UltraHumps: Cycle Event With Corruption Or Confusion…You Decide
Hi blog followers
By now many of you would of picked up that I am overseas with work for a number of months, so Coach Ray and I had to stretch our brains on what training I should be able to do once I described to him what was available in this location. With no swimming pool so it’s running either on a treadmill or on the road, and hitting an exercycle or a mountain bike on the roads within a close area of where I am. My boss and I signed up for a cycle event we came across of 115 kms. I hadn’t been cycling for two months and didn’t have my own gear, so what could possibly go wrong?
After giving Coach Ray a quick heads up as Registration was closing, I found out who had a road bike on location and bribed them with a packet of Tim Tams to borrow it. The bike frame was completely the wrong size and being a shorty I guessed where the seat should be – it felt about right. Luckily it had cages to slide running shoes into on the pedals as I had no cycling shoes with me. In fact I only had cycling shorts and as I was soon to find out they were past their use-by date for padding. I borrowed a helmet and cycling top and headed off with only one drink bottle that I got when checking in for registration as part of the registration bag.
This event was 2 x laps of 58 kms. Now I didn’t exactly get a great mark for School Cert Maths (or whatever they call it these days for the 5th Form or Year 11), but to me that makes an event of 116 kms. They said 1 lap was a 58 km event and 2 laps was a 115 km event (I should of seen how this was going to unfold). I knew there was going to be set time cut-offs, but even though I hadn’t been cycle training for two months I was confident it shouldn’t be problem.
I met the timings for the first lap, but it soon became clear the bike set up was completely wrong for me. Being a stubborn git I just pushed through, and as for the cycling pants which I had owned for about 6 to 7 years, I may as well have thrown them in the bin as I had obviously worn the padding out and man my butt was sore.
Into the second lap and I was conscious I was within my time-frames. Then in the middle of a two-lane roundabout myself and a European teenager were pulled over by the police and told we were withdrawn as we were outside the time cut off. I stopped my Garmin and closed it down saving the result thinking that doesn’t sound right, but who am I to argue with the police. The teenager said to me we had 10 kms to do in 40 minutes for the next cut off. I asked this foreign cop how much are we over (meaning time) and he said how much to continue (meaning dollars). I couldn’t decide if he wanted money or he was unsure what I was asking, but when a Race Official turned up he got on his police motorbike and took off. Noticing the Race Official was busy on the phone I said to the teenager “F#$%^ it, lets keep going” and we started riding our bikes on the footpaths whenever we saw the cops so we couldn’t get fined in this country for riding on the roads after the cops told us not to. The Race Official pulled up beside me and said we were well inside the time-frames so keep going, so we moved back on the road and noticing the Official Vehicle was staying with us as she picked up what had been happening we went for it.
Further down the road after another 15 kms or so, another Race Official diverted us to take a different route to the course we were following. He said there is a Camel Race going on so we have to go another way as the Official Car for the Camel Race will be on the tarsealed road that we would be cycling on. Then he got off his phone and announced he had to pull us off the course, as the motorway we were now on, which was 8 lanes wide will be a problem. So I stopped my Garmin again and shut it down, feeling a bit of a WTF moment. However when cyclists that were behind us went past and weren’t stopped I lodged a protest as to why could they finish. This Race Marshall then allowed us to continue, but we had to stay in a bunch. Everyone took off, but I had to get my bike off the Cycle Recovery Trailer and put the front wheel back on. I decided to take off and chase down the bunch before he changed his mind with me being left behind reassembling my bike.
As I headed up a flyover on the motorway a Bike Mechanic Support Crew waved me down. I stopped and by now I was cussing under my breath. He said “keep going, you’re doing well”. I got back on my bike and followed the route to the finish line, quietly laughing to myself. Swearing in this country attracts an instant fine. I crossed the finish line receiving my Finishers Medal and Finishers T-Shirt and checked my Garmin later and added up the distances from all the power off and power on loads and I had covered 104.3 kms out of the 115 kms for the event, due to the Race Official changing the course because of the Camel Race.
I was happy until I went on-line and checked the results. I could not believe it. I and the others that followed the direction of the Race Official were listed as DQ – Disqualified. An email said they would look into it when I questioned the DQ. I knew I hadn’t crossed a transponder mat where the Camel Race was on, but my thoughts are that I followed the direction of the Race Official so how can I be disqualified. If I ignored the Race Official I’d deserve to be disqualified. Once I pointed that out they didn’t reply to my email. Oh well, I’ve never had a DNF (Did Not Finish) or DNS (Did Not Start), so now my first DQ. If they wish to DQ me for their mistake so be it, but I am not sure why they gave me the Finishers T-Shirt and Finishers Medal…they look pretty sharp too :-).
Take care team
Regards John Humphries (UltraHumps)
Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust.
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