BMFW arrives at the shock realisation that not shaving his legs may not have been the only contributing factor in finishing last in his first road race
And so, the joys of the Bute Cycling Festival were sampled this last weekend. Various events were advertised and BMFW Jr decided the Under-8 cyclocross/mtb race was for him. Surmising that I may have a hard time persuading the judges that I too should enter the under-8′s race I put my name down for the 44-mile road race. Without giving away too much before you read the rest of this post – one of us was somewhat more successful than the other!
Next up was the kids cyclocross events. Categories of U10, U12 & U14 had been advertised so I duly registered BMFW Jr for the U10 & headed off to the start line, only to be told, “Aye son, you’ll be up after the Under-8′s.” A bit of quick re-registering saw him entered in the correct category and after a quick warm-up ten enthusiastic kids took off at a frantic pace for what was to be a 10-minute race. It did my heart good to see energetic weans getting some great exercise and getting a taste of competition in these PC “everyone’s a winner” times in which we live. Never having been particularly sporty myself as a wean, I never experienced dads-shouting-on-the-sidelines syndrome. Whilst most of the spectator/parent comments were very encouraging, one parent, without a hint of irony, shouted “c’mon, c’mon, pain & suffering, go-go-go”. I kid you not, in an under-8 race – I damn near wet myself. Anyway, Jr got to the front after a couple of laps & managed to ignore me, dressed as the devil, running alongside him on the hill with my pitch-fork shouting “venga, venga, venga”. Despite strong competition from *gasp* a girl (with bigger wheels & wearing a Peugeot cycling-top no less) he held on, finishing his first race in first place and looking well & truly beetroot in the face (which I think is just a side-effect of the amphetamine/cognac cocktail that I fed him before the race. “Put me back on the bike, Dad!”). I was fair bursting with paternal pride.
It was a great event for the kids to be a part of and I am grateful to the members of the Johnstone Jets for organising it.
Sunday saw the 10 mile TT which seemed well supported and at which I managed to get some nice photos including this shocking example of “bibsover”!
Sunday afternoon saw the 44 mile road race which I had nervously entered not knowing what to expect but pretty much expecting the worst. The display of Cervelos, Colnagos, tight-buns & shaved-legs confirmed that I may be somewhat out of my depth – and so it proved. After a mile or so of neutralised riding, at around 23mph, the start banner loomed into view & the speed crept up to 25 or 26mph. It was a fair sized bunch of around 50 and hanging on to the back at that pace on the flat was do-able. However, the first climb past Mount Stuart House saw things explode and saw me struggle to hold the wheels. At this point I wasn’t last but I wasn’t far off it. Over the next 4 or 5 miles I saw at least 8 cyclists coming back the other way having for some reason decided against continuing. As far as I was concerned, I was off the back, I would continue to try to make ground on the stragglers ahead but if I ended up doing a solo ride then so be it. I was fairly sure I was in last place (several people behind me also having abandoned) but after I finished there were rumours of someone still on the course, having been stuck on the road behind a herd of cows on their way for milking – ah, the rural life. However, as these rumours are unconfirmed, I will accept my last place, some 20 minutes down on the winner, and chalk it up to experience. It was good fun (with a sprinkling of abject misery) and I’ll probably do it again next year. Thanks to Murray at Bute Wheelers for organising a fantastic weekend of cycling.