Race day comes and goes just like that.
Doth Monday, Kettering ith such a distant memory…..Kettering, Kettering, where for art thou Kettle-ring……’fine words of David Spragg Esq’
The standard week then starts…….
- Monday; sore legs on the ride to work and maybe find a few mud splats missed in the Sunday eve shower
- Tuesday; remember to log in and pay for the weekend race so, as an affiliate, you get a semi-average grid position, plus Tuesday was new tyre day*
- Wednesday; CX Training with Team MK at the bowl followed by beers
- Thursday: Fingers crossed you’re gridded higher than Tony Marriott (usually not)
- Friday…..weather app…..refresh…..weather app……refresh – YES…..it was looking MOIST. Then before you know it
- Sa-turd-ay: It’s up early for the Luton.CC race at the bowl
*VB purchased 12 of the Clement BOS tubeless jobbies from Planet X for a steal at £25, so it was time to get the sealant out, fire up the air compressor and stick the tyres on. (which went on very easily it must be said).
[Ed] *this is just show for show, we actually got the tyres for free for a bit of testing feedback and promo. BUY CLEMENT BOS.
A cheeky midweek ping to Jacko off of Luton.CC saw a reserved spot at the corner for the VB Venga Bus, so an early start to get set up was on the cards. Now the VW T5s are a decent size, but they get filled up really quickly. Average contents: carts, farts, feather flags, bikes, wellies, wireless speakers, cakes, beer, red bull, multiple bottle holders, bobble hats, cameras, dolls heads on sticks, power up signs, petrol pressure washers (oh yes we have one of those now), box of Cadbury’s heroes not to mention an ever increasing accumulation of other people’s lost stuff and soon to be a very very cool, branded pop up shelter. Although by the looks of it that may actually fill the van on its own !
Being the first real wet one of the season it was a chance for everyone to roll our their wet weather kit bags although we’re pretty sure Jonny and Fran got theirs mixed up with their fishing bags….
Digression aside – race day. Luton.CC were hosts for Round 4, the 2nd time round at the MK Bowl this season and on arrival it looked vastly different to Round 1.
No “100” to start with, and a distinct lack of climby climby. A nice mix of off camber, and the infamous “Corner of Carnage” which would almost definitely get more ‘carnaged’ as the rain progressed. VB had a good turn out; Fitzy, Pogo (fan bant capacity only), Steve P, Tommo, Kevvo, PFitzyP, Dr Bants, Jase (still with damaged
pride ribs so standing in as Pit-Bitch), Molli, Pat and Bob.
Quick Hi to Nikki and Mr First Aid 👍
New for this week was PFitzP’s new venture – TapeGate – fed up with the weekly epic race pics being ruined with squinty, half folded over arm numbers he came armed (get it…..) with a new plan. Fat cellotape. It was so succesfful he literally had customer queuing round the van…
Now being mid-pack, slightly above average fitness (other than the Tri-ath-letes) we like a good helping of rain, it’s a real leveller. It turns a grass crit into something that can turn a Top 20 finisher into a Top 80 finisher.
Staying upright is key, eating Shitaki / hitting the deck usually costs something like 10 – 15 seconds to re-compose, re-mount, re-start and re-catch up to where you dismounted. In terms of skills, its more often (certainly for us mid packers) that slow and steady round the corners often means a faster exit which generally means a faster A – B. Getting the right line round a corner, is often thinking where you want to exit, rather than where you enter…..anyhow, less of the mambo jambo, we aint no pros…..but you get the ‘message’ – There are some that can corner in mud and there are some who fall for fun in the mud.
The rain started around 10:00, just as the U12s were racing, Tommo totally forgot about decorating Small1 and Small2 with numbers and chips so they nearly missed gridding. Anyhow, all made it in time, and a podium for Small1 and a very respectable 8th for Small2. Super proud of these 2 future VB Presidentays. [Ed] what do you mean future? They’re VB to the core already!
