We’ve never featured Cyclo–cross in Dirt before. It’s kind of the kooky, bastard offspring of road racing…maybe the original off–road racing? So we took off our blinkers and sent two of our finest to take on the challenge of the Rapha Super Cross double–header weekend – CX semi–regular Steve ‘the Butcher’ Walker and CX virgin Rod Fountain. The Butcher takes up the story from here…
DIRT ISSUE 130 – DECEMBER 2012
Words by Steve ‘the Butcher’ Walker and Rod Fountain. Photos by Duncan Philpott (Lutterworth) and Angus Muir (London)
Hell is divided into different parts, from worst, to least worst. Hell has many parts and chambers. There are fire pits of different sizes. Worms wriggling and devouring flesh and the degree of torments varies at different parts of Hell. However, Jesus told one of the witnesses, “My sons, all the suffering on the earth, concentrated in just one place (in this case Lutterworth, Leicestershire) is nothing, NOTHING compared with the suffering that a person has in the best parts of hell.”
I’m always getting myself into sticky situations. You know what I mean? “Yes, of course I’ll take the greyhound training while you compete in the annual yodelling contest” or “Rapha cyclo–cross race? I’ll do it, sounds like great fun”! At least that’s what I thought…
Dirt editor Mike Rose’s original plan (which didn’t include myself or Rod Fountain) was to enter a crack team of Dirt elite, super fit mountain bike riders that were going to take the event by storm, show these blokes in skinsuits, that ride bikes with ridiculous drop handlebars, brakes that don’t work, and skinny wheels, how it’s done. Due to one thing or another, Mike’s equivalent to the S.A.S (but on bikes) all rang in sick. One stubbed his toe getting out the bath, the other had a magician’s training class on the same day so couldn’t make it, and the third potential candidate suffers with ‘I say one thing, but do another’ syndrome.
So, it turns out that poor old Mike had to resort to what he could get. In the end the Dirt crack team of two cyclo–cross racers consisted of a slightly overweight ginger butcher with a bad temper (me), and a school teacher (who’s nerves are so shot he can’t even use clip–less pedals) and was going to ride and race on flats (at the London round) stupid, but oh so true. We needed divine intervention, for God’s sake, someone say a quick prayer…DAY 1, SATURDAY, MISTERSTON HALL, LUTTERWORTH, LEICESTERSHIRE LET US PRAY
According to Luke, Gospel 210, chapter 41000, verse 10020056, a quick prayer each day will deliver us from evil, keep us from the gates of hell and all that. But as I finished my second practice lap of the Misterston Hall course and approached the start line for my first ever Rapha cyclo–cross race, I noticed two things. ‘Thing’ one being that the devil inside me (the little bastard) had made me late and I would have to start at the back of the pack. ‘Thing’ two being, that even though on my sighting lap I had said ‘a quick prayer’ I knew (as did most of the people around me) that the ‘Gates of Hell’ were about to be opened and it was too late to stop them.
Whilst sat there waiting for the gun to fire or the horn to sound (I still can’t remember which it was) I said to myself, ‘think happy thoughts’. Think like ‘I am a gazelle sweeping majestically across the fields or a cheetah on anabolic steroids, blessed with warp speed acceleration and stamina to boot’. I tried, but my thought process had been sabotaged. All that kept popping up (in my thought bubble) was a large plate of chicken tikka masala followed by a family sized cheesecake. As I frantically looked left and right the people surrounding me started to resemble skinny demon–like creatures, whose clothes were so tight fitting that they looked like ‘extras’ from the movie Avatar. They had never eaten anything with more than two calories in it and my impure thoughts (of things that make you fat) had started to turn them into slim savages. They were going to eat me alive and I had, at this point, already recited the one and only prayer I know. My next thought was, ‘will someone please bring me a prayer book and bring it fast (with just a slither of cheesecake, but with extra thick chocolate goo and a crisp base)’. Ave Maria.>>