Monday, April 16, 2012

A Weekend of Two Halves

 Despite my recent all-consuming preoccupation with old bikes I actually managed to do a race at the weekend! Even better it was a team race and my lovely hubby joined me on the team.  We were entered as a team of 4 in the Krank 8hr race at Hanmer Springs with the effervescent Anna Ross and newbie to racing Greer Swinard. It was a horribly early start as we decided to go up the day of the race which meant a pre- 6am wake up call. Bastian provided us a distinctly unwelcome one just before 5am and I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. Bloody cat!
Monster alarm clock enjoys fresh washing
The drive to Hanmer was uneventful and the setting up and registered chaotic as I thought the race started at 9:30, but it started at 9. Lining up on the start line I was feeling flat as a pancake so when the gun went I was very glad to have Michelle to ride with and push me to go a little bit faster on the first deceptive climb. I’d taken the 9er with me for this race and as soon as we got into the singletrack I realised this was a mistake. I couldn’t corner to save my life and wasn’t carrying speed which meant I was on the brakes and working harder than I should have been after most corners.
Sooooo glad the first lap is over
There was then a rather unfortunate organisational breakdown with no marshal being stationed at the most ambiguous corner of the start loop, which was meant longer than all the other laps. Luckily a local directed Michelle and myself back onto the right track and soon we were all alone in the autumnal forest as half the field had gone the wrong way. I had more troubles with the big hoops in here and found it to be a slog. Then we were finally under the bridge and the climbing began in earnest. Up the biggest climb of the day I was impressed I managed to ride all the way to the top, but blasting down the other side I just couldn’t trust the cornering and was much slower than I would have liked.  A gentle (read slog) climb back up Dog Stream and then onto Mach 1 which was a mixture of climb and descent, then another longish fireroad climb and back to the camp. The lap seemed to go on forever and I was an extremely grumpy and underfed bunnie after an hour 16mins of riding.
Greer coming in after her first ever lap in a race! Great work
Luckily I had 3 hours to recover and by my second lap felt surprisingly better, plus much shorter than the first monster long one. Bike control was a little better, but I missed my Anthem still, especially since Anna had her shiny new one with her.
Michelle being epic again
Despite the course being in the opposite direction to the way I like it was still a fun day out and was great hanging out with my awesome teammates and heckling/cheering for people.
Anna and Pete enjoying the comforts of our pit site between laps
For a recovery ride I was lucky enough to have a tweed ride to go to the next day. This one was to convene in Sumner, so I gave myself plenty of time to ride there. Along the way I met up with the divine Lady Andrea and her husband Kevin and we braved the causeway in a fierce headwind together. Andrea was riding a lovely old bike from 1914 and did an amazing job powering into the wind while I made use of my gears to spin along. Unfortunately a fit of optimism had seen me strap a pentenque set to my rack and with every bump the heavy metal balls would crash about making not only an awful racket, but making the bike feel quite unstable.
Myself and Lady Andrea looking very spiffing
Luckily we made it to the carpark in Sumner in once piece and joined the rest of our finely dressed compatriots with their array of lovely bicycles. Cruising pleasantly along the esplanade we drew many an admiring glance and at the end a challenge was laid down about riding up the Taylor’s Mistake hill. I was initially apprehensive, having smashed myself the previous day and frankly struggled in the headwind on the causeway.  Plus having about 10kgs of metal balls strapped to the arse end of my bike didn’t make the idea a pleasing prospect. 

Half the group.....
.....and the other half
After making excuses about tiredness, high heels and weight on the back of the bike I was provoked into a duel. It would have been a fairly uneven match without the heels and the petenque set on my bike as I have the luxury of 3 modern gears, whereas Chumly had only his strength and the size of his chainring to power him up the hill. He took off like a bat out of hell, lithely bunny hopping off the curb and streaking up the hill. I had to find a driveway to go down so didn’t manage to get a sprint on at all. Halfway to the first bend and my legs were demanding I drop a gear and suddenly life was much better. I found Chumly doing the chivalrous thing and waiting for me at the head of the corner, but I continued onwards for this was a race of endurance. Halfway to the next corner I decided I had made my point and hurtled back down the hill. It was awesome fun. I’m almost tempted to take the Duchess to Halswell and see how far I can get up Kennedy’s Bush Rd on it!
Victory was mine!!!
More riders venture forth encouraged by Chumley and my sterling efforts. Note Chumley's excellent cornering form in the background
We then toured around the back streets and containers of Sumner for a while before settling in at the Thirsty Mariner for well-earned drinks and a staggering and sometimes unidentifiable array of deep fried snacks. There a plan (ill-fated for me as it turns out) was hatched to head to the Brewery. Andrea, Kevin and I headed off with a now gentle (soooo typical) tailwind speeding us across the causeway, while the others drove down to Ferry Rd to park up and join us by cycle for the rest of the ride.
Beautiful delivery bike
In no time at all we were enjoying the live music, fine beverages and witty banter at the Brewery. However dark clouds of impending doom (well deep embarrassment) were fast forming on my horizon. As we were leaving to partake of the path beside the Heathcote I came a cropper due to a combination of a sudden stop, a weighty rear end (of my bicycle) and my stylish high heels. I found myself sprawled on the ground, one shoe arching gracefully over my head and the contents of my basket strewn about me. It was incredibly mortifying. I still feel a bit sick about it today.
Pipe smoking is a very serious Tweed past time
I gathered my things and the tatters of my dignity and off we set along the Heathcote. This bit was brilliant and very challenging with gapping cracks everywhere and tight turns to catch out the unwary or those with a limited turning circle. After much hilarity we were back at the others’ cars and I was, for the third time, heading along Ferry Rd, this time with home in my sights. It was a truly marvellous day out and I can’t wait for the next one. In the meantime I have plenty of rusty bike parts to polish and hopefully a visit to Bob’s mythical shed to look forward to.
The joy of the Tweed Ride clearly evident

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