Sunday, 27 September 2009

Duo Normand 2009 - Could have been much worse!

Team Grumpy didn't have high hopes for this year's Duo Normand. To cap fairly (in the case of "Grumpy" Art) and totally (in the case of Grumpy Bob) lacklustre seasons, "Grumpy" Art contrived a 30mph prang in a '15' only a few weeks before the Duo. Team Grumpy also noticed the appearance of a swift pairing in the Corporatif category - Coomber and Jones of - due to start 6 minutes behind Team Grumpy.

Team Grumpy indulged in some back of the envelope calculations as to when exactly the catch would happen, and estimated it around 37km. As it happened, that was indeed the case. However, Team Grumpy were a bit relieved that they recorded a respectable time (1:25:02) for second place in the category. It's unfortunate however that this was marked by an enormous margin from the BikeRadar team, who took the category record with 1:15:22.

On a brighter note, "Grumpy" Art's adventures into cinematography resulted in a 90 minute epic silent masterpiece that is at present in post-production in the Team Grumpy production studios. If a version in a sufficiently small file size can be generated, Team Grumpy plan to upload it to their main website. It has been mooted that the 2010 Team Grumpy centenery year* ride in the Duo be marked by an Abel Gance-style triple split-screen epic featuring footage from both riders and the following this space.

Here's a picture of Team Grumpy on the start ramp, resplendent in the 2009 team "uniform".
Despite "Grumpy" Art's dire prognostications, neither TG member fell off the ramp. On the other hand, no edition of the Duo Normand would be expected in which a problem did not surface (e.g. last year "Grumpy" Art's right crank decided to work loose). This year "Grumpy" Art contrived to unship his chain in the final hairpin section. Grumpy Bob thinks there's a pattern there. There's another write-up of the 2009 Duo Normand at Flies&Bikes.

*2010 is the Team Grumpy centenery because Grumpy Bob and "Grumpy" Art will both be 50 in that season.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

It'll be a baggy skinsuit next...

"Grumpy" Art draws attention to the rather excellent photograph of him taken by Sarah Brooke at the recent British Time Trial Championship. However, Grumpy Bob notices the drop hanging from his nose in a particularly veteran-like way, and merely wonders when he will graduate to wearing that most perfect example of veteran garments, the baggy faded skinsuit...

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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The future of cinematography

Grumpy Bob had intended to blog about the latest threat to cinematography that will accompany Team Grumpy's 2009 outing at the Duo Normand. The events described by "Grumpy" Art in the preceding post may change all that.

Not content with insisting on a new team "uniform", "Grumpy" Art invested in a Duo-Cam (i.e. a handlebar mounted video camera), with which to record rivettingly exciting footage of a team time trial. Needless to say, this came as a bit of a shock to Grumpy Bob, who feels this may reveal him as not taking his share of the lead during the event (having had an appalling season, and lacking in fitness). Indeed, he was planning on likening it to the infamous Sleep, the Andy Warhol film which consisted solely of the main (and, he thinks, sole) protagonist sleeping for five hours.

Now, however, Grumpy Bob worries that the Duo-Cam footage might well be interesting following "Grumpy" Art's recent crash: either because Team Grumpy will negotiate the infamous Ghoul Corner in a particularly craven manner, or because we will stack it spectacularly at some point in the event.

Let's hope Team Grumpy at least makes it off the start ramp, unlike the poor chap at the Vuelta (Grumpy Bob's Nightmare)...