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A Day at the Races
So Td’A 2009 held its first Battle of the Nations Team Time Trial today (alliteration unintentional). The rules were far from simple but here they are:
- Teams of Canadian Juniors, Canadian Masters, South Africans, Dutch, Britain and World.
- The race was 20km long
- South Africa and Britain team members had to switch jerseys and bikes for the first and last 1km, they had to get the race-starters a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit and had to dig holes to bury/ burn the organics and burnable waste before starting. The Dutch had to repair a bike chain and write the chorus of their national anthem in English before starting. The Canadian Junior team had to sing O’Canada, the Canadian Masters team had to sing O’Canada in French. The World team had to sing the first line of their respective national anthems. Naturally, these penalties were designed to give the teams with less strong riders a fighting chance.
- Teams were not informed of their penalties until 30 seconds before race time.
- Bonus points were awarded for most varieties of local flowers collected and funniest picture taken en-route.
- Each rider of the team had to lead their team for 1km minimum but could drop off once their turn had been completed
- Team times were recorded when the third person from their team crossed the line.
- Bribes were allowed to be offered to the judges.
- Points for creativity were awarded.
- The losing team would be required to make tea on demand for the winning team for the next 24hrs.
Despite the complicated rules, everything turned out to be a smashing success. Last night when riders were informed of the teams, nationalities broke off to discuss strategies. South Africans began finding ways to secure their flags to their bikes, this morning the camp awoke to a chorus of “GO CANADA GO”, followed by several British riders informing them to “Jog on!” The excitement was palpable and a morning wake up song of “Bicycle Race” by Queen was relatively warmly received.
The race went exactly as expected… slower riders took their turns at the front early on and then dropped off to collect bonus points, allowing the powerhouses to thunder towards the finish. Team World was severely constrained by having their three of their four strongest riders dropping a chain, blowing two flats and shattering a front hub. Somehow they managed not to loose, I don’t know how.
At the finish line groups of three bombed across and then awaited their countrymen. The South African front runners doubled back for some group photos and then rode across the finish line en masse singing their national anthem again in Xhosa, the British treated the masses with a rendition of, “God Save our Team” and Team World regaled everyone else with “haunting” rendition of “We Are the World”. Our cook James took charge of counting the flowers people brought across, occasionally asking if they in fact could tell the difference between a flower and a seed.
While the victors, Canada Seniors, clearly came in the win… the losers were harder to identify. Both the Dutch and British teams finished at the bottom of the pool with times 1 second apart. To break the tie both teams had roughly 5 minutes to dress one of their male team members as a woman. The British won that one and so the Dutchies will be making tea for the Canadians for a while.
I think that today was one of the best days on the Td’A. Everyone got into the spirit of this fun event, no one offered the judges bribes to hurt other teams, no foul play was attempted and the South Africans even threatened to have the race leader Mark killed if they didn’t win. Seeing how it was the Canadian seniors who were victorious, I am worried for ole’ Marky. Good thing he is the only one that can fix broken bikes.
Canada Masters: 34:45
South Africa: 36:45
Canada Junior: 36:47
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