Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Racing on a Tandem

Last week during our usual Thursday morning blast up to Mona Vale and back, we had a new addition to the usual group riding with us.....a Tandem. We have had a couple of Tandems riding with the group over the years, however Ex MWCC Club president, Peter McNamara was piloting this and in the stoker seat was Australian Para-Cycling representative Matt Formston. Matt is a very good cyclist who happens to be blind, but that doesnt stop him getting out and mixing it up. 

As we finished our ride, I said to Matt, that if he was looking for others to help his training, I would be interested. Matt called me later that day and said did I want to do a setup ride the next day and then race with him on the following Sunday as he was 2 weeks away from going to LA to participate at the Para Cycling Worlds and he needed a big hit out.  We got together the next morning and did 60k on the Tandem. It is a very different type of riding to a conventional bike, with huge power available on the flats and downhill and very syncronised riding required for the uphills. First ride underway, we managed to stay upright and decided to race the following Sunday at West Head in the Manly Warringah Club race.

Race day came and I rode up, met up with Matt and we entered B grade. We knew we would struggle on the undulating course. B Grade was full with 29 starters who looked at us strangely as we lined up.  I was cautious for the first 5k as riding in a pack, on  a Tandem in a race is a bit daunting to day the least.  Finally with a little confidence and a bit of a down hill, I yelled at Matt "power one" and we cranked up the tandem to over 60kph! The power coming through the back of the bike with Matt stoking was amazing! It is a feeling of flying.....with all B grade strung out behind us!!!  Unfortunately they could catch us on the hills, and with a 180 degree turn  and a 200m uphill 700m  from the finish, we were never going to be able to win the day, but we caused all sorts of reaction everytime we attacked.

A good hitout for both of us and we talked about teaming up again, possibly at Nationals.  I wish Matt all the best in LA at the Worlds and hopefully the Olympics!

Here we are at the finish

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