Due to the new race day format, the popular V40 race isn’t that far after the smalls race. So it was a swift pinning of numbers etc etc, slipping on the SPDs and heading out for a sighting lap. We were directly adjacent to the “Acid House Flag” so we all shot on in Red Arrow formation for a sighter. The start finish was standard issue. 8 wide, maintaining its width through the length of the tarmac into a right hander ascent climbing gently to the first corner. Then further climbing up some switchbacks to the top tarmac path before the descent down the “Corner of Carnage”. On the sighting lap this was still quite packed, although lines were beginning to form with the onslaught of V40s on sighters. After 30 mins this was going to be tricky, after 2 hours, for the Seniors, this would be delicate.
A small stint up the road brought the riders to the bottom of the steps constructed and installed by the semi-skilled labourers of Team MK, still intact and still pretty tall. So a dismount for all, even Ben Sven Nyes wouldn’t be able to ride these badgers, then a hike back in to the bowl on to the ridge line path. Round the path and then a descent back through the wooded area down to the external grass, along parallel to the road then back up into the bowl. This then found your dropping down to the pits, a climb up and back to the far corner, and then re-enter the main bowl, past the pits and a small cheeky climb before the descent down to the finish line. It was a great course, the climbing was spread out, lots of off camber climbing and cornering, with the rain forecast it would make for a really interesting race.
Back at the bus, it was a tyre pressure dick-fest. People asking everyone was pressure they were running, people letting air out, people stick loads on…..the first wet race such as this makes for a slightly twitchy bum moment, do I have enough, do I have too much. Well there is simple one way to find out…..well that’s not actually correct…..that’s what you use the sighting lap for really……but the race would be the final authentication.
A quick stop to the sh1t boxes was obviously required, (we felt really sorry for the 3 people in the far left 3 cubicles who had obviously been tipped over as a prank )
Pre-race nerves and bowel movements are directly proportional, but luckily we were parked within chipping distance of the Andy Gump Sheds. A swift queue but quickly saw a space…..in you go. Standard issue…..greeted with blue…blue everywhere…..it even smells blue.….blue everywhere like a de-iced Slushi that stains your tongue…..and obviously the gifts left by the previous visitor staring at you straight in the face.
Always the highlight of the day, however today was slightly different, post poop drop off…..to my horror I discovered there was no paper……yikes. Its like driving down a one way street and finding its too narrow to turn around….eeeeek
Never mind………………the gloves were old……and luckily the padding was worn, so I knew I would order another pair that night. Hopefully the person after me didn’t have super cold hands and would try and fish them out. If only there were a “Surprised Poo Emoji”. We’ll leave it to you to work out from the race photos which VBer this was…..
We then had time for a quick game of #wheresgarry Honestly he is in this picture, you just have to look closely…
So we were all suited and booted and headed to the gridding area, most with bikes in hand, GoPro in hand for Pogo and pit tools in hand for Jase. Let’s do this.
As the races progress the VB V40 riders are almost certainly going to be gridding closer and closer together, Fitz P was upfront, then Tommo, closely followed by Kevvo, Pat and Steve P, Bob just behind. All within snot rocket firing distance of each other, this was going to be good.
It seemed like we were gridded for ages before starting, there is only so much time you can stare at Duncan Godfrey’s buttocks….however they are fine buttocks, but it felt super cold…….the air….not Duncan’s ass! Anyhow, off popped the whistle and we all got off along the S/F line. Another stonker of a start saw an empty space ahead open up once Tommo passed Dunc and his prize derrière…..joined by Dan Connell we just turned the gas on around the outside of the newly formed CX slinky and flew by a huge chunk of the field Top Gun style but without the brakes.
The first corner didn’t disappoint. It was the bottle neck from hell. Brakes squealing everywhere, a few distant effs + jeffs and a LOT of unclipping. A cheeky dismount and Tommo raised the bike aloft and shimmeeed round the corner passing a few more static riders. Similarly Kev “wrecking ball” Findlay, a swift dismount and a scrum down movement saw more riders passed and places gained. The first few corners can really gain you 60 seconds or lose you thrice fold ! Then on to the Corner of Carnage, which by looking at the number of spectators gathered was going to be very amusing. Luckily I passed unscathed, I took a super high line, not as fast as I could of, but just wanted to get past the corner upright. As I exited the corner onto the road I did catch a few “oooohhsss”……evidently someone / riders went down.
