Nowadays, on any given Sunday in the Autumn there will be a VeloCaker at an autumnal cross race.
This Sunday was no exception and as cross is the new fixed we were all there and we brought our racefaces.
One of our regulars at the Penzance Cycle Centre is a wisened old sage called Pat. Y'know how most bike shops have an old fella that comes in and moans that everything is much easier than in the old days when there was real racing. Altrincham has Phil, Penzance has Pat. Pat is probaly in his 60s or 70s, him and the Pat Adams go way back, but best of all he pit-bitched for the Great Britain cyclocross team in the seventies.
Because of this, he is an encylopedia of bicycles and cross racing. You can imagine as we all circle around him, hanging on his every word as he tells stories. Tales of inventing ways of screwing cricket shoe studs into bike shoes - because it's what the Belgiums did, whilst the plucky brits floundered up steep banks like a penguin on an iceberg. Many of his tales concern the Belgiums, such as stories of Pot Belges and cocaine-amphetamiene fuelled racing. One of the most notable is of when Roger De Vlaeminck came to race in the UK at crystal or Ally palace (it's all in Laah-don init). The organisers kept moving the tape on a bank from running across it to straight up it.
Roger (off his mash on speed (probably)) just kept riding up while smiling, waving, kissing babies and riding with one foot off the pedal.
So when Pat was in the shop last week offering racing advice, VeloCake listened.
Unfortunatley, Pat's only advice was to have about 6 or 7 pints the night before. Heavy ale or stout is particularly good, full of carbs, it's like a meal in a glass. Even better, have a couple right before the race.
Now normally at a mountain bike race, this would be the case and it's always worked. However for a fast hour long thrash around a school playing field it's not the best preparation so I kept it to a couple of pints on Saturday night.
To Sunday morning, after a 3 hour drive to north Devon, team VeloCake arrived at the poshest of posh prep schools ready to race. I'm actually quite surprised they let a northern comprehensive educated, slightly lefty, euro loving, grauniad reading, non british beef eating, non-rugger playing, cricket disliking, non tory voting person like myself onto the grounds but still...
So the race started, the fast lot all got invited to front of the start, the rest of us lurked at the back like a school footie game.
And so the start, the fast lot went off, everyone else trailed behind. I had a plan, start at the back and maintain that until everyone else is knackered.
Amazingly it worked, I was comfortably holding my own in the lower ranks, until half way, when I started picking them off like flies and stormed laps 5,6 and 7. Lap 8 was consolodating and I held off a charge from one of the SouthFork racing team who was on my ass like a don't know what. Despite suffering from injury, VeloCake's John was flying round until the pain was too great, but held held on to not finish last. Chapeau!!
Chapeau also to Simon, who was in a proper race against the likes of Nick Craig and Paul Oldham and got his photo taken.
If anyone gives a monkeys the results and some pictures of other people are here:
p.s. dear reader, if I was a women, i'd have won (a pair of Dugast tubs too)