Just two weeks to go before Team Grumpy's first outing for the 2012 season. Grumpy Bob and the Team Manager will be visiting South Wales to regroup with 'Grumpy' Art Vanderlay and ride the now traditional season opener, the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25'.
This year's event seems to be a week later than usual, though whether that will bring balmier conditions remains to be seen. In previous events, the riders have contended with snow, hail, rain and cold. But not all together. The course is about 50% dual carriageway, with the rest being undulating single carriageway: hopefully the road surface will have been attended to since the 2011 event, when there were potholes galore. And roadwork traffic lights.
Team Grumpy have got a decent track record in this event, but recent years have seen a dip in form due to defects in training due to pressure of work and/or illness. It remains to be seen how well Team Grumpy has survived the winter training regime... It is worth noting that riding the PTW event with a cold was the source of Team Grumpy rule #5: "Never train or race with a bad cough - it will destroy your entire season".
Grumpy Bob is pretty optimistic about the likely TG form. However, he is aware that there are two weeks to go in which some mishap might arise. Probably the toughest aspect will be restraining 'Grumpy' Art's tendency to conduct pre-event equipment modification. In the past, we have seen his cassette come to pieces (at the bottom of Neath Bank in the days when the PTW 2-up used the 'cheaty course'), or indexing failure (just about every 2-up), or alarming bottom bracket clanking (e.g. the 2011 Duo), loosening chainset (e.g. the 2010 Duo).