Today was the Severn 25, my second event of the year and the first proper effort requiring a sustained workout at or around the lactic threshold for just about an hour. my intention was to have a bit of a dig, see where my form was and use it as preparation for next week’s first hardrider event. i was excited about the race – it’s great to be back in the thick of the village hall/arterial main road/men-in-lycra action and catch up with the fellowship of racing cyclists.
It was also exciting for one particular reason: the Severn were running a Tricycle event; a promising smorgasbord of beards and plus fours. There were scurrilous internet rumours going round that during a heated and rancourous Tricycle Association AGM the controversial motion proposed by the youngest national comittee member (a freckle faced whelp of a78 year old) to allow members to race in lycra rather than worsted or alpaca, was passed. but this may just be manichean politicking of the highest order. One thing’s for sure, there would be a plethora of 1950s bikeporn on show, featuring the finest tripodular frame builders, like Higgins and Longstaff, with eccentric bottom brackets and peculiar braking systems a plenty.
whilst i was awe-stuck by the MG/Higgins combo with adapted scaffolding plank carrying device, there was more to come…oh yes…
i didn’t quite know what to say. the double-disc, deep front, dropped-stem set-up blew my mind. it was beastly and scared the other bikes into hiding. All i could do was stare, agog. Later, I took a few pictures of the brave tricyclists as they headed out onto the road, getting ready to practise their two-wheeled corners whilst worrying about the change in passing distance and bike width.
Alongside the majesty of the the three-wheeled wonders, there was also a strangely sizeable contingent from the universities. Both UWE and the University of Bristol fielded a number of riders. It was noticeable that the Bristol team were all in matching kit with sponsors and carefully chosen fonts and colours. Their less Russelgroupy neighbours from UWE were conspicuous by their very inconspicuousness. Some of the Bristol University riders tested the limits of the results board, not with their super-fast times, but with their extended first names and double-barrelled surnames. It was really great to see them riding though. I had a job lot of them off in the ten in front of me. It was good for morale, hurtling past on the boardman with the disc wheel making its characteristic noise (not the grinding bag of spanners noise, i managed to get the highly-skilled Matt from Strada to fix that). They appear to be sponsored by Mission Burrito (amongst others) which is quite a coup. Whilst passing the sixth member and getting a vague sense of deja vu, i wondered silently if they get free mexican street food. I would consider joining for this reason.
The U18 is a variant of the U7b, and thus a paid up member of the graveyard club. the road surface was utterly abysmal in places and there were some really lumpy bits on the back of the course, with a set of three potholes (i use the term sparingly, they were akin to volcanic craters) sat along the racing line like a bastardised crop circle. the course consisted of 2 loops and an out-and-back, which made it hard to judge. i went out quite slowly until i realised i was probably going too slowly so picked it up a bit. that was about it really, i rode at or near threshold, although i am going on feel, so i can’t be entirely sure about that. i managed a 57.07 for third place and claimed a few scalps along the way. The second placed rider was only one measly second ahead. I was balked twice at junctions, losing quite a bit of time, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles and the rider ahead of me may well have been balked. Graham Douchebag also rode, he wasn’t content with the 25 miles parcours, being used to much much longer distances, so extended his race to 32 miles by missing a turn and then cutting back to do the route proper. Chapeau to G for upholding the good name of Team Douchebag and refusing to let go of his randonneur roots.
it’s been a great start to the season and i’m looking forwards to next week with some excitement, it’s a very very strong field though…
25 miles, 26.3mph, 700ft of climbing, 168bpm av, 178bpm max.