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March 9, 2012 No comments

It's a Long Road...World Cycle Race Update Number Three.

It's a Long Road...World Cycle Race Update Number Three.
In the WCR Grand Tour, the big adjustment from normal life to hammering solo on your bike for most of your waking hours will at this stage have been made by most of our racers. The rhythm of riding hard for ten, twelve, or more hours with barely a day off in between (barring illness or enforced airplane use) can have a frightening relentlessness to it from a certain perspective. The Grand Tour is not for the faint of heart - but its riders seem to have their respective end goals always in sight, and an awareness of events occurring beyond the immediate vantage point of their saddles. It's Life, lived in the moment but equipped with room for a view of the Big Picture, so to speak. If you can feel your pulse rate through your teeth, then it can only be "Buzzer", a sweet and doubtless fizzy drink of Turkish provenance which current race leader Mike Hall recently took on board. His drinking of said potion coincided with a near miss in Turkey, whereby a truck doing sixty seemed set on a collision course with him, only to thankfully swerve at the last moment. Due to the energizing and possibly hallucinatory effects of the Buzzer, Mike is now unsure whether the whole thing happened at all. He has clocked up over 5400 km, and still manages to write entertaining, lucid race reports from his Facebook page. Our big news this week, of course, is that the Boy is most certainly On His Bike. Jason Woodhouse has rejoined the fray and finds himself rolling towards Spain, doubtless to hit one of the pair of antipodal points which all record breakers must ride through in order to have their time ratified. Spain and New Zealand are roughly antipodal to each other, as are certain parts of Chile and Peru to patches of Russia and China. So far it doesn't look like any of our riders are going for the classic North Pole - South Pole variant. Why on Earth not? Stuart Lansdale is in Ukraine, having passed layers of border checks. He has also stopped getting punctures. But it's very cold in Ukraine at this time of the year, and his "bivvy" is unfortunately not equipped with central heating. If we interpreted a recent tweet of his correctly, Stuart has been using the ample supplies of Ukrainian snow to make hot chocolate. Talk about lemons and lemonade! We got some bad news from Stuart just as we were going to press to the effect that he had been involved in an accident en route to Kiev. Physically he's fine, but his fork has sustained heavy damage and his front bag rack has been somewhat mangled too. He seems to be in control of the situation, and we have just received word that he will be on the road again soon, but bypassing his originally scheduled route and heading straight to India.  After the battle he has waged across the continent, we are glad to see him heading toward warmer climes. Great show, Stuart! Sean Conway is second, and tweeted with magnificent understatement  "I'm quite tired now" after another 200+ mile day in baking Chilean heat. His daily averages also have hime realistically on course to approach Alan Bates 106 day record. Irishman Simon Hutchinson celebrated Seachtain na Gaeilge by leaving Bulgaria and heading into Turkey. Turkey, of course, is a rather Celtic place. It is widely asserted that European Celts migrated there around two and a half thousand years ago, and the province of Galatia (now Anatolia) was named for these conquering Gauls. Simon's fluency in his native tongue will therefore possibly be of assistance in reading the road signs for Ankara, which almost translates directly into Irish as "The Friend". A good omen?  He is now chasing Mike Hall towards the south of India. His girlfriend Nic has taken over his blog writing responsibilities as he is nearly dedicated to being on the bike every waking moment.  We were delighted to see our contribution to an evening of his German campaign noted: "Many thanks to Bregan Faika from Brooks and his wonderfully accommodating and helpful friends Lysann and Martin, as well as this thanks to Michael in Krakow and his cycling club ( find them at Warczace Szprychy on facebook or http://warczaceszprychy.pl ) who really gave Simon a dig out when he needed it. At home thanks to the one and only Jim Smith for his technical support  and Mandy Walsh for helping with the flights." Working after the Kevin Bacon principle, we at Brooks are quickly discovering how well connected we actually are, globally speaking, and we had hoped that an event like this would help to promote the spirit of cooperation we hold quite dear (Cue violins). Stephen Phillips strapped on the armour again after a day horizontal in Spain. He then made a charge for the Portuguese capital, making his connection with mere minutes to spare. Phew! He was three days in transit, which will hopefully have given his ankles time to reduce down to a more human circumference measurement.  Stephen is hammering down the East Coast at the time of writing this. Our first rider to hit U.S. soil, Martin Walker, has jettisoned some of his baggage, sorted a few of his bike's technical problems and now officially "put the hammer down". Oh, and if there are any American Strangers reading this, Richard Dunnett is in the United States now too, and has hitherto had little but headwinds and punctures by way of welcome. We are thus currently starved of any good data to massage into his KOSometer readings. His current location can be established via the race tracker, so feel free to find him and perform an act of Kindness. Richard discreetly destroying all lines. More updates to the K.O.S. index next week.