Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Pokes and a Tandem - Castle Ward Race 24 March 2012

With a favourable forecast for the closing race of the CCAR Series 2011/12 at Castle Ward, we reckoned we’d see if we could go one better than our fluked second place in the same race last year. No chance – we floundered badly through a general lack of fitness, a couple of tactical errors and a bit of bad luck; and we’ve learned before that all three need to be on form to place well.

Waiting for the next ferry with a punctured tandem.  Davy insisted on downing his ice-cream before the photo.
We decided to have a go on a tandem on this race after checking that we were eligible to race with it, and were delighted to get the nod from organiser Ivan. We’d never been on one together before, so it was a nice change but took a right bit of getting used to.

We also took a chance on a new Tango and Cash event HQ, our ‘new’ Elddis caravan. Highlight of the day was when one lad turned up at the door of it with all his mandatory kit, wanting to register for the race!

The race started on the FAR side of Strangford Lough in Portaferry, so after the race briefing at Castle Ward, we all made our way along the forest track on the bikes in convoy and then into Strangford village to catch the ferry to the start line... at least everyone else did.

We got 3 pinch-punctures in the pot-holes on the way down and missed the ferry. It was only when gobbling ice cream waiting for the next ferry that we realised there was well over 30 stone weight to the thing, so we shouldn’t have been surprised.

We finally got on our way and started the race, cleared all the bike points on the far side, did half the running ones, and hopped on the ferry to come back to Strangford, along with most other teams. We biked again, and our timings were going to be OK until we reached a daft special task that had us scrabbling around on a hillside for over 20 minutes getting cut to shreds by brambles for a mere 20 points. This meant we only had time to get back to base, pick up two of the run checkpoints, the first kayak one, and get straight back to the finish. The hill was brutal and the legs were gone, so we arrived back over five minutes late and lost a whole pile of points for that.

Great to be back out on a race, and a real shame that the competitors didn’t get to use the mountain biking trails within the estate. Well done to CCAR on another great event and series, and thanks to Joan and team for the fantastic catering.

May the technical issues experienced on Ivan's computer at the end mean that the results never come out!

The new Tango and Cash rolling HQ - bling!