Monday, August 27, 2007

Tango And Cash Climax Series With Win in Belvoir Forest, but Can't Think of a Pun for the Title

Tango & Cash Tango & Cash

Our compass magnetic and our heads clear, Tango and Cash claimed victory in the final race of the CCAR series, around Belvoir Forest Park in Belfast, on 25 August.
Tango & Cash Tango & Cash Tango & Cash

Steady - danger of boredom ahead

HamsterIt was a day for gears on the bikes, but turbo-training alongside the world’s fastest hamsters in recent months stood us in good stead to drive our singlespeeds hard to no real disadvantage.

We chose to run, kayak, bike, to get the misery of running over early, and feared a procession initially if starting on the bikes up the tow-path.

The Custard Chuckers were hard to keep in sight as we took off over Shaw’s Bridge, with some particularly impressive flexibility from Rory Finlay as he limboed under the railings.

After nobody could find the elusive floodlight checkpoint, we took a left where most took a right and headed for the leafy countryside, just shy of the impressively lycra-clad NTSR. An early attempted short-cut over a field by NTSR saw them sprawling and cursing through the thick undergrowth, and we managed to make up a couple of minutes as we stuck to the tracks, just getting to the tyre-tube river-crossing ahead of them.

A quick over and back, and we were on the trails alone, although we could hear the still-cursing NTSR fighting their way through more brambles on the other side of the river.

BeaverHeading for the ski task at checkpoint 6, we had what we thought was our first sighting of beavers in Belvoir (steady!) - then realised it was the Custard Chuckers crawling from the river from checkpoint 7.

Taking a leaf out of their soggy book, we plunged in and crossed the river none too gracefully, and my glasses remain at the bottom of the Lagan.

DogMopping up the final few run checkpoints, the most notable thing on the journey was how fond of Davy all the dogs were – they were running from hundreds of yards away just for a good hump.

The BMX track brought back a few memories of days on the old Raleigh Super Tuff Burner with Skyway Tuff 2 Mag-wheels, but it was all over too quickly, with no time for the Superman Seat-Grab.

Winnie the PoohThe running nearly complete, we reached the tyre-tube rapids-ride down at the river, hopped aboard, and took the challenge easily like a couple of big Pooh-sticks.

A quick gallop to the canoes saw us take to the water just behind Passing Wind and His & Hers, with a rampaging NTSR hot on our heels.

The rapids at the top required us to jump ship and man-handle the boat upstream, then it was a hot dash back to the bike pickup.

KingfisherOf ornithology interest, a number of teams mentioned sightings of Kingfishers on the river.

Remembering to collect our egg before departing on the bikes, experience had taught us where best to store it for safe transit to checkpoint 40; by the time I had carefully collected it from Greg, Davy had already bent over and bitten down hard on the strap of his Camelbak!

The dash along the tow-path would have been helped by one of Ivan’s 40 bells (as “Bikers coming” nearly got us a slap a few times). Given how many genuine punctures we had sustained in recent months, we were lightning at the puncture-change simulation task, making a good couple of minutes here on others at the task.

Arriving at Lady Dixon Park on the bikes, Davy took a couple of minutes just to lay his egg, then we were off on foot up through the play-park and impeccably-kept gardens.

SpacehopperA better description of the Spacehoppers Task was the Kneepoppers Task, both of us finding this the least enjoyable task of the day.

We both sustained ACL injuries, but after hoovering up some hapless kid’s wine-gums from the chipped bark on the ground (to the disgust of parents), we were off again for the dizzying hill-roll and subsequent travel-sickness of the go-karting.

PlastererThe local dogs continued to be very fond of a now dizzy (and therefore more vulnerable) Davy, and by the time we were back at the bikes again, his legs looked like a plasterer's radio.

GolfThe only open hostility of the day was from the gentlemen at the 14th tee of the golf course, who were less than impressed at the snapping of twigs and grunting racers, as they made their backswings – somehow we all found a way to get along without coming to blows, but we kept our distance.

Not knowing how long it would take to get back, we spun like crazy to get back to the centre, both of us cursing the evil cramp now taking our calves along the tow-path.

Back at the centre with the guts of 5 minutes to spare, we took to the step aerobics like ducks to water, expending the last of our energy.

And… relax.

The race finished, it was buns, burgers and a welcome shower, then relaxing over the series photos put on by Shane.

Well done again to Ivan, Steve and full CCAR team again, who put on a fantastic race despite a number of race-threatening last-minute challenges. What a crew! A massive thanks goes to those guys for all their hard work in this series, and we look forward to next year!

Friday, August 24, 2007

CCAR 6-Race Series Close Approaches

Tango & CashBefore the 2006/7 CCAR race series comes to a close, we catch just a glimpse of the joy that Ivan Park and Steve Curry of CCAR have brought to the lives of a bunch of thirty-somethings through their organisation efforts.

Tango and Cash share what must have been an extremely amusing joke just before the County Armagh race on Slieve Gullion.

Last race tomorrow morning. Location, Belfast, County Antrim.