Sunday, 21 August 2011

Riding and Spectating

After my epic failed plan to spectate at the boyf's race down in Tenterden, I decided to do it properly for his race down in Brenchley this time : get lift out & back and ride round in the opposite direction during the race, thus ensuring regular spectacting at race progress and plenty of opportunities to hand over bottles and shout helpful remarks etc.
We set off at a suitably unholy hour for a Sunday morning and found the race HQ. I then stood around looking like a spare part whilst various blokes strip changed in the car park and pinned on their numbers (me trying to avert my eyes demurely all the while). They set off behind the race car and I set off on my bike which had decided to make all sorts of clanking horrible gear-clicky noises (umn... can you tell I'm not good at this mechanics stuff?).

I rode for a couple of miles to the circuit while my bike randomly changed gears and I rued the day that I never signed up for the (free) Evans Basic Mechanic evenings. At the first corner a nice Dulwich Paragon chap said he'd have a look so I looked on admiringly whilst he turned the barrel adjuster and managed to calm the clunking.

So we set off for the first lap together, chatting all the while about cycling adventures and the gorgeous sunshine. And WHOOSH the bunch came past. The boyf wasn't in the break but at the front of the bunch and still was smiling. We rode on and about 5 miles later, CRUNCH. My rear derailleur hanger snapped, the derailleur went crunch into the wheel and I stopped, somewhat abruptly. Fortunately we'd been chatting and I hadn't been riding hard so I managed to stop without damaging the wheel.

Mr Dulwich then gallantly said "I'll push you back to the HQ" and, thinking that it was a flat course, I accepted with a very very grateful flood of thank yous. It turned out, of course, that the part of the course that we had ridden was the flat bit. And the remainder bit was, umn, not. It transpires that pushing someone who's 65kg up hill when you're 67kg is pretty goddam hard work.

We stopped briefly over the brow of one of the hills so I could hand over a bottle to the boyf and then continued on to the first corner so I could watch the rest of the race. I chatted to the marshalls, shouted, cheered, jigged up and down and he came 11th. Hurrah. So at least one of us had a good day. I just had an expensive day. New rear hanger, new rear derailleur. And some ibroprufen for the sore elbow I landed on. I should probably also be sending some to Mr Dulwich who'll have some sore quads tonight I imagine.

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