To kick things off, we had five minutes where everyone got involved in warming up on the same tiny circuit and then we divided riders into two groups, coach Paul Wright went to the higher level with the youngsters while I stayed on the lower floor with everyone who said they could ride one-handed.
So could they ride one-handed? I think that was wishful thinking..... big-time.
The one-handed skills were put to the test by asking riders to take a child’s pink welly in one hand while on the move, then ride on towards a box with four yellow cones standing on top of it…. the skill being to throw the welly to knock off as many as cones as possible.
I thought we might have been there all day. The older stream of riders went first and they had to collect the welly themselves by leaning over and lifting it off a box….. but could they?….. most never got within a foot of grasping it.
The younger stream got a head start as the welly was put into their hand as they rolled gently forward….. so one panic less.
After a few thousand attempts we ended with a score of 7 – 4.
Earlier, there had been a bout of serious pedalling, with two trains of riders each positioned in a line behind an engine (i.e. an adult). One train (engine driver Doffy) had to ride in pairs, staying shoulder-to-shoulder, while the other train (engine driver Rob) individuals found themselves black flagged from time to time, brought to a halt in a siding, then on a whistle, challenged to sprint back up to the back of the distant train.
My prepared list of exercises didn’t include the 'dogs and rabbits' chase but somehow we ended up doing it (don’t ask me how)..... the surprise was how nifty some of the rabbits were (in evading capture) and how sluggish some of the dogs were (six Shreddies for breakfast is too much perhaps) .
Final race – older group, younger riders, 3-lap handicap
Final race – older group, older riders, 4-lap handicap
1 Hugh Graves
2 Harry Plumadore
3 Oscar von Speyr-Squibb