Wednesday, 5 May 2010
gorrick enduro - rain of some distinction.
at lorraine's on saturday night there is an unhealthy amount of talk about tyres over dinner. we reason that because racing is now our normal mode of operation, we have nothing more important to worry about and it's simply a sign of spare operational capacity. we go to bed hoping it will rain hard overnight as predicted and when it's still dry in the morning there are grumbles and some last-minute switching of rubber.
lap one: too fast, as always. a retrospective look back at timelaps shows it was the fastest girls' lap of the entire race and that is not big or clever when there are another six to go. still, i have new kit to christen and it needs to be done in style. halfway in it starts to rain. i rejoice and give thanks to my wtb raijin which will now get its chance to shine rather than simply battering me about the arse for six hours.
lap two: properly raining by now, all four layers of clothing are soaked. it is brutally cold and i can't stop shivering. i can see my hands and feet are still attached to my arms and legs but they're not connected to my brain anymore. shifting requires me to mash the levers with the heel of my hand and braking is accomplished by unclenching two fingers from the bar, fastening them carefully around the lever and locking the fist again with a visual check to make sure everything's in the right place. i have not been this miserable whilst racing in a long time and at the end of the lap there are already lots of withdrawals. i figure i stand more chance of getting warm again if i keep riding, so don't stop.
lap three: the rain is easing but it's not getting any warmer. it's not particularly muddy by uk standards but when i dab the front brake coming into the steepest part of the labyrinth absolutely nothing happens. woah! i gain a instant refresher in the importance of commitment and berms. ride on carefully getting colder and colder and slower and slower, using bushes and softer mud to slow progress whilst wondering what to do. at the end of lap three i borrow a jersey from a friend and head out again with renewed vigour. i will finish this, i just have to preserve what's left of my brake pads and try to remember not to brake.
lap four: i forget not to brake on the first descent of the lap. the wail of metal on metal doesn't cease when i let go of the lever and suddenly control is no longer a problem as something unseen is impeding my progress. one piston is jammed half-out of the caliper and the brake is now permanantly on. this is going to be expensive. it is also incredibly hard work to pedal against and this is the longest lap in the world. i dither about by the pit for a bit but once the fluffy jacket of comfort is on and i get a proper look at the brakes it's clear i am going nowhere. lorraine is the next to appear and also has no brakes left, despite having fitted a second pair of pads on lap three. we agree that although we have the inclination, continuing in these conditions is just silly.
we leave a cheerful rory preparing to head out for his sixth and final winning lap and make an unceremonious dash for the comforts of home, collecting silverware and prizes from a rueful ben as we go, and spend the rest of the afternoon waiting with increasing impatience for the curry house to open its doors.
lessons: be careful what you wish for and take winter gloves to every race, even in may. showers and central heating are simply fantastic. curry houses don't open at 4pm on sundays.