Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TrailBadger.com Annual Scotland Trip, 16-18 October

Sixteen hardy souls braved baking sunshine and balmy temperatures to endure the meteorological hell that was Glentress and Innerleithen.

Faces set like stone to the driving blizzard and gale force winds, the brave 16 remained steadfast atop the mighty peak at Innerleithen, boldly singing rousing hymns, contemplating their sure destruction, and welcoming their glorious transition to eternity.

Jonny wondered as to the precise spot of his icy grave, completely lost and disorientated in the total white-out conditions.

John Ritchie was the beneficiary of this year's trip to Borders General Hospital. (I'm happy to report that the liposuction was a complete success).

Monday, October 05, 2009

Roe Valley Rampage, 3rd October

Tango and Cash were delighted to finish 2nd on Saturday in the Roe Valley Rampage 1-day race, following an awful start. The last time we wore the jackets to race, in Castlewellan, we were fifth, so we were well pleased with our progress from then.

Well done (as usual!) to Passing Wind, who romped to victory, and commiserations to the two Peters, who finished ahead of us but were 'adjusted' back a bit! A great battle as well in the latter stages with No Frontiers Abu. The usual craic!!

Thanks to Ivan and team CCAR for another day of brilliant fun.

RACE REPORT - Not to be read if you are on prescription drugs.

The hooter sounded and we set out from Bob’s Bistro behind Ivan in his car at a helluva pace. After 1 km this had reduced to a decent enough pace, and in another 500 yards had become a dreadful pace, as lots of teams streamed past us over the duration of the big climb up the side of Binevenagh.

We were far enough down the pack to see the line of folks we needed to follow heading into the forest for the hike-a-bike bit. Unfortunately for the Peters (Cole and Cromie), they were at the front and missed the turn, heading on up the road, a mistake that was to cost them dearly at the finish through a 20-minute penalty.

Safely through the forest onto the road again, it was a slow climb up to the car park, where Joan was marshalling the tennis ball task, and we arrived as about the tenth team. Davy was dying of the heat in his blazer, which was much heavier twill than my own; this was affecting his pace badly, and we were both hacked off as a result, given all the prep we had done for the race...

On the first foot orienteering loop we seemed to make a good route choice, as we arrived back to Joan now up in fifth place, and we set off on the bikes again along the mountain ridge. The slick tyres we had were a real disaster here, and we nearly came a cropper more than once, so when we got to the mucky stuff on the other side, we just hopped off the bikes and ran down the slope along the downhill biking course, just ahead of Mark and Enda of the Spartans.

The marshal at the underground pipe was none too sure that Davy and I were going to be able to fit through, but squeeze through we did and we were off to Steve at the rope-slide. Coming back from this we found a GPS unit lying on the track, which we bagged until the finish (turned out this belonged to Marty from No Frontiers Abu).

A fast descent through the forest followed, and we were careful to watch out for the checkpoint at the little quarry halfway down. Just after getting this, we flew on past poor Deliverance Brothers, who were climbing back up the hill to get the checkpoint. Hehe. We spotted No Frontiers Abu as well, up ahead, and we assumed that they too had missed it initially, and that them going back for it had alerted Deliverance Brothers.

We dropped our bikes off at the bike-drop and headed into the woods following the tape to the marshal, to mark up our map. It was at this point we realised our pen didn’t work, and we had Spartans and Deliverance Brothers breathing down our necks, but they just had to wait until we borrowed a pen!

Davy was in his element on this bit with the navigating, as we totally nailed the section in great time, managing to escape Spartans and Deliverance Brothers, who were to scrabble around in the woods and lose a bit of time here. Peter Cole’s good grace has to go on record, as he is constantly keen to help other racers even in the heat of battle, and he gave us a wee clever heads-up at this point.

We reached the blindfold task at the same time as the Peters and No Frontiers Abu. This task was completed by all three teams with the grace and poise of a herd of elephants.
The Peters made good time through to the road and stole a bit of a lead by a couple of minutes, and on reaching the road we were just behind No Frontiers Abu. Marty dropped his chain here which held them up a wee bit, but they still hit the water first, as were were flaffing about so much at the kayak transition.

We put in just behind No Frontiers Abu and started battering into the wind, and we had a big surprise in the kayaks. Never in any race before had we ever over-taken another team in the boats, but somehow we managed to make a bit of progress on the lads, probably to do with the crappy conditions, and we sneaked up into third place.

At one point, the crafty devils looked like they were going to try a little portage up the shore, but it ended up being too awkward, so they put back in again. Passing Wind stormed past us on their way back to the bikes, about 20 minutes or so ahead, having been way out in front from pretty much the start of the race.

The windy rough conditions seemed to suit us OK, as we ate well into the lead that the Peters had by the time we got to the flag, so we worked hard on the way back to try and hold our position, but knowing we would not catch the Peters.

Back to shore and onto the bikes again, all that remained was to blast out the final few miles back to Bob’s Bistro. We arrived back as the third team, but the Peters had their 20 minute time penalty, so we just managed to nick second place, second to the unputdownable Passing Wind, who were deserving winners.

Those of us who were lucky enough to be 1-day racers ate our soup, sandwiches and buns with great relief at having finished for the weekend, sparing just a thought for those poor sods who were going out again that night and the following morning to race again!

Many thanks to Ivan, Joan, Steve and the rest of the CCAR team, who put on the usual fantastic race and after-race support!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Threads Pressed and Ready for Racing

Tango & Cash are looking forward to stretchin the oul limbs against the usual crew on Saturday 3rd October in the Roe Valley Rampage, hoping to improve on our position in last year's race, when Passing Wind wiped the floor with the field. Read Passing Wind Strikes Back.

We are hoping that Davy's strict diet of anything not nailed to the floor will make the difference this time. Gobble gobble!