Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dash of Honour II

I spent the second half of last week fighting off a stomach bug, so I was a little surprised to find myself even considering the Dash of Honour. The Dash is a 100-lap, nighttime race without rules around a 300m sort-of cobblestone course at Hobart's cenotaph. The ride looked like fun so I resolved to just roll around at a moderate pace for my own amusement. I was preparing the Crosscheck for a weekend of touring, so I switched out the Grand Bois tyres for some Schwalbe Marathons to better hold the track and whacked on a front light after finding some cracks in the rim on my generator hub. Bummer, another repair job for down the track. 
There was a bit over a dozen starters, riding everything from road bikes to a BMX to some sort of Frankenbike with a sidecar attached. The pace was furious from the get-go and after missing a gear change, I was quickly lapped by the field. No big problem as I wasn't intending to be particularly competitive but I found my pace increasing. I slowly reeled in some of the fading frontmarkers as other riders dropped out to drink beer on the sidelines. Despite my increase in pace, I was never in danger of catching the leaders, partly because I wasn't exactly sure how many laps I had completed.

I'm sure the designers of this piece of track never intended it for this sort of event, but it was actually quite amenable to bike racing. At around 30km/h, each lap rolled by in about 30 seconds, with an uphill and a downhill straight and an corresponding fast and slow hairpin corner at each end. Not sure a touring bike is the best thing for this sort of thing, but once the Surly got up to speed there was no stopping her.
Eventually, after 100, or perhaps 103 circuits, all but one of the remaining riders had finished and I decided to call it a day. Where did I finish? Not so sure. Fifth? Fourth perhaps? No big deal, the Dash of Honour was a delightful way to fill in a chilly Saturday evening. Thanks to Bicycle Tim for organising the event.

2656km so far this year.

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