These Muggers and Beanettes sure do seem to love their bikes!
On Sunday morning, with the promise of a full day of hard racing and “take no prisoners” bike games due to start at 10am, the car park at Logwood Bike Haven started filling up in the dark of pre-dawn.
Bleary eyed folks (it’s that time of year) dressed in the distinctive grey, black, white and gold kit were stepping out of these vehicles (it must be said that some only had one shoe on and others had forgotten pumps and stuff, but nobody was observed to have their bibs on inside out) to go for a “warm-up ride” before the fun and games started some 5 hours later.
No such thing as TOO MUCH!
Whilst these lunatics went to do 20 or 30 laps of the Logwood Classic route, all us normal people contented ourselves with a hearty breakfast and then some strategic pre-riding of the trails to be used for the M&B Fun & Games to follow.
The alluring smell of M&B coffee started wafting out of the Clubhouse at 9am, and riders from all over the place fell upon the M&B muffins and coffee as if they were unlikely to ever see food or drink again. Indeed the coffee making turned to a production line that did not slow down till 2 pm, with a staff member dedicated to that task alone!
Having established that all present would race for food, the start line was taken by all, under the adjudicating eye of Terry the Spinman. The route was explained and the M&B Time Trial begun.
The chosen route was fairly technical and exactly 4km long, with one gruelling hill climb to “test the engine”.
There were several inspiring performances, most notably Johan Coetzer, who has only been riding a bicycle for a couple of months, and had a fine ride to finish mid-field in an all-star line up.
Richard Beswick posted the fastest time on the day. There may not be any surprises there when you are looking at a man who has worn the coveted Green and Gold, but the crowd was astonished to see Frank Hayward post a time that was only 32 seconds slower than Richard’s. Even the “normally somewhat disinterested” bike widows sitting up at the Clubhouse were on their feet cheering for a total stranger on this fine ride!
Frank however could have done with some time in a decompression chamber after he crossed the finish line, as his lungs seemed to be on the outside now. He made do with coffee to recharge the batteries, adding new meaning to the term “Coffee Powered Athletes” found on the back of the kit.
Using the same course as the M&B Time Trial, the Devil take the Hindmost was the next event.
Richard Beswick stamped his authority on this right from the outset, and just rode away from everyone as if they were standing still. If riders were not being pulled from the course each lap, Richard would have lapped the entire field with the exception of Frank Hayward and Dorette Crous.
That was the final finishing order, with the field muttering about Richard not being allowed to use his big ring at all next time, let alone stay in it on the single track and climbs!
Richard even managed to respond to the chirps from Terry the Spinman on the walky talky (not the indigenous dish involving chicken heads and feet, but an electronic device) that he still had in his jersey pocket…much to the amusement of spectators.
The Little Muggers race followed, with a false start shredding the nerves of competitors after a bunting tape error…sorry guys! The second time out saw the most spirited riding of the day with the field being astonishingly enthusiastic. Jason just took first place in battle that involved a couple of spills from his rival, who showed she is a champion in the making, just getting back on and catching up again.
Perhaps the most inspiring act of the day was a little boy who waited for the course marshal’s with a little girl who had fallen and skinned her knee and was crying. Surely this is what our sport is really about!
And then came what everyone was really waiting for. The Shrapnel Ride.
Colin Germs, there to defend his title, was looking contrastingly fresh and strong amidst a field of adversaries that were mostly showing the battle scars of a hard day at the office.
Whilst feigning nonchalance, Colin returned from a brief warm-up ride to tell me there was still some bunting tape blocking certain routes within the bowels of North Shore. I kept this tactical information to myself, and removed the previously overlooked tape, but it certainly showed me just how far this erstwhile roadie was planning to go to hold his title.
Colin took off with his stipulated 5 second lead, and started Shrapneling riders off the back almost from the first pedal stroke. Robbie Hunter would have been hard pressed to stay with a sprint of that ferocity.
The maintenance crew are sweeping the knobs from Colin’s back tyre off the Shimano S as I write this!
It took only minutes for Colin to lose all but 3 riders, and then only another couple of minutes to lose those 3 in Green Cathedral, which seems to be his favourite hunting ground.
Colin remains the undisputed Shrapnel King, and will defend his title on Wednesday morning. Clubhouse doors open at 5.20 am sharp and ride starts at 5.30 am exactly. Be there for the most fun you can have with lycra and rubber (and carbon fibre and aluminium).
That just about covers the comings and goings at Logwood Bike Haven over the weekend, and that was a lot to cover even for a motor mouth like me.
Enjoy your week, and keep the rubber side down!
Geoff the Aussie