Good bye 2017 ... aka Mr Grumpy's got his hat on
Has the year been good for you … or are you pleased to see the back of it?
A lot has certainly happened, that’s for sure, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s all been good.
I have however managed to accumulate several decent bottles of wine over the past 12 months as I abstained from
drinking alcohol with great success while my racing season spectacularly never got off the ground as the months quickly
ticked by. My results read: raced none, won none … but more to my credit, lost none either.
I am now on my third bottle of the evening: a nice Chateauneuf du Pape given to me by a friend ... yes I DO have one,
and as I have a few minutes to spare have decided to sit down and give a very short review of 2017 as seen through the
eyes of a pissed-up, bitter and twisted screwball of a has-been. Sorry if I upset anyone (it’s the alcohol speaking) but
please feel free to comment at the end if you get that far.
So … another racing season has bitten the dust but I can’t for the life of me, tell you who won, what was once Britain’s
most coveted time trial title, the British Best All Rounder competition. Years ago, the competition steadily drew to its
climax towards the end of September as ‘Cycling’ reported on the leading contenders’ final throws of the dice … the
Yorkshire RC and Harrogate Nova 50s being the last two for those needing fast times for the shorter distance and the
West Suffolk Wheelers 12 hour being the last chance saloon for anybody needing a 12 hour.
Over the last few years however, the BBAR has petered out by mid-September as conversations have already
started swinging round to next season and what people can spend their money on to go faster without actually
having to train any harder.
Years ago, the BBAR was worth something … even in money terms (believe me) … and its champion was nationally recognised, in the cycling fraternity at least, through great coverage in ‘Cycling’ and its team of REAL enthusiasts like Gerald O’Donavon, Martin Ayres, Mick Gambling, Colin Wilcockson, Bernard Thompson, Alan Gayfer etc. These days, it seems, no-one’s really bothered after mid-September. If they were, there’d be more events, more press coverage and more people, like me, who might remember who won it … which is sad.
Wind tunnels, watts, coaches, FTPs, 2 x 20s, CdAs and the ‘joys’ of communication through the world wide web have become the order of the day… something I’ve very little intention of signing up to I’m afraid. Back in the day, there wasn’t half as much ‘willy waving’ as there is these days. If you did a good ride it was reported in the press. You didn’t have to blow your own trumpet by ramming it down people’s throats on Facebook and / or twitter … something I’m seeing more and more of these days … and it’s usually the same people. We never hear about their duff rides … strange eh? Thank goodness that’s about as far as my knowledge of ‘social media’ goes because I don’t really like it. Very sad.
Having just flicked through the diary of events for the coming season, I’m concerned to see that certain courses are still going to be used for racing on in 2018 … despite more than one fatality having been recorded on one in particular over the past few years.
A number of riders (me being one of them) have expressed concern themselves about the dangers of riding (let alone RACING) on British roads. A(nother) friend of mine (ok, so I have at least two!) has raced in THREE events where fatalities have occurred ... and yet riders continue to chose to race on courses which have, quite frankly, outgrown their use as far as SAFE time trialling is concerned. Isn’t it time to wake up before someone else is killed because if something isn’t done, someone else WILL die on there? I hope it’s not one of you reading this. Just sad … for those who have already lost their lives.
And what has happened to our sport at the very highest level lately? For goodness sake can we EVER take it seriously again? When I started cycling, it was pretty obvious that a lot (if not ALL) the professional peloton were ‘on’ something and I think we all accepted that … and were prepared to go along with it as everyone was playing on a level playing field (rightly or wrongly … drugs are no good for sport). BUT … when we all thought that things were changing and riders were committing to a cleaner sport, I, for one, thought that the winners would still be the same riders but that races would just be slower. That clearly hasn’t turned out to be the case. We’re constantly being told to believe … but I’ve given up and believe no more.
The pro peloton is a pretty colourful spectacle to behold and cycling up them damned hills can’t be easy, but when the TV commentators keep telling us that we’re watching an unbelievable performance (which they still continue to do despite its inevitable connotations) it brings me back down to earth with a bump because, it appears, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be hearing more about it a few months further down the line.
What happened to the sport I once loved? Answers on a postcard or sealed down envelope please to the 'comments' box below ... go on ... hit me with it!
PS … on the flip side however (the morning after I read the above!) … let’s try to look on the positives.
There’s always the turbo. Mine’s been sitting gathering dust in the garage for the last 7 or 8 years … only being used on very rare occasions, but I’m fed up with the amount of near misses I’ve had on the roads and the number of idiots there are out there driving so I’m going to test out its lifetime guarantee. That’s my mission … and I’ve chosen to accept it (quote courtesy ‘Mission Impossible’).
Figures are already good. Over 20 minutes of 170+ bpm at the age of ‘ancient’ (61) … still getting to grips with what’s watt though! What are you guys putting out watt-wise in 20 minute tests? Please?
The A428 is getting dualled between Caxton Gibbet and the A1 at St Neots. Nuff said 😉
My biggest fear if I were ever to stop racing was that I’d put on weight. Well I haven’t raced for 5 or 6 years now (maybe more but who’s counting as every day is a Saturday now … which is another plus!) and I’m half a stone lighter now than I was then.
I can eat chocolate and drink booze without getting fat … which is really strange, but I’ll run with it as long as it lasts.
There’s still lots of Prosecco in the fridge, Vodka in the drinks cabinet and Reds on the wine rack.
It’s not raining … today.
Grateful for any additional input if you please?