Monday, March 30, 2009

The view from the other side, plus some very exciting news

There’s a new sheriff in town
Well, that’s not actually true, but I was a marshal at the weekend, for the first time. It was Round 3 of the Canterbury XC series at the weekend and it was held at the fantastic Living Springs track on Banks Peninsula (which Pete and I helped dig). Also held at the track on the same day was the South Island Singlespeed Champs so it was a long day of racing and a very long day of fluro vest wearing. Being a marshal is pretty cool actually, especially if no one does anything silly and crashes in your neck of the woods. You are provided with a very fashionable hi-vis vest, a walkie talkie, map of the course and notebook and pen for the official look. I was disappointed not to get a shiny badge, but being provided lunch made up for that.
My day consisted of shouting encouragement, and later in the singlespeed race, abuse (they loved it, bunch of masochists), at the racers, taking a few snaps, applying liberal amounts of sunscreen and chatting to various punters. The racing was fantastic, with the course hammering everyone. The sport race guys started out in the morning and some of them were suffering from early on. It was a great race, with a few of the expert guys doing their laps early so they could punish themselves in the singlespeed race in the arvo.
I did discover a few drawbacks to marshalling multiple races in one day. If you are lucky enough to have different areas for different races there can be quite a bit of hiking to be done in a short space of time. While I did enjoy walking the track to get to the complete other side, the enormous blister that formed on the arch of my foot put somewhat of a damper on my mood. Owie (yes, I am a big baby). Also there’s not a lot, in fact there’s no opportunity for a toilet break unless you’re stationed up near the start, which I wasn’t. Luckily I have developed a bladder of steel over many years of drinking so this wasn’t too much of an issue.

The expert race was an absolute ripper and being stationed by the only jump on the course provided me with plenty of entertainment, but luckily no nasty crashes. Young Anton Cooper completely blitzed the field. That boy makes me sick, not only is he incredibly talented and fast, he’s also a really nice kid. I’m looking forward to seeing him kick some international arse in the future when he gets older.

The final race of the day was by far the most fun to watch. The singlespeeders are a mental breed and all dressed either themselves or their bikes appropriately for the race. Some the expert riders who’d just finished 6 laps of the course were lining up at the start for another 5 laps, but this time without gears. Not Right At All! Especially in a gorilla suit. You wanna sweat, wear one of those while racing. Unfortunately for my eyes costumes (if you can call it that) also went to the other extreme with one insane man wearing nothing but a horribly small g-string. Won’t someone think of the children! I’m guessing riding with a tiny bit of material in your butt crack is not a very pleasant experience, possibly even worse than riding in a gorilla suit.

I was gutted I couldn’t race this race, it looked like heaps of fun (and heaps of pain). Any race where you get to colour in, eat weet-bix and drink beer sounds great by me! Hopefully next year I’ll be fit and raring to go. All in all I loved marshalling. It was great to be part of such fun and well organised events, even if I’ve managed to shout my throat raw.

Exciting News
This is actually old news, but I didn’t want to write about it till it was done and dusted. A month or so ago I sent a couple of bits of writing off to the fantastic Spoke magazine to see if they would be interested in publishing something I’d written. I’ve always wanted to have something published in a magazine and I’ve had some encouragement from a couple of people to give it go recently. I’m over the moon to say that not only did the editor of Spoke like my writing, she then asked me to write another piece for the upcoming edition. Wooo Hooo, commissioned to write for Spoke, oh yeah! I’ve sent my piece off today and will be eagerly awaiting the next issue hitting news stands to see my name in the byline.

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