Thursday, October 16, 2008 Weekend in Scotland 2008 teamed up with a few ne’er-do-wells from NTSR, and jumps-specialist Sammy Brownlee, in a Tango & Cash organised trip to Glentress, 10 – 12 October 2008.

A weekend of fantastic weather and great biking, all was going well until Ian decided on Saturday afternoon that he wasn’t getting enough attention; so he chucked himself over a jump, over the bars, and directly onto his head – reconstruction later showed it as an 8 foot vertical drop.

Smashed helmet, bashed-up head, general cuts and bruises, and it was clear that we were heading for A&E to get him checked out properly, such were the strange noises and gibberish emanating from the normally lucid Ian.

So began the most tedious 30-mile journey we had ever embarked upon, as Ian repeated the same rubbish over... and over... and over... and over again.

Clearly still totally out of it when we arrived at Borders General Hospital, after another hour or so it seemed that Ian had started to talk sense again until, under questioning from the doctor about the date, he thought it was approaching October 2003!
Sammy shows us what it's all about, just before his minor altercation with a rather large and obstinate tree!
The Great Gatsby

Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Passing Wind" Strikes Back! Binevenagh 1-Day Race Report

We should have known we were all in for a battering from Billy and Gerry of Passing Wind at Binevenagh on 4th October, when they presented themselves at the start of the race in their new Stormtrooper helmets. It was indeed to be their day, in brutal weather conditions of heavy wind and rain. And Tango and Cash? Well, The Force just wasn't with us today.

Click here for a highly entertaining report on Average Joes blog (there's a first time for everything!)

Race highlight: FoyleHov Powerturn Buggies - check this place out!!

Billy and Gerry of Passing Wind were dressed to impress, and impress they did.

WARNING: Race Report - Do not read whilst driving or operating heavy machinery.
Off the bus at Mussenden Temple, the hooter sounded and, in the excitement, the first orienteering loop was completed flat out – we were all knackered by the time we started down the hill towards the beach.

Passing Wind established an early lead up the beach to the cave, but whilst the rest of us picked up the code just inside the cave entrance, Gerry seemed intent on heading on in for some additional pot-holing in his new multi-sports helmet, and they lost a bit of time.

Picking up the first bike, the teams were already well spread out, and Passing Wind had regained the advantage, with the Deliverance Brothers and Uphill Struggle also a bit ahead of us. We arrived at the ice-cream stand just as Deliverance were leaving, and I could swear I heard Sean asking for seconds.

Clearly very well brought up young men, Jonny and Mark of Uphill Struggle politely licked their ice-creams, quite the gentlemen. Not so us, particularly Davy, whose favourite musical instrument has always been the dinner bell! In two crunches and a burp, we were up and away, just ahead of the lads. (Ian of the Spartans played the gluten-free diet card here, and poor Enda had two pokes to eat himself).

We marked up our maps a bit too slowly at the caravan park, but were out the door as the fourth team onto the bikes. Once it got steep, we were soon passed by Peter Cole and his new secret weapon. They were pedalling like demons and chatting calmly to each other as they went – most depressing, and we were for once glad to be back on foot, arriving at the bike-drop just behind them and alongside Uphill Struggle.

We made decent enough work of the foot climb up to the lake, and arrived a step behind Peter Cole and his pet ostrich, but just managed to nip out of the van and into the boat ahead of them (OK, we stole the boat – it was a rather rude manoeuvre! Sorry, lads!). The lads must have put a voodoo spell on us at this point, as we made a dreadful pig’s ear of our route back down off the hill. We arrived back at the bikes in sixth place, having been second as we had hopped in front of the fellas onto the boat.

On the way down back down the track on foot, we met up with pocket dynamo Paul Mahon, whose advice to us on down-hill running technique was taken with a pinch of salt when he ended up crashing face-first into the sticks and muck, heheheeeee.

