure the disguise Keeno was wearing was pretty impressive.

Also the diligent amongst you will notice that Kev is returning Keenos daughters bike back to the family fold….its amazing the lap time you can put in on a childs bicycle !!

I must say the re-mount does look text book, looks at the ankles, they are virtually as high as Keenos head. (Oh and if the video comes to an end and cues the next video form Kevvos library….for fucks sake don’t watch the next one,,,its the Dirty Reiver – rolling eyes emoji – …..don’t get me started !

The rest of the race is history, a summary below:

Course: Ace, really decent mix of technical ups and downs and some flowy fast bits for a slight recovery

Weather: – windy / gash

FYI: People can pass the slower riders without any consideration at all, so a big shout out to riders 9, 10, 18 and 19. They seem like charming riders with very courteous, polite and welcoming overtaking pleasantries.

Bants: 4.5 / 5. Guest appearance from VB Crashy Guy….very apt as he actually has his arm in a cast, I’m not kidding meant bants value has increased, mixing in a LOT of high fives, bonus points for randoms, and even a VB shout out from the MC.

Hand – Ups: Strong “hand-up” game this week, a few takers of the Stella hydration…..pre-opened too (thats how we roll) but no butt-crack twenties out quite yet. (We’ll get there)

Gridding / Positions: Thommo gridded 44 finished 44th / Kevvo gridded 62 finished 60 after tyre burp, bike change, bike change, high 5’s

Others: Keeno – DNS – Pitch bitch this week / Crashyguy – DNS – But supported with bants

img_1486img_1484

With our roving photographer straight from the interview and accepting our seasoned contract, MK has captured some cracking images.

img_1479img_1490

Always good to signal before a tricky descent….

img_1478

Who doesn’t smile when riding a childs bike…..well Kevvo def does !!

img_1480img_1497img_1492img_1494img_1489img_1500img_1495img_1499img_1503

Dolly getting some serious abuse there….RSPCD has been informed

img_1485

Luckily limited scaring, dolly lives to fight another day.

Anyhow, if you’ve scrolled straight down to the bottom, you’ve come to the best bit….check out the next 4 minutes of CX wank material !!