Mar 18, 2011

All aboard the Chaingang!

Every town where bikers race have their midweek training races, be it Wednesday Worlds or '46th and Central' or whatever. Often times in British cities, due to dense traffic (and traffic lights) or narrow lanes, these rides will take place in industrial parks, all but deserted after 6pm. So it is for the 'Liverpool Century' ride on a 1-mile circuit adjacent to the airport. These rides are imaginatively called 'Chaingangs' as, aside from the obvious, the riders rotate through in a tight line.
Everyone pulls through at the start and as the pace picks up people sit on or get dropped. It's highly organized and whilst sitting in is fine, not pulling through correctly ilicits a strong negative response from the group! Therefore attacks are few but the pace is always high. This course has 4 tight corners and is therefore just like racing a crit.
In my first hard effort of the year I was pleased to contribute for the first 20mins before needing to sit on, singularly focusing on the flashing lights ahead of me. Each corner was taking a toll but I was hanging on when i suddenly noticed the remaining (strong) girl was also beginning to struggle. Therefore I had a new focus and was sure to chop her in as many corners as I could before she was dropped! Joking....kinda....
After sitting on for 20mins I decided to pull through again, immediately realizing that was a poor idea and in short order I was spat out the back.

I was chatting to an Irishman on the ride home who turned into a maniac as we got into heavy traffic! Of course I followed, weaving between cars in the to follow the wheel right? I hope to survive another week!

Interestingly there are far more helmetless riders in the groups here in the UK. Maybe Americans aren't so dumb after all, keep those lids on!!


Wes said...

That is interesting about more helmetless riders. I'd like to do some resurch on that subject. Perhaps it's due to the big push her in the US at early ages to have children wear them.

Anonymous said...

my perception is that western Europeans just don't give a shit as much...whole different attitude towards life and death and risk, quantity vs. quality of life, security vs. "c'est la vie", etc. witness the rampant smoking and dozens of deaths each year in the mountains. not sure about the biking helmet thing.

cool post Geraint. although it sounds not very scenic!

CVK said...

I love the simplicity and intensity of the "chaingang" concept. No tricks, just pushing the body's limits. This was a very amusing post.

GP don't go trying to chop the last girl standing!