All caught on camera by roving CX Reporter Suzie Godfrey:
Now normally within the first 5 – 10 minutes of a race I’m usually looking at the time on my Garmin, expecting it to read something like 35 minutes…..and the heart rate……again expecting double digits, certainly not triple digits starting with a 2 !! But for some reason I was thinking about the new rubber. I think the pressure was spot on and they felt super grippy. Climbing the off camber corners felt really good and meant I could really accelerate around them without getting that feeling where you think your sealer is suddenly going to ejaculate from the tyre rim and you burp your way back to the pits.
Round the first few bends I could see more VB jerseys not far behind, we were all getting it done. As the race progressed so did the amount of fallers. It was turning into a yard sale.
2 different lines and styles from the VB V40s: Kevvo & PFitzP
Swipe right for this hunk, Its one I like to call “You theen my bathball” :
Further points of worthy blog-duggery. CAKE…….we have seen a theme the last few weeks and lets all hope this continues. Last week it was Dr Bants and her Unicorn Cookies, this week it was Sue Corbishley and the spectacular that was Chocolate / Jamaican cake avec glaced cherries. OMFG !! It wouldn’t win any prizes for looks, but who the hell cares….it was delish !!!
Post V40 race and it used to be the space exactly 67cm over the finish line is where the race post-mortems would begin and the masses congregate however it now seems this is at Bants Base Camp.
VB’s very own “trust me, I’m a Scottish accountant” Kevvo returned ready to rack his bike on the new VB racks and get that minor pro feeling. Instead he was left holding his bike and seen muttering irrpeatable sweary words under his breath for 15 mins.
Expect parking tickets to be issued from next week onwards as honestly he was raging. It’s not a bad idea really as we’ll soon be able to expand and add more racks! And also don’t get him started on litter. Well not litter so much as that “casual littering”……..I mean who really puts empty sweat wrappers back in the box and not in the big bag right next to the sweets??
Back at the racing: Big shout out to the Women’s Race, you ladies were getting it done. Ugly conditions, loads of people taking blows to the head on the Corner of Carnage, shout out to Debs who took a right hook from Tyson then got up not knowing exactly what part of the UK she was in, then just jumping back on her bike and carrying on. FIGHTER !! Some great racing, and everyone smiling when you passed the Venga Bus….great work! And there was a Suzie Special – camera team are still trawling the footage….Some awesome line choice early on saw previous VB prize winner Roof off of St Neots make up about 36 places on carnage corner…cue an expectant crowd next time round for another speedline tutorial…..ah……let’s just say that line might make the cut for the carnage corner crash compilation coming soon! #commentatorscurse sorry Ruth!
There was a great battle at the front of the race between Lisa, Fran and Zoe. Some serious too-ing and for-ing, spins, climbing, VB hi-5ing, descending……it was just like the telly !
We are back with a new “Power Up” at Bedfont Lakes on Sat for you all.
Great shout to the coffee truck…..it was top drawer. A) It wasn’t £23 for a latte and B) It was great coffee. A sneak pic or DrBants pre-Tuff Mudder course !
Shout to Gwen W…not to be confused with GwenW. Both were racing great on Saturday, top work. Gwen W pips the award for most ingenious bike wash.
Big shout out to Mike Deeley….turns up every week, gets it done, always smiling….punctures this weekend minutes before gridding, borrowed his lad’s bikes, prolly nothing left to go wrong but still smiling. Great work fella you’re exactly what our league is about. Also Mike is actually a rolling tuck shop, honestly his pockets are loaded with snacks, PfizP had a scone, Kevvo got a flapjack and Tommo some bread pudding. Lapping goals right there.
Another “You had to be there moment” but hilariously funny……During the V50s some chap had come off the course with a major sealant burp fest, Tommo stepped in to try and help pump the thing back to life…
Now generally on VB CX rides, if someone gets a puncture, other by-standers are invited to scream in their ears whilst pumping is underway. #TheMunc pulled this off a treat….however he clearly didn’t realise the poor guy was at “Irritated Level MAXIMUM” and it’s safe to say he didn’t quite find the funny side….at all…..Tommo however laughing inside.
We’ll leave you with these 2 gems…….this dreamboat…I’d vote for him
And our 2020 Eurovision Song Contest finalist (max vol reqd)….’tis going viral’