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Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Sticking with the age old tradition, the last dual before Christmas was a festive affair. This consists of everyone togged up Santa outfits and all the prizes being wrapped up secret santa style. Its adds to the fun and gets us in the festive mood. This year we outdid ourselves and everyone made a real effort including our lady timers, Steph and LJ who were sporting red dresses and LJ even had matching lingerie. Amazing. Thanks as ever to both of them for keeping us on track and timing us.

Ho Ho Ho – A great sackful of Santas. Photo – John Horscroft.

I set out a slightly different course on our familiar hillside with the corners and the big traverse working the other way round. The first set of double lefts into a big right around trees got slick quick but not as much as the traverse. If you lost speed here, you were screwed as it meant a slightly uphill pedal. The remainder of the corners were fast, loose and close to your competitor, especially the last few tight ones. Great fun.

The Lovely LJ Showing off her Christmas goods. Furry Muff. Photo – John Horscroft

The Christmas spesh has also brought a few dual stalwarts out of the wardrobe which was great to see. First off I got a massive man hug from our own James Swinden who’d forgone Pilates in favour of getting sideways in the loam again. Also showing his winter Hobo Chic look for the first time this season was Stephen Peater of Ecclesfield. It was great to have them both back and in the same Santa suits they rocked last year. As well as Cheg’s, Steve brought along his mate Turtle who hadn’t raced our dual before, but more about him later. Henry Norman was also back racing for the first time this season and especially in the festive spirit as his wife Helen is expecting their first child! Congratulations to you both! (Just hope it misses the ginger gene…).

Timmy and Swinny Facing off – Not trying at all. Photo – John Horscroft

We had 28 entries overall which tested the new bye system (which means my comprehension of it). It worked out well though as the Pearsons turned up after eight with Joe Spivey in tow. As punishment they got no practise at all but unfortunately Chay didn’t get the bye he’s been promised. The first round saw a few interesting match ups as ever. JoBo got drawn again Swinny but had an epic fail in the second leg and didn’t put up a fight. Henry was paired up again Jake Monk and unfortunately failed to beat a child, something I hope he continues with into fatherhood. I was drawn against the ever quick Will Swinden. He fell badly in the second leg on the big right hander leaving me with a clear lead. Unfortunately I panicked, froze and still managed to lose. Gutted. In the second round Chegs and Swinny faced off first and it was a close one with Swinny only winning by half a second. Peaty came up against Will who resoundingly took him apart on both legs and 5 seconds overall, maybe it was the increased drag from the beard? Then came the Pearsons. They’d had a few rides down the sides of the track to figure out where it went but no actual practise. Tim had the easier draw and showed Joe Spivy who it was done. Chris was up against Chay who’d been practising for an hour and is rapid anyway. It was very close but Chris took the win in both legs and went through to the quarters. The Quarters were all tight, non more so than the brothers Pearson however Turtle, in his first dual outing, was smashing his way through the field. Watching him ride was an education, he was cornering on drifty loam like no one else, bike right over but still in control, feet up and peddling. I was impressed. The semis saw him face up again Swinny who managed to get a half second vitory and move on to the big final. Timmy brought a halt to Will’s progress and also moved through to the Big final, where Swinden senior beat him enough in the first leg to make up for a second leg loss. First time back this season and he takes the win. That boy can’t half ride a bike (and gives the best man hugs).

Get on board the Santa Train. Photo: John Horscroft

Once the poles and the lights were packed away it was on to the prize giving. With all the prizes wrapped up it made for an exciting selection process. The first few were shown off but it soon descended in to a blur of flying paper. As Turtle picked up his prize for 3rd place a definite grumble was heard from that side of the ring of people. He stepped back in to the ring, head bowed and admitted shamefully that he’d been running spikes. Swifter than the USADA with Lance he was stripped of his prize and his crys of not knowing the rules fell on deaf ears. Spikes are banned to keep things even and this was a very good demonstration of why. Tsk tsk Turtle.

Rhubard. Photo – John Horscroft

The Controversial Turtle using his unfair advantage to challenge the mighty Swinny. Photo – John Horscroft

After the 4th round the top of the Gnar points table is already hotting up. The best 7 out of the 10 rounds will decided the winner but at the moment Timmy is comfortably sitting at the top, with Chay 14 points behind in 2nd and Will Swinden sitting in 3rd.


Winter Dual – Round 3 – Christmas Special

Winter Dual – Round 3 – Christmas Special

Ho ho ho was the cry with bells jingling all the way and a few red noses, the week before Christmas, the third round of the winter dual series was on. To mark the season of goodwill all proceeds raised were to be donated to the Scott Shepard recovery fund. Adding to the festive feel all entrants were required to dress as Santa, a loose dress code which added hugely to the merriment of the evening.

How many santas does it take to race a dual? (Photo: John Horscroft)

Joe and I rocked up early only to find Peaty, Jack and Cheggers lugging a genny and a set of red Christmas lights over a fence. Not as all suspicious! But worth the effort, the combo of silent generator and lights laid the foundations for an extra special evening. As more and more folk turned up the hilarity of Santa vs Santa became more apparent, this was going to be ridiculous. To add to the festive and friendly mood Fera Baybutt and Vicki Eastham were kind enough to spend the evening serving up the Mulled wine which Rich Baybutt had concocted. For a couple of quid you got a cup of your spiced beverage of choice plus a gingerbread man made by Vicki. Delicious, warming and all proceeds to Scott. Magnificent and hopefully the shape of things to come.

