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Friday, 23 June 2017

Duo Normand 2017

It's June, and Team Grumpy has entered the 2017 Duo Normand despite an almost total lack of form. This is due (in the case of Grumpy Art) to a prolonged period of illness just as the 2017 season was getting under way and (in the case of Grumpy Bob), a mysterious drop in form. Oh well, Team Grumpy doesn't let minor issues such as lack of fitness get in the way of a fun extended weekend in Normandy!

Travel arrangements are sorted, as are the accommodation requirements.

 After last year's tragedy involving a collision between a veteran team and a supporting car near the finishing line, Team Grumpy had wondered what changes would be implemented in the 2017 event.
To be honest, Team Grumpy has long felt that the following cars were more of a nuisance than a benefit and with one exception has eschewed the use of a following car. It's in the final hairpin section from Marigny and back, that cars are a particular issue.

From the Duo Normand website, it seems as though following cars won't be permitted in the final 12km of the course, and that there will be some neutral vehicle arrangement to aid stranded riders in that section. It also seems there's a clash in the UCI calendar that may reduce entries in the Elite category.

Team Grumpy first participated in the 2003 Duo Normand, and in all subsequent editions bar one. This is Team Grumpy's 14th Duo Normand outing.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

First Open event of 2017 entered

The Team has entered its traditional season opener, the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25' in south Wales on 12th March, on the Resolven-based course R25/24. As usual, this will form part of a weekend with the equally traditional preparation which involves conspicuous consumption of curry and Belgian energy drink. On the equipment front, Grumpy Bob's SRAM eTap system on his primary TT bike is once again functional, after a two month wait for a replacement part. So no equipment excuses there. And both Grumpy Bob and Grumpy Art have been engaging in some serious turbo training. So, perhaps unwisely, Grumpy Bob is exhibiting signs of optimism.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Year Ahead

It's that time of year when Team Grumpy starts shaking off the cobwebs and thinking about the upcoming racing season. Grumpy Bob's already made his first outing, the North Bucks Road Club New Year's Day '10'. Not brilliantly satisfactory, but at least the rain held off until the ride home. The Team is just about now planning its first event of 2017, which should be the now traditional outing at the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25. This year, the event is on 12th March. So that's the first target for Team Grumpy. We have also been thinking about returning to the Duo Normand in 2017. Just to whet the Team's appetite, Grumpy Bob plotted the Team's times since 2003...
The dotted trend line is a little morale-sapping. Indeed, when GrumpyBob emailed the graph to Grumpy Art Vanderlay, he gained the following reply:
Will you stop doing this sort of thing.
Ho hum, business as usual!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Duo Normand 2016

Here is a somewhat belated post, outlining Team Grumpy's excursion to the 2016 edition of the Duo Normand.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Duo Normand 2015

Well, the new Duo Normand website came online the other week, late enough to cause some minor worry for Team Grumpy, who had already booked ferry crossings and accommodation a few months ago.
The new website certainly looks considerably more modern, and is easier to use for anglophones. It also features PayPal as a means of paying entry fees, and indicates how many entries have been submitted for each category. So that's good. On the other hand, we've not had email confirmation of our entry!
Anyhow, looks like all systems are go for another crack at the Duo Normand. Watch this space.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Port Talbot Wh 2-up '25' 15/3/15

The Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up ’25’ has been a regular fixture on the Team Grumpy calendar for a number of years. As usual, the two evenings prior to the event were characterised by conspicuous consumption of Leffe and curry. This was an acceptable preparation, since both members of Team Grumpy had seen their pre-season training somewhat derailed by illness. The team also avoided any serious bike tinkering on the day before the race. Indeed, the only issues needing dealt with were (a) "Grumpy" Art’s disc wheel needed to be replaced with his trispoke owing to braking issues, and (b) Grumpy Bob's left shoe wouldn’t clip onto his pedal. This turned out to be due to tiny fleck of mud in the shoeplate springs! Pretty quickly all was in order.
This year’s event (as in recent years) was held on the R25/25, which runs down the A465 dual carriageway from Resolven to its first turn at the Tonna roundabout, back up the A465 past the start to turn left down the B4242, turning at Ynysygerwen to finish some way past the Resolven junction. Usually the dual carriageway section is quickest, with the B4242 being quite slow, owing to its hilly nature.
The morning of the event was pretty cold and bitter, despite being far from frosty. But with long sleeved thermal vests under the skinsuits and decent gloves, Team Grumpy were pretty much set. New kit this year included new aero hats and the addition of Nopinz number pockets on the back of our skinsuits. The Nopinz pockets seem pretty good, though getting the number in place is a bit fiddly. No pin damage to expensive skinsuits, though!
After a brief warmup, Team Grumpy lined up and were off. Though not before an unfortunate wobble made Grumpy Bob worry about a start line collision. The outbound leg to the first turn was very quick, with a stiff tailwind. The Team had planned for Grumpy Bob to take some long pulls at the front to avoid "Grumpy" Art's breathing issues in the cold air – as it turned out, Grumpy Bob took longer turns at the front throughout the race, as "Grumpy" Art was still suffering the aftereffects of his recent cold.
All too soon, Team Grumpy reached the first turn, which was dealt in good style, and set off back up the dual carriageway into the headwind. For most of this leg, this just slowed them down, but for the last two miles or so, Grumpy Bob found his Hed Stinger a bit of a handful. No real difficulty or danger, though. Round the second turn and the intrepid team joined the hilly road southbound. This part of the course features some shocking road surfaces (on at least three occasions, Grumpy Bob heard his team mate grumping about some hole or other that he’d cycled through!), and some pretty stiff climbs. Team Grumpy made good progress to the third and final turn before heading back to finish in 1:03:16.
Team Grumpy wasn’t too disappointed with the time – it’s a tough course, and anyway, the team's 2-up technique was pretty well oiled throughout, with both riders making appropriate accommodation to the strengths of the other. In any event, Team Grumpy were 15th team out of a full field of 60 teams (only three teams didn’t start), and won third composite team.
Team Grumpy in action. Photo copyright Pete Hamer

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Are things falling into place for the 2014 Duo Normand?

It’s been a while since Team Grumpy blogged at this site. In fact, Team Grumpy riders haven’t raced together as a 2-up team at all this season, after a minor scheduling disaster ruled out the Port Talbot Wheelers 25 mile 2-up which usually kicks of the season for the team.

Our grumpy heroes haven’t been wasting their time however. While not really exhibiting what might be termed sparkling form, both riders have seen a gradual improvement to their solo time trialling efforts, judged both from their times and from their result sheet positions relative to other riders.

Team Grumpy (mostly due to the sterling efforts of ‘Grumpy’ Art Vanderlay) has already (a) entered the Duo Normand, (b) arranged accommodation, (c) arranged ferry crossings and (d) sorted out racing licences. 

So everything is in place. 


And of course Team Grumpy is now awaiting a performance destroying event to bring the whole tottering edifice down in rubble. Not that Team Grumpy is in any way pessimistic, though. Whatever happens at the race itself, the team is sure to have a fair amount of fun trying.