Tommy Godwin and the 1948 Olympics

you may recall the short post i made on Tommy Godwin, a track cyclist at the 1948 London Oympics at Herne Hill. there’s more on Tommy Godwin on the Guardian website today. he’s nearly 92 years old and a hero.

Tommy Godwin at Herne Hill

Incidentally, riding at Herne Hill was an amazing experience. the new track surface looks lovely.

Manchester Revolution

I went to see some track cycling with Steve yesterday at Manchester Velodrome. There were numerous very very quick riders in attendance, olympic medallists and so on. A few things stood out – in some of the sprint races, and a strange madison time-trial; the average speed of over two laps worked out at 38 miles per hour. At one point  someone managed a lap at an average speed in excess of 41mph. i think it may have been the final lap of a sprint. i get more than a little excited and nervous when descending at around 40mph. the idea that someone might be able to replicate this kind of speed on the flat is very difficult to comprehend.

highlights including seeing alex dowsett race, he is clearly a rider of some potential. having ridden for trek live-strong he is now signed up for Sky. the match sprint between edgar and maclean was also fairly awe-inspiring. i got to see my first ever derny race. i’ve seen motor pacing before, but never a real live derny in a velodrome. it was a fantastic spectacle.

Newport Velodrome

I went to Newport Velodrome today with Bristol South CC. It is pretty much as fun as you can have on a bicycle, riding round in circles on wood. when it’s done properly there’s a sense of poetry to the whole thing, particularly with the team pursuit. i didn’t quite scale those heights, but i rode with the accredited riders in a group of around 7. this was just as well, because the beginners’ group was total chaos. at one point it resembled a madison, for all the wrong reasons; riders everywhere, overtaking, undertaking, reckless changes in speed, the works. it was terrifying to watch, but everyone made it down from the wall of death safely.we managed a few drills, including a 5 rider stack – very exciting; lots of taking laps and a sort of scaled down devil-takes-the-hindmost blast right at the death. i made to the last three, then got taken.

the afternoon i went to belle’s house for tea. we had orange cake and scones, copious amounts of tea, it was perfect. i have been eating since this morning, which is no mean feat, over-compensating massively for any calories burnt this morning. there were lovely chocolate biscuits too. cake is the best thing in the world ever, and truly the cyclist’s friend. belle makes the best cakes ever, therefore she is the best friend a cyclist could have.

i’ve also spent most of the weekend discussing multi-bird roasts. i’m a vegetarian, but they are fascinating, and slightly grotesque. i’d like to include a flamingo and a swan in any such concoction. according to wikipedia (the repository of all human knowledge);

The largest recorded nested bird roast is 17 birds, attributed to a royal feast in France in the early 19th century (originally called a Rôti Sans Pareil, or “Roast without equal”) – a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an Ortolan Bunting and a Garden Warbler.[4] The final bird is very small but large enough to hold just an olive; it also suggests that, unlike modern multi-bird roasts, there was no stuffing or other packing placed in between the birds. It appears illegal to make today as some of the species are endangered.

which is amazing. i’d like to see what a multi-mammal roast looks like; perhaps starting small, then getting bigger, maybe even up to an elephant. it might take some cooking though.

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