Shrapnel Rides are a little like Interval Training that’s fun, unless you are right at the front, where it is crossed with Cage Fighting.

The Reigning Shrapnel King is given a 5 second lead out from the Start Banner at the Clubhouse. Then the whole bunch is off after them like a pack of screaming banshees.

The rider in front chooses the route for all the followers, and as soon as the guy in front is overtaken, the overtaker gets to choose the rout from that point forward.

All the normal Logwood Bike Haven directional rules apply. All followers must follow the EXACT route that the Leader chooses.

The idea is to get so far in front of those who are following that the “tail end Charlies” loose sight of the turns that the rest of the group is making, and get dropped like Shrapnel. At that point you become a spectator.

An outright win is achieved by riding away from the whole group and Shrapnelling the lot.

A points win (which is much more common) is achieved by being the rider who is in front sixty minutes after the start.

Politeness amongst Shrapnel Riders is not encouraged, and sometimes passing manoeuvres in very tight single track get quite physical. We draw the line at use of weapons, and the standard Logwood Bike Haven rules about cutting across veld or crossing barrier tape apply with the standard (instant and permanent barring from Logwood and all other bike Havens) penalties surrounding such behaviour.

Girls are encouraged to join in, and a Shrapnel Queen put Geoff the Aussie in hospital during one memorable encounter.

G’Day Fellow Mountainbikers,

When the famous Cape Epic was only just starting it’s second year, one wag that I know remarked that the greatest excuse for riding your bike endlessly at medium pace had just been invented…”I’m training for the Cape Epic”.

The true value of this as an excuse is that on first examination it actually earns you some status, the Epic being such a tough thing to tackle, and hence you miss the ridicule of saying such things as “I’m too scared to ride that” or “I will get all sweaty and make my makeup run if I go that fast”.

It is only as today has rolled on and all the excuses from the usual suspects have started coming in on my phone that the pattern is showing itself. All the guys who missed this mornings Shrapnel Ride are citing Epic training as their prime excuse; certainly not that it was dark outside and warm in bed or any such thing!

In any case, it was the hardy few who braved the dark and cold this morning to contest the Shrapnel Crown.

Two Mugg and Beaners turned up on motorcycles to take on all comers, but didn’t seem at all disappointed to be forced to drink coffee and play the role of spectators.

The start was delayed for 40 minutes from the usual 5.30 whilst waiting for the dawn…can’t Shrapnel if you can’t see! This was only accomplished by vote from the assembled riders after ascertaining that nobody had a “real job” where you HAVE to be at work by a certain time.

Danny Fowler of Team Plastomark/Crystal Power took the 5 second leadout as is his right as reigning Shrapnel King. As living proof of the old adage “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it”, Danny repeated the start from last month and flew straight into North Shore.

The big difference this time, was that when he came out the other end he was totally alone. North Shore had claimed all followers, even Frank Hayard from Mugg & Bean Supercycling MTB Club, who went down in the same place as Roger Blewwett from Team Plastomark/Crystal Power.

There has only ever been one other successful defence of the Shrapnel Crown, and that was by the sneaky Colin Germs; And Danny Fowler is now the second Shrapnel King to successfully defend the crown, and remains as yet, UNDEFEATED!

With the light leaving us in the mornings now, the Wednesday morning 5.30 am time slot is no longer viable for Shrapnel Riding till the days grow long and lazy again next summer.

There has been a suggestion to move the time to 6.30 am on the first Saturday of the month. Logwood Bike Haven opens for general riding at 7.30 am. If you think this is a good time slot then please email me and let me know, or let me know if you have a better day in mind. I will try and step outside my normal horrible personality and be as accommodating for the majority as possible.

Please just be aware that Shrapnel Riding cannot take place whilst Logwood is open for general riding, so have a look at our hours of business before making weird suggestions.

That is a roundup of all the action at the crack of dawn this morning. I will keep you posted as to the time and day for the next Shrapnel Ride as the results come in.

Till next time, keep the rubber side down.

Geoff the Aussie