The Team Grumpy rules

Rule #1. Remember to make your excuses before the race, not after. Otherwise it will just sound pathetic.

Rule #2. Don't tinker with your bike the evening before the event. It will break, either then or, worse still, during the event.

Rule #3. If all else fails, buy some new bike kit.

Rule #4. And if rule #3 fails, new skinsuits are probably a good option.

Rule #5. Never train or race with a bad cough - it will destroy your entire season.

Rule #6. Tantrums are appropriate if provoked (e.g. by mechanical problems), but try to avoid damage to equipment.

Rule #7. Team Grumpy riders are allowed to use whatever equipment they wish (and their wallets permit). However, the official team energy drink is always pop belge.

Of course, our seven rules pale in comparison to the Velominati rules.

Team Grumpy regrouped this weekend for the 2-up 32km sporting course time trial organised each year by the Icknield Road Club. This was the day after Grumpy Bob's club time trial round the Astwood sporting course, after which he suffered a rear tub puncture about 2 miles from home during his ride back home - which necessitated a trudge home along the verge since he couldn't get the tub off the disk wheel. Once home, he cleaned up the bike and shoes. Note this latter point as it becomes important later...

Later in the evening, Team Grumpy indulged with the now traditional Leffe and a visit to the local Thai restaurant (of course with added beers). By sheer stupidity on Grumpy Bob's part, Team Grumpy also consumed a quantity of Norman cider.

As a direct consequence the team was feeling rather jaded (the cynical might even suggest hungover might be a better description) on the morning of the race. 'Grumpy' Art Vanderlay suggested it was as well that the start timekeeper wasn't equipped with a breathalyser.

Team Grumpy had hopes of completing the event this year in contrast to 2009's event, where the two riders rode separately after 'Grumpy' Art suffered a series of "punctures" which delayed his arrival at the start line.

Once at the Pitstone village hall race HQ, TG quickly got their numbers and set the bikes up with enough time to ride over to the start and warm up. Unfortunately a severe problem arose. Grumpy Bob's shoes just would not clip onto his pedals. (Remember the walking in the verge bit above?) The problem seemed to be that Speedplay pedals have the clip in the shoeplate, and this seems to be sensitive to mud.

'Grumpy' Art produced a collection of screwdrivers and a Swiss army penknife, and despite enterprising use of the bizarre tool that such knives always have that is supposed to be for getting stones out of hooves (or something like that), the clips could not be made to work. Faced with this, TG had no option but to send 'Grumpy' Art off to ride the event solo.

So once again, the Icknield event was a bit of a disaster for TG. 'Grumpy' Art rode round in about 50 minutes (though no time was recorded on the result board, merely 'DNF'), dodging the numerous potholes that have opened up this winter.

And so Team Grumpy maintain their 100% record of DNF in 2010 2-up time trials.

As a postscript, Grumpy Bob did eventually restore his shoeplates to a functional state, but not in time to get a ride. But there's a lesson there.