I rode a hill climb yesterday. I use the verb loosely. Perhaps “attended” might be more accurate. It was the VC Walcot promotion on the Avenue in Bath. Over the past few years the event has grown in size and stature, to the point where it’s now one of the prestigious events in the West DC calendar. This has nothing to do with the climb and everything to do with the unstinting efforts of the club to get people riding, create an atmosphere and promote it in ever more exciting ways. Hats off indeed.
Make some noise (eat apple first)
I was excited, but several things conspired against me. On arrival one of my erstwhile clubmates asked jokingly “who’s this chubby man?”. It wasn’t the best start. At the weigh-in the night before i was 73kg. It’s about 5kg over my fighting weight. I chose to ride gears.
This was a lazy choice based on riding out to the event and not being bothered to change the sprockets on the back more than once. I got some stick from Rob Borek who is a proper fixed monkey, and his partner in crime, the young Warby.
On the start line my sprocket made a hideous crunching noise and the 17t exploded. The race was over before it started. I shifted it across and then rode off in one gear, the only problem being it was the 12t. I had to stop again and manually shift it back to the 23. It was a proper scheiße-show.
I got things moving and cranked it up a bit (after being overtaken by 3 or 4 riders whilst communing with my bike) in order to avoid the embarrassment of walking up the hill past the really big crowd with pots, pans, whistles, airhorns and cowbells, only to be balked by a huge 4×4 coming down the hill, so sat up and dribbled up to the finish. The timekeeper even asked me if I was really finishing. It was embarrassing. I carded a 5.09, a shade behind the winner’s 2.07, before it was later rounded down to a DNF.
The quest for a socially acceptable racing performance continues next week oop north, where I will be riding two events I planned to ride and one event I planned never to ride again, only to accidentally enter it this year after misreading the organising club and course.