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Published: March 24th 2011
Caution, cycling content!
The reason we came to Tasmania was to support Team Mad Women On Big Bikes at Evandale, so it was sickening to wake up to the sound of high winds and torrential rain on Saturday morning (because of the tyre technology it is unsafe to race Pennies in the wet) we texted Charlotte to find out what was happening and received a response that the day's racing was cancelled for safety reasons. The fair itself had also been called off and we arrived (in a taxi) to a very wet and rather miserable village, we found Charlotte and Kat sheltering in the Bakery Cafe along with their co-conspirators Gray and Alison. The decision was taken to make the best of a bad situation and we headed back to the B&B to get Penelope (Charlotte's penny farthing) out of it's store so Vernon could entertain us by trying to ride it. He was doing pretty well with the balancing and scooting practise and then progressed to right foot on the pedal with no problems, it all went a bit wrong when he tried to get into the saddle and pedal the bike, Charlotte is taller than Vernon and
he wasn't able to just sit on the saddle, he had to pull himself up a bit, putting weight on one pedal as he did so, thereby stopping its rotation which stopped the bike dead in its tracks and catapulted Vernon towards the tarmac. He managed to land on his feet and we all rushed over to check that Penelope was OK before remembering to check on Vernon. Penelope had tyre trouble and percussive maintenance was required, Vernon had a sore foot but turned down Charlotte's generous offer to give it a clout with the rubber mallet she was sorting Penelope out with.
Most of the riders were making the best of a bad job by parading around the race circuit to the delight of the hardy few spectators who remained, they included a couple of total loons from NZ who were performing wonderful tricks such as track standing, riding backwards and dismounting elegantly over the handlebars. The trick which raised the most cheers was riding two-up with the front man seated, pedalling and juggling three oranges while his mate stood on the foot pegs and steered the bike.
There was a wonderful selection of bikes on display from tiny
little ones for small children who were all completely natural with the riding style, through vintage pennies to modern machines with racing in mind - a couple had aero forks and there was some carbon on display (mainly as headset spacers). Mostly they were regulation black, Gray's had the most beautiful chrome frame and we saw one in pink with stick on butterflies although nobody rode that one.
Later we dragged Charlotte back to Launceston to look around the town, we went back to the wooden boat display and then compounded the misery of the day by walking up the Cascade Gorge in a cloud. We can always be relied upon to make a bad day worse!
Sunday dawned dry but windy, a text from Charlotte confirmed that the road race was on. We got on the bike and headed up to the Breadalbane roundabout where the racers would be turning left off the A1 towards Perth, we figured we should get some good photos there. I positioned myself on the central reservation with the Nikon and Vernon was on the side of the road with the Panasonic point-and-press while the Jaffanaut leant on a hoarding
next to him. Within minutes he had fallen foul of the first law of tandemming as a passing motorist stopped to ask him questions about the bike just as the first racers came through, so poor, polite Vernon missed the race leaders as he tried not to offend his tormentor. After the sag wagon passed us we headed to Clarendon House to see the finish but stopped on the way for more photos at the right turn back onto the A1, there was a policeman controlling the traffic there who had the most fantastic voice activated light system on his car, he yelled "On!" the blues turned on, he yelled "Off!" and they went off, we were impressed, especially when the car yelled back "Dad, should I turn the lights on again now?"
As we set off again I saw a woman at the side of the road waving a yacf cycling jersey, we pulled over and met Sandy and Martin (VeloYellow) who had come over to Tassie for the 600km audax and remained to see the high wheeler fun, a quick introduction and chat then we all headed off to Clarendon House to meet the finishers. We overtook
a few pennies on the way and got shouted at by various spectators that we were cheating by having gears, brakes and other such fripperies. When we arrived at the finish we were delighted to learn the Charlotte had placed second and Kat third in the women's race, they had both travelled from the UK for this weekend and it was absolutely sickening that the weather had defeated them in the criterion races on Saturday, for them both to place in the road race was fantastic.
I'll leave the last words to Charlotte who has plans to return:
"Unfinished business methinks."
Tot: 1.106s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 12; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0179s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb