Friday, 11 May 2012
A day at the races - part 2
You may find yourself on the side of a hill on a cold sunday morning. You may ask yourself, well how did I get here. Well the bottom line is I love my cyclist and I want to support him. And the people you get supporting other cyclists at these races are kind and friendly and inclusive, you will always find someone to chat to.
Although they will sometimes be in attendance, I like to NOT always take our kids to the cyclist's races for various reasons. Firstly, sadly, they get bored. Secondly, your cyclist will have filled the car up with all the essential kit items he absolutely needs, but which for mysterious reasons only he can explain will never make it out of the bag. This leaves precious little room in any vehicle for small people, and the vast arrays of crap that they too will inevitably require. Thirdly, it gives you immunity to use your 'special cheering words' during the race without having to explain what a bellend is and why they shouldn't say it in front of their Grandma. Fourthly, you have to watch small kids like hawks at races, for their own safety and that of the riders.
I always find crits are the most fun for attending en famille; Daddy swings past every couple of minutes and as a spectator you have a much better feel for what's actually going on in the race. Also, they tend to be of a shorter time duration, so are more likely to hold everyones attention, and sometimes they are in town centres so you can do a bit of stealth shopping and hide it in the car and the cyclists never even notice. (If there's space in the car that is. But I've found you can usually get a pair of jeans and 3 t-shirts under each child if you bribe them with a muffin.) From a spectators point of view, the crits tend to include some of the more entertaining swearing from the riders; the doppler shift lending particular added comedy value to the word 'Dickheeeeeeeeeeeead'. This is Sparta, baby.
Sadly, your cyclist will not always finish his race. If your cyclist has the misfortune to get a puncture or a mechanical and have to climb off he: will have been going brilliantly / it's the best he's felt all season / he would have got top three, definitely - delete as applicable. Always agree. If he crashes, it was: the other guys fault / the trees fault / the roads round here are rubbish / the weather was in his eyes - please select your option(s) from the list.
Post race, watch the riders come back in to the HQ. Generally, what has happened on the road stays on the road, even if they've been screaming their heads off at each other for 100k there tends to be a grubby and slightly battered lycra-clad battlefield camaraderie. Like if they were X-Men or something, but they had been ill. The races I have attended have been brilliant on the post-race set-up tea, coffee and cake in glorious abundance. Your cyclist will require refuelling pretty much immediately - in fairness they burn thousands of calories. We take a protein shake bidon for after the race. I have an extraordinary innate ability for making up protein shakes, I can get them extra lumpy. Usually after a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chew of his protein shake, my cyclist is fit to hold a conversation and contemplate peeling off the lycra and facing the real world.
Once he's summoned up the energy, your cyclist will have a little wipe down (a cyclists bath) with his very pro eau de cologne water spray and a handtowel he brought with him for the purpose. If (when) he has forgotton his handtowel, he will use his underpants. You or he will need to unpin his race numbers and hand them back in to retrieve his license - I LOVE doing this cos sometimes they let you rummage through all the licenses to get yours and you get to spy at everyones pic and they all look like serial killers. Finally it's on with the sweatpants and trainers, and home! (To Burger King!)
And if you're lucky, you'll get to wash his kit...