Sunday, 29 March 2009

Icknield RC 30k 2-up, 29/3/09 - In which Team Grumpy get very...grumpy

As alluded to in yesterday's blog, Team Grumpy did indeed convene in a local restaurant to prepare for the 2-up in time-honoured fashion - Thai curry and copious Singha beer. Thus fortified, Team Grumpy retired for the night, making sure we set the clocks for the shift to British Summer Time.

The next morning, both team members found that their "preparation" might not have had the best effect for athletic performance. Team Grumpy finished loading the car and set off with complaining digestive systems for the race HQ in Cheddington, using a route that was intended to help "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay scout out part of the route, as this was his first ride on the course. Team Grumpy's team manager wisely chose to remain in bed.

On arrival at the race HQ Team Grumpy, still feeling intestinally challenged, were somewhat unhappy that the hall was not open (and the "facilities" therefore inaccessible) - particularly as it was cold enough for frost outside making hanging around rather unwelcome. Once the organiser arrived, relief was at hand, and we could make our choices for clothing (kneewarmers and big gloves were essential on such a cold morning).

"Grumpy" Art chose to ride his Xentis wheels rather than the Team Grumpy standard H3s - the reader will need to judge whether that turned out to be a wise choice. The start of the course is some distance from the HQ and riders need to traverse two narow bridges with traffic lights - just after crossing the second, Grumpy Bob heard a garbled shout and saw his team mate do a U-turn and head back in the direction of the HQ. This brought memories of the fabled Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up when descending the Neath Bank, "Grumpy" Art's cassette came apart forcing his early retirement (and christening Team Grumpy Rule number 2). Being very team-spirited he also did a u-turn, but rapidly found that "Grumpy" Art was nowhere to be seen. Conscious of the time passing, he returned to the start with two minutes in hand. Sadly, "Grumpy" Art was still not there at the appointed start time, so Grumpy Bob set off on a solo ride.

It's a reasonably challenging course, with three significant climbs, Ivinghoe Beacon, Billington hill and Mentmore hill. Somewhat distracted by the mysterious disappearance of his team mate, Grumpy Bob persisted round the course, to finish with 49:34. But what of the missing team mate?

While all this was going on "Grumpy Art" had realised his rear tyre was deflating, and hurried back to the HQ. Here (and at this point facts get rather garbled), he tried changing to his rear H3, suffered an impact puncture en route to the start, tried repairing that only to find the tyre was irreparably damaged and had to settle for replacing the inner tube of the Xentis.

As those of you who know "Grumpy" Art will have expected, all these misfortunes brought about a tantrum which might have done justice to someone 47 years his junior, but with that out of his system he rode back to the start to ride a solo race in the place of #39. So, starting about 30 minutes behind his team mate, off he went, to record a pretty decent time of 49:16, unfortunately sullied by a vast (and in detail somewhat inexplicable) late start penalty of something like 33.5 minutes.

So, not a very auspicious attempt at 2-up practice, but at least both members of Team Grumpy did get rides in on the day. Unfortunately, neither counted a for a hill of beans as Grumpy Bob had no second rider to count in the 2-up, and "Grumpy" Art had the humungous late start penalty (and anyway he wasn't entered in the solo event).

This might just be the last available opportunity for Team Grumpy to hone its 2-up skills before the "main event", the Duo Normand in September. Let's hope that goes according to plan again this year.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Second 2009 Team Grumpy outing : Icknield RC 30k 2-up

Tomorrow, Team Grumpy ride their second 2-up of the 2009 season, the Icknield RC 30k sporting event.

There are only five teams entered for the 2-up event ( there are 56 entered in the solo event) - you can see the full start sheet over at the CTT website. This is the first time Team grumpy have ridden the event as a 2-up - our prior outings on this course were in the solo events.

The present course differs from the version Team Grumpy first rode several years ago, but this isn't too bad as on that occasion they both fell off in Slapton. In Grumpy Bob's case, this resulted in a startling number of grazes and scars and a broken off tooth, "Grumpy" Art fared only marginally less badly. Interestingly, after wiping the blood out of his eyes so that he could see, and restoring his handlebars to a "forward pointing orientation", he ambled back to the race HQ to find he wasn't even the last finisher, and what's more his club nearly got a team prize!

