My first event was the YCF 10 back on 26th Feb where Old Ned beat me on age related time by 1 second! A good turn out of Old Schoolers with a separate prize for us die-hards.
Having failed to get the better of Ned individually I went with the old "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" tactic and we both entered the Ravensthorpe CC 2-up 10 mile team time trial on 21st April. There was no dedicated Old School category in this event so we would probably be the only ones not riding modern "fast bikes". There were also Medium Gear and normal individual events going on so maybe someone else might be riding Old School.
Before the event we both decided to ride our MKM bikes so we really looked like a team. Old Ned was on his super-cool MKM Ultimate while I was on my more traditional machine. Being the consummate professionals we are the weeks leading up the race involved no practising of technique or even proper discussion of changeover, riding style or anything. We were just going to play it by ear.
The forecast leading up to the race was for hail and thunder so I called Old Ned on the morning of the race to check he was still up for it and he was!:shock: My escape plan had failed, there was nothing for it but to go ahead and race. After all it was only ten miles. I loaded the bike into the car and headed off to Ned's place. I hadn't accounted for Saturday traffic and was running very late so I called again to discuss options. My partner wasn't phased by my tardiness and so my second escape plan was foiled! "Don't worry, the adrenaline rush from being late will make us go faster" was the sage advice from the master.
A quick transfer of my bike and kit into the Ned-mobile saw us on the road in double-quick time - straight into yet more traffic. Aaaagh! Were we doomed, never to get to Brotherton in time for our 3:20 start time?
Well, yes we did get there in time for a quick warm up and final fettling of bikes. I'm beginning to think Old Ned has an obsession with fiddling with his handlebars (see the Pendle Witches write up) either before or during events. Soon we were called to the line and as Ned was number 79 to my 80 he had the dubious pleasure of starting in front - straight into the head wind.
With the huge volume of practice we hadn't done, changeovers were as and when one of us felt like we'd had enough on the front or could take it on. It's amazing how you can sit on someone's back wheel thinking they're pootling along and then move out to take front position and find the wind blows you backwards! The Brotherton course is basically uphill to the turn and then downhill all the way back (apart from a couple of small dips). Coupled with the tail wind it meant we were flying over the last couple of miles. I was on the front with Old Ned tucked in close behind practically pushing me along with every exhalation. As we got close to the finish there was a shout of "big finish" from behind and I caught sight of a front wheel sneaking up on my outside. That close to the finish it's a case of every man for himself so we practically sprinted it out to try and get a precious few seconds off our time.
In the end we stopped the clock at 28:25 making us the slowest team, exactly one minute slower than the next slowest team. I didn't see them but I bet they were on modern bikes.... It would have been nice to have scalped at least one non-retro team but it was not to be.
2/3/4-ups are always good fun and I reckon with a bit more practice we could nail a good time and beat some Modernistas.
Here's to next time,
PS: If I'm really unlucky there will be some 'photos of us in action. I expect I looked really fetching in the pink jersey Old Ned lent me for the race. He said something about having to wear matching ones but I'm not sure about that....