Velo Club Moulin

Friday, 5 June 2009

School night larks

Sometimes you don't need all the singing and dancing of a big race to have fun. For several years now there has been a grass-roots XC series run through the Summer at Lott's Wood near Amersham in Bucks (only a few miles pedal from my house). It's a small piece of woodland bordered by a country lane on one side and the railway on another (you can hear trains passing as you race), but the guys from local club Summit Cycles have put in a great deal of effort and there's now a course of almost 3 miles snaking through the beech trees.

Despite this being the tame Chilterns (I love it here, but extreme it ain't), the course has a quite a lot of fun packed into those scant miles; three deep bomb-holes, loose and evil flints, bar-width tree gaps hit at speed, hairpin after hairpin and several vicious (but short) ups. Suffice to say, it's seriously smile-inducing, Star Wars speeder bike territory.

Last night was round two of five (races are every third Wednesday from mid May). What's also good here is the range of riders - the field has more than doubled this year with 99 riders turning up for round two and they range from first timers to seasoned pros (local boy Paul Lasenby raced here last year). There are many categories from Elite to Fun.

Racing starts at 7.30pm and is roughly 40 minutes for the lead rider plus a lap which at the moment is amounting to less than an hour for the winner and four laps. think cyclocross effort + singletrack fun and you get the idea.

It's all extremely friendly and low-key with one EZ-up where the race organiser (Simon North - a lovely chap), his wife and young racing son base themselves to tot-up laps and cheer people on.

Phil Moore and I have so far competed in the first two races, hoping to do the whole series if work doesn't intervene.

Our Evil Adversaries® in this endeavour are local team and friends (off the race course) Team Singular lead by their fiendish Antipodean owner, Sam. So far their whippet Steve 'The Ringer' Webb (also known as The Pencil and The Gazelle for reasons too obscure to be interesting) has been doing well. In fact he's won both rounds so far. Easily. Short of sabotage he looks set to continue to fly, but Phil and I and hopefully a few other Southern VCM will take the fight to these vermin in sky-blue.

So far Phil has finished 2nd and 3rd and I've finished 3rd and 4th. Occasionally bloodied, but always smiling.

And what's more, it's on a school night. Bring on Round 3. Ding, ding!

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