There are two social groups in a National Trophy 'pit' and they are completely at odds with each other.
At one end we have the burly men with their dark clothing, all in one overalls, grey hair, portly stomachs and tough boots.
The other group is a pit WAG generally mothers of the under 23 riders and a few girlfriends who have been roped in to assist the burly men, they don't really understand what is happening & mainly focus on cheering. Easy to spot, amongst the dark waterproofs, they have light blue fleeced hats, colour matched wellies and usually a nice puffa jacket.
There is the occasional WAG, new to the pit, introgued at what Johnny talks about to Jason and begged to come along or most likely Jason couldn't 'be in the pit' so has dragged her along.
Typically they won't have been given a few helpful pointers about a pit and how everything you touch will spread mud, poor them, they turn up wearing white, shinning like a beacon that screams "my boyfriend missed out a few key points about the pits to try and get me to turn up." Naughty Johnny.
Vicious Velo are alittle different, we have Kev. He is first up in the Trophy race schedule, as a VET he's finished by 11.30.
He comes back into the pit during the senior race to run the VV pit and tell Delia and I what to do.
We are half way between the two groups, I was probably once more of a WAG a few seasons ago but have quickly learnt not to take anything I value into the pit.
We don't really conform to either group because most of the girls in the pit haven't race and finished in the top ten just a few hours before.
Secondly if you look like a sissy girl the burly men don't give you space in the pit box, you need to give yourself space to hand up the bike. They don't move out your way and they look at you with snide smiles.
Delia and I have worked out a system.
- walk into the pit, wear walking boots or a black pair of wellies, bonus points for carrying a mini tool box. My tool box has zip ties, an allen key and some lube but no one has to know that it could have a special fixing mallet for all they know.
- slap on a pair of surgical gloves, they do the same jobs as marigolds but people think you are messing about if you wear washing up gloves.
- put your pit pass on a lanyard you got from some other event (something logos like Le Tour, Festina, Tour of Britain) and tuck it into your jacket, so people know you have pit accreditation but also you know how to use it and don't need to dangle it about the place.
- when waiting for the riders to come back through the pits comment to your pit crew competitors how sparkly and clean their bike is, big up their ego on their bike washing ability.
The crew only has a few short minutes to wash all the mud from a bike and clean the drive train.
- know how to jet wash a bike and over order on the water. Last thing you need is to run out of water and start trying to clean the bike using a sponge and a bucket, your creditability will sink faster than the titanic. You messing around in the corner with a bucket in a National Trophy race, come on you need some kind of machine that reeks of petrol.
This has been working fine all season and previous seasons.
Kev mostly looks after the washing because it requires biceps to kick start the throttle on the jet wash, knowledge of the machine and getting the water to pump through.
Except at Shrewsbury there was no Kev, there was just two girls and madness hit. The jetwash stopped working, we had to get the buckets out. We had to stand in the pit gates with semi-clean bikes.
It was then the WAGs came to our rescue and helped us jet wash Paul's bike. Phew.
Link to the video of the racing: http://www.vier.be/veldrijden/videos/scheldecross-vrouwen/25085
I did this race. I really enjoyed the course. The weather was very cold but there was sun.
Good experience running and riding in proper sand.
I would do this race again and then stay for a race on the Sunday.
I finished 19th or maybe 20th. Would have liked to have been in the top 15. Would need to go 10 seconds per lap fasterto make up that time to get top 15. It is easily possible.
Got a few things to work on to come back stronger.
Picture of the race here by Cycle Photos
|Credit: Cyclephotos.co.uk / Balint Humvas|
Vicious Velo X Race - 22nd December
VCL X Race - 23rd December
A double cross mash up with everything including Divine chocolate, look mum no hands hot food, dogs, drums, me doing the PA, prizes, food, cakes (approved by me)
I'll be bringing cakes too! for a ViCiOUS cake stall
Separate race for women / vets on the the 22nd December
Yeh that's right you are so excited you want to do a sick.