Baying crowd (Photo: Nick Hamilton)

We got the course laid out and lit and practise began in earnest. With a great turnout we had 32 santas racing head to head, the scene was ludicrous. It was a fast a pretty straight track until you hit the last corner. The right hand line took in the bottomless dip and the left a loose a slick sprint for the finish. The dip brought the end to many a run!

Chegs and 'Winny (Photo:Nick Hamilton)

Izzy and Mari were once again our timing angels and kept the whole race running smooth. I also brought along a white board and magnetic numbers and names to let everyone know who was racing when. Unfortunately, KRad was a victim of the system, sorry lad will make sure you race next time. Otherwise, it worked brilliantly and it was one of the smoothest races yet. Dave, Henry and Steve were also kind enough to work the walkie talkies which meant I could wonder round, drink mulled wine and indulge in the real purpose of the races. Socialising.

Start line banter (Photo: John Horscroft)

With 32 entries it was straight to the main event, no quali’s. The white board meant a proper random start order which made for some interesting pairings. In the first round I fell victim to the dip and crashed out but luckily (for me) Lee Baines missed a gate and was honest enough to own up. Malco and Danger had a needle match first round but Danger took no prisoners. Sam Taylor, our youngest entrant, was heartlessly beaten by Steve Hardcastle but he got plenty of practice in and was looking reet good on course. Carrie Poole smashed Alec Hartley, who couldn’t stay on his bike, and went through to the second round. Another  fella to be beaten by a girl was the other half of team Faff, Dave Griffith who was dispatched by Jody Vallance. Good work ladies.

Timmy fixing up Will's bike.... good will to all men

Unfortunately, In the second round, they then came head to head where Carrie showed Jody how it was done. Timmy and Swinny also came head to head and it was down to the wire with Swinny coming out victorious. I faced Peaty with the inevitable result… no no, he won.

Moving on to the quarters Will and Joe had a proper battle which left Bowman buckling under the pressure and will able to use all the energy he had stored up on the couch. Carrie’s first time in the quarters left her facing an on form Cheg’s who was very ungentlemanly and didn’t hold back.

The BIG final, Swinny taking on the Mighty Peat (Photo: Nick)

After battling through the Semis we were left with Cheg’s and Will in the little final and Swinny and Peaty in the big. Someone wisely pointed out that at any other race Peaty is well loved and is the recipient of loud cheers and encouragement. In this dual series all he seems to get is discouragement and calls to fall off… perhaps its working, Swinny took the winny… AGAIN! Thankfully he’s already confirmed as being on the SPS for 2012.

Secret Santa (Photo: John Horscroft)

Then came the prize giving and in another Christmas twist we rocked the secret Santa. The rules were that the prize had to be worth at least 3 quid and must be wrapped up. The sight of a load a prezzies on the floor around the base of a massive tree was amazing and richly Christmas. Swinny was first to pick and unwrapped his gift in front of everyone, he chinned his bottle of Bucks Fizz in front of the baying crowd. He was the ceremoniously showered with another bottle of Bucks Fizz by Peaty, Boom! The selection process continued until we all got impatient and couldn’t wait to pick a prize. I have Timmy to thank for my 4 tins of fish… merry bastard Christmas. It was then off to the Lezzer for a couple of celebratory pints afterwards.

How many? How do you choose? (Photo: Henry Norman)

This leaves the overall in an interesting position at the top. Peaty and Swinny are neck and neck, with Timmy third, Jolley 4th and Chris Pearson 5th. Hanna is still our highest ranked lady, with Carrie only a point behind and Jody snapping at their heels.

Swinny necking his prize (Photo: Henry Norman)

Pints in the pub after (Photo: Henry Norman)

So many thanks go out to everyone that came along to race and got dressed up or decorated their bikes. Thanks again to Izzy and Mari for timing, Fera and Vicki for serving up the Christmas Cheer, Rich Baybutt for blending the brew, Bowman for his nevr ending assistance and the same to Timmy whose always packing up poles at the end. 2012 is going to be Rad, can you believe we’ve only had 3 rounds!


Queenstown, Ben Lomond, Injuries and Boredom….

“Was I bored? No, I wasn’t fuckin’ bored. I’m never bored. That’s the trouble with everybody – you’re all so bored. You’ve had nature explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the living body explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the universe explained to you and you’re bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn’t matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it’s new as long as it’s new as long as it flashes and fuckin’ bleeps in forty fuckin’ different colors. So whatever else you can say about me, I’m not fuckin’ bored.” – Johnny, Naked, 1993.

I am sure that there is a relationship between boredom and psyche, when riding becomes boring we stop riding, we lose our psyche…..but is it really boring? Perhaps we lose our psyche because we have failed to apply ourselves, and failed to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about why we do the things we do? Personally speaking I can’t remember the last time I was bored riding a bike when I made a choice to ride not out of obligation but because I desired to do so…..this desire keeps me refreshed, keeps me psyched.

Me on Ben Lomond ridge. Photo: Sven Martin

We are so lucky in Sheffield; in fact, any place we can ride our bike out of choice is very lucky…..I cherish having that in my life as much as other fundamental things; the roof over my head and the beautiful woman I love to wake up with each morning. I wonder how it is even possible to become bored of riding when so many possibilities have yet to be reached, there is always something new to learn: the way the bike feels round a turn, the way in which you finally see ‘the line’, the way you realise you don’t actually have to brake for that section. Our brain is intrinsic to our body….inseparable, and as human beings we are capable of conceptual thought, we can apply those thoughts, we can envisage and project ourselves into the future….maybe this is this is all it takes in order to get the psyche back?

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