Back on the bikes, and raging that our stupid mistake had us now well off the pace, we tore through the forest, spitting various members of Average Joes out the back. We arrived at the boats just ahead of Uphill Struggle, but faffed about trying desperately get our life-jackets to close, and the lads hit the water first.

Paddling down the river, we met Passing Wind coming back, over ten minutes ahead of us. Talk turned briefly to sinking them in an act of unprecedented gamesmanship but, not wanting to tarnish the reputation of good sportsmanship associated with CCAR races, we made do with a quick splash at them before setting our sights for the checkpoint. Uphill Struggle pulled away from us a bit in the boats on the way back, and it was a relief to be off the river.

We soon caught Uphill Struggle on the bikes, and we were sure they were plum out of gas as we passed them on the road, but they stayed about fifty yards behind us all the way to the gliding club for the paper planes task. We arrived there just as Deliverance and Peter & Emu were leaving together, so we reckoned there was still merit in pushing hard, as it was getting tight.

I was seriously running out of puff here, and Davy had to practically drag me from the gliding club to the buggies at FoyleHov. We saw that Passing Wind must have lost a bit of time to here, as we arrived just as they were heading out the gate, and Peter & The Wolf were hot on their heels.

We flew round the FoyleHov buggies course, having decided that Davy would take both controls and that I would use my mind to control his left hand by ESP. This proved to be a very successful technique. Lap completed, and now totally covered in cow-shit and back on the bikes, we could see Deliverance on the road ahead, and we worked hard to try and eat into their lead, Davy again pushing the pace.

We were DELIGHTED to time out at Sampson’s Tower for the archery, and the folks with the arrows were a font of great advice. Alas, it was like throwing pearls to swine, and we each just winged the deer from the closest point and got on our way, rueing the missed opportunity for extra points.

Having easily found the yellow ribbon round the old oak tree (not lost on any country music fans) at the rough fort, the nettle stings we sustained proved great relief to our nagging rheumatism.

Into the town and along the track to the river, we somehow had it in our heads that the checkpoint was at the other side. We were both half-way across and close to being swept to our deaths when three disapproving fishermen drew our attention to the punch that was lying beside our bikes! Relieved we didn’t have to go any further, we punched the card and headed for home, Davy pedalling strongly, and me trying in vain to hang close.

We arrived back as the fourth team, just ahead of Uphill Struggle and about eleven or twelve minutes off the leaders after five hours of racing. Time adjustments will confirm timings and places, but the rumour round town is that Passing Wind just nicked it. Well done to Passing Wind – Lord Vader will be most pleased.

(Apologies for references above to Peter Cole's team-mate, whose name I don't know - the big lad was flying!)

Another superb CCAR race, finishing with the usual sumptuous spread of eats supplied afterwards by Joan - our thanks to the whole CCAR team of organisers, marshals and supporters for a fantastic day of fun in difficult conditions for racers and organisers alike.

Some photos from the race:

Ivan handled the race briefing with his usual composure and clarity

Davy proved once again to be surprisingly agile for a big fella, sinking his ice-cream with all the grace and poise of vintage Nureyev

The Spartans were starting to suffer badly after the pull along the beach, and were relieved to top their ice-creams with WD-40

Uphill Struggle took a moment on Binevenagh to double-check their co-ordinates and flirt outrageously with each other

Paul Mahon was surprised to meet us coming off the side of Binevenagh

CCAR’s Steve looked cold but steadfast as he manned the kayak section

Deliverance Brothers were now going so well, they had plenty of time to cruise for chicks

The archery marshals had to re-emphasise that there were no points available for felling the livestock in the field

Rick tried walloping the deer over the head with the bow, and was gutted to be denied a kill despite its head falling off

Peter Cole was flying as usual, but the sight of him at the end assured us that he had had to work hard to keep up with his partner

The Dark Lord himself congratulated his henchmen, Billy and Gerry of Passing Wind, on a job well done.