All A Bit Of A Blur

Getting my excuses in first, I had been attending a Stag do on the Friday and Saturday, the usual mix of beer, tequila, rum, tequila, singing along to old Blur and Pulp songs, tequila, bright orange armbands, tequila, hovercraft, tequila, antlers and some tequila.
I arrived at Sherwood following a 4½hr drive up from Weymouth a couple of hours after they had locked the gate on the Saturday night, and so I camped on my own in a clearing on the far side of the forest. Desperate for sleep I climbed into bed far too late, fortunately remembering to put the alarm clock forward an hour, even though it cost me an hour of precious sleep, to wake again what seemed like minutes later. I'm not used to early mornings, I usually get up when I like, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen. Bleary-eyed and with Parklife still ringing in my ears I put my trousers on, had a cup of tea and thought about leaving the van, then headed over to the arena to find everyone else and sort the bike out.
The weather, although a bit chilly, was still dry and the course looked dusty so I changed to set of 2.3" SpeedKings, retrieved my chain and pedals and then attached the number board. I avoided morning soup by having scrambled egg and beans for breakfast instead before heading off for a quick practice.
The course was one of the best I have done at Sherwood, and I have ridden there in many different configurations over the years. As at Cannock they are not blessed with enormous hills but they had managed to get a pretty interesting layout, mostly tight and twisty with a couple of big-ring fireroad blasts.
Having only done a couple of rounds of the BMBS last year due to injury, and one of those quite badly due to a 24hr the previous week, I was gridded at the back, although it meant that I was able to stay clear of the confusion in front of me at the end of the first straight, but then got pushed wide by George Budd with a cheeky move down the inside as we exited the feedzone and headed out onto the main course. There was a fire-road climb and then a blast down between the trees to the first narrow section where, despite being more than a mile from the start, around 20 guys had to come to a complete standstill at the bottleneck to take it in turns to get round. I rode along quite happily at the back of the bunch for the first lap, but halfway around the second lap realised that my seat was becoming loose, which was a little disconcerting. The clamp on the top of the seatpost was becoming loose and rotating freely, it's got nothing to do with your vorsprung durch technic you know. This meant that I had to line the seat up with my thighs prior to sitting down. As it was quite painful not to do this the learning curve to remember to do it was quite short!
At the end of lap 2 I told the guys in the pits what was happening and Laura ran back to the van to fetch a spare seat and seatpost which Shergie fitted very quickly at the end of the following (mercifully short) lap before I headed out again for the last couple of laps. It was nice to be able to sit down with confidence (which is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as...) Unfortunately the delays from the seat issue (and the tequila no doubt) meant that I finished outside the points. On the bright side, although I lacked outright speed my stamina was absolutely fine, I felt I could have carried on for another 4 hours, although I couldn't have gone any faster. There is also the possibility of having a 'proper' coach soon which should hopefully help to resolve the lack of speed, probably not in time for Dalby, but watch this space, more news to follow. He will probably tell me to cut down on my porklife, get some exercise!
I would like to say a big thank-you to all the guys and girls in the pits, all the people, so many people, and they all go hand in hand, hand in hand through their Parklife.
And still singing old Blur songs to myself. How do I get it out of my head!?

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