Team Grumpy are riding this event instead of our usual outing at the Team MK event in April dues to "Grumpy" Art's work commitments (GrumpyBob will ride that event as a solo rider). Eve of race preparation will include a Thai curry and a not-inconsiderable quantity of Singha beer. Whether this will prove to be ideal, or just an excuse will be revealed tomorrow...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A radical proposition for Team Grumpy

Team Grumpy are in planning mode for this year's Duo Normand, which will be held on 20th September in Marigny. Accommodation arrangements are well in hand, thanks to "Grumpy" Art and Mrs Vanderlay's combing of the internet.

Our past performances have been:
2003: 9th place 01:24:01
2004: 5th place 01:22:18
2005: 4th place 01:23:15
2006: 2nd place 01:23:11
2007: did not enter
2008: 2nd place 01:22:28
From 2003 to 2006, we raced in the Veterans category. Last year, "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay made the radical proposition that Team Grumpy should enter the Corporate category. Initially unwilling, Grumpy Bob eventually went along with the idea. In the event, we still didn't get on the podium, as we got well-drubbed by the winning team (who seemed about half our age). We also rode a sizeable section of the race apparently leading a 4-up team after a team we caught sat on our wheel for several kilometers. If you're interested, a report on Team Grumpy's 2008 race is here (includes photo gallery).

With all that in mind, perhaps it's time for an even more radical approach to the Duo in 2009 - we should enter in the tandem category!

How about it, Art? We could have a trial ride after next weekend's Icknield RC 30k two-up...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

NBRC club 2-up '10'

Not quite a Team Grumpy outing, but Grumpy Bob paired up with Lindz Barrall of iTeam CC in the North Bucks Road Club 2-up team time trial, held on 14th March. Full results are at the NBRC site and at Flies&Bikes (reports from two slightly different perspectives).
GrumpyBob admitted to some nerves (mostly because he was worried about doing something wrong!) at being paired with a rider he's not previously raced with, but it all went quite well. Lindz did shoot off from the start at astonishing velocity, which left Grumpy Bob gasping as he came through for his first spell at the front, but aside from the formation falling apart slightly on the inclines they rode pretty well. Certainly better than the "Laurel and Hardy Ride a Two-up" performance that Team Grumpy managed in their first 2-up event some years ago!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

D Day plus 10

Annoyingly, full results for the PTW 2-up can't be found on the web (at least by me), so our general placings remain unknown. Perhaps "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay can lay his mitts on a copy through his local contacts.
In the meantime training proceeds, though intermittently. I did a 10 mile solo club event at the weekend, with a not particularly good outcome (NBRC Club '10' Astwood 7/3/09). Ho hum, back on th turbo this evening, I guess.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Well, Team Grumpy might not have set the cycling world alight on Sunday but it was an efficient and well-drilled team effort that secured first place in the composite team category of the Port Talbot 2-up 25 mile TTT. Official results are still pending, so we don't really know how we did relative to the rest of the field. But results that have been made known to us suggest that it was a good performance. The race was run off in good conditions (for the time of year). It was quite sunny and although very cold before the event it did warm up as we set out. There was a breeze that made the return legs of both sectiions of the course a little harder than the outward legs. But there'll be no complaints from Team Grumpy about the weather. This is more than can be said for the various obstacles put in our way on the course, which included two pairs of cyclists weaving all over the road and an idiot brandishing a six foot spirit level who sauntered out in front of us at the bottom of the fastest descent on the course. Accidentally? I think not. Before the evnt the team had its team launch for the 2009 season. On display were the various team members - well, both of us - and the gear we will be using this season. Sticking with radition, Team Grumpy will use Campagnolo and Shimano groupsets with TA parts. Vision, FSA, Hed, ITM, 3TTT, Cinelli, Profile, Deda and Oval bars and stems and well, anything we can get our hands on really. No doubt I will change saddle suppliers no fewer than four times this season until I eventually end up with the saddle that I started out on. Grumpy Bob is less fickle to be fair and admits to poor performances whereas I tend to blame my saddle when I don't go well. There were no dancing girls or jousting matches, or gladiator shows at the team launch. But this doesn't mean that Team Grumpy did not match the professional teams. Far from it, we have it on good authority that there was a stripper performing in a pub not too far away and there was indeed a fight shortly afterwards. Also the slick team launch was matched by its surroundings: the car park of the working man's club. Photos are available on Media enquires should be directed to head of public relations via that link.