Well, just got back and had a great evening out - left before the pro-race, my little boy was up WAY past his bedtime, but really fun. Weather was great too, unlike the previous year. The 70 or so riders were split up into two heats - I went in Race 1 of 2 to start. Bromptons were by far the most prolific, followed by Dahons of various nature and quite a few other bikes. Format was a brief sprint, unfold the bikes and 4 laps of a 1km course. Initial downhill, sharpish right followed by a very sharp right followed by a slow left and a slow right up hill, then an uphill straight into two wide rights and back down the downhill homestraight. Came third in my heat (managed to try and get underway without clipping the main frame latch), which was dominated by Richard, last year's winner on a very nice Xootr Swift. I think I want one, although I suspect he has done a fair bit of modding to it! Watched the second heat which was a very close race with a guy on a MUSL and a guy on an airnimal pacing each other all the way (was on the back straight, but didn't see who won). Couple of hours off and then the final - slightly different, 5 laps and we left our bikes unfolded (!) about 20 metres up the track and raced to them. Front 3 were the Swift/Airnimal/MU and I was behind in a group of 5 watching the very good race that they had until I had a pedal strike
and my legs went to jelly! Crawled in 10, but kudos to the top 3 who had a terrific battle with the MU eventually winning.
Very, very good fun - slightly patronising commentary (that I probably shouldn't have been listening to as I cycled round), really nice people (nice to meet Richard and Stuaff from on here) - and really fun to see all the "modded" bikes. There was a great Moulton, some properly "blinged" up Bromptons (including a chrome one!) and I think Bike Hut were advertising their new shop in St Pauls by riding a team of MUP8s.
Think the "folding" element needs some work - for it to be a test of folders, there should be a "carry" section and there should be a "proper" unfold part - too many bikes were left seat/handlebars up and that seemed to go against the grain a little. Could have had the Hammerhead down there in the end!
It was great that there was a real atmosphere of fun about it (even though the race for first was a real proper race). Top Marks to the lady on the Orange folder (that I've never seen before) who was cheerfully "revving" it down the back straight!
A little more organisation would have been good, but everyone found their way to things eventually.
Felt very sorry for the guy on the Brompton who got a flat just before the start of the final and Stuaff whose chain popped off during his race.
Haven't raced before (first ever!) and it is amazing how in a race, your head just goes. Can't believe that I didn't do the frame fold in the first race and can't believe how my body reacted to the strike - legs just got really heavy and got all out of shape and lost all speed. Guess that is something that you learn to deal with with experience.
Proper cyclists on proper bikes ride proper fast. Proper athletes!
Surprised by how little presence there was from the folding companies - Brompton/Dahon/Xootr/Airnimal could have sold some product I reckon on the back of some of the guys riding their very practical bikes pretty quick!
Ta all - see you next year!