Monday, 7 September 2009

Team Grumpy at the British Time Trial Championship

On Sunday, Team Grumpy were at the 2009 British Time Trial Championship, albeit in different capacities. Grumpy Bob was marshalling in the morning, as the event was organised by his club (along with TeamMK) - this was for the Masters category, the largest category in the field. He was stationed at the Edgecott turn, which is possibly the most dangerous point on the course, being a sharp left hander, with often rather oddly behaved traffic. "Grumpy" Art was competing in the Masters category D.

Grumpy Bob was accompanied by the unofficial Team Grumpy manager, which was good, cos three and a half hours at the turn would have been a bit dull otherwise. In the event, the experience was enlivened by a spot of nature-spotting (several large kites circling), but mostly by the arrival of the National Veteran Cycle rally, which provided an astonishing contrast to the high tech carbon machines whooshing round the corner. Since the veteran cycles were being propelled by riders in period costume, this was a great sight, and it's a shame that Grumpy Bob didn't have his camera to hand. There were several ordinaries, with riders impressively high up!

While the veteran bikes were travelling in opposite direction to the BTTC, they were a worry, especially because they tended to be wobbling all across the road, and given the speed of the approaching racers, the marshalling team were quite anxious.

Eventually, the marshalling duties were over, and "Grumpy" Art arrived to pick up the by now hungry marshalling team - back home for lunch, then Team Grumpy returned to watch the Seniors event. This was a real eyeopener. Team Grumpy picked a spot where the riders crest a short climb, quite close to the lap finish. There had been much discussion in cycling circles on the question of who would come out best - Bradley Wiggins or Michael Hutchinson. Team Grumpy's view was that there would be no contest, particularly with Wiggins coming with the form of his life. To cut a long story short, Wiggins provided a master class, beating Hutch by more than two minutes, and revealing what an isolated culture British timetrialling is.

Here's Wiggins cresting the short climb, looking smooth and fast. In the end it seems there was some controversy, with Matt Bottrill being caught by Wiggins, but sitting on his wheel for the rest of the race - this led to Bottrill being disqualified.

For Team Grumpy, the unthinking behaviour of the spectators was a bit irritating - cars were littering the normally quiet lanes of the area, causing serious congestion during the Seniors event. It was noticeable that many of the cars cruising round the course were rider-associated, judging from the bike kit in them, and really one might have expected more sense.

Anyway, congratulations to Emma Pooley (Cervelo Test Team) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) on their wins, and it'll be good to see British TT champions skinsuits in action in continental racing in the coming 12 months.

And as for "Grumpy" Art's race, perhaps he'll report on that shortly.

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