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Cammish on....the "psych"!

Cammish on....the I have been told that getting "psyched up" properly is half the battle! Apparently you're supposed to go through the event time and time again in your mind....thinking positively all the time ... so that when it comes to the actual event itself you are ready for it and can cope with it in a positive manner. I tried this a few times myself but never quite got to grips with the idea because by the time the event came around I'd ridden the course so many times (in my mind) I was absolutely knackered! I also understand that you're supposed to remain totally focussed before an event and ignore what's going on around you. This is difficult when one of the early starters comes up to you up just before you start and tells you that they've just beaten the course record with a "short" 21 - you then have to turn yourself inside out to get anywhere near that...and then find out later that a "short" 21 is infact a 21-22!! (I'd call that "middling" 21......but.....hey...makes life interesting doesn't it?).....which is probably why Alf Engers, one of the grand masters of "psych", would always park well away from everyone else before an event. This had two benefits - one that he could "psych" himself up without fear of distraction -the other that he could "psych" out the opposition because they'd not know until the last minute whether or not he'd be riding. Pete Wells (former multi national champion) realised that Alf's absence from the event HQ was actually effecting his own preparation so he started getting involved in this mind game himself by doing exactly the same ...parking well away from everyone else and only turning up to the time keeper with 30 seconds or so before the "off". God knows where we'd be now if the RTTC hadn't introduced signing on sheets - as I don't think there's any course in the country that could accommodate a full field if we were all looking for somewhere discreet and remote to "hide" before the event! Neither do I think the Stock Exchange could have handled the knock on effect that this would have had on pre race tea and scone share prices!! The country would have ground to a halt! But I'm pleased to see the art of "psych" lives on - even if I occasionally find myself to be at the receiving end of it! Over the past few weekends I've had a couple of races against (among others) a chap who's been knocking out a few decent rides lately ...and...well... I've been keeping an eye on him! The first time we last rode against each other, I remember seeing him ride off up to the start with one of those camel-back things on his back. Not under his skinsuit but over the top! (Not very classy...me thinks!). Anyway, we had a chat before this weekend's event and off he goes again off up to the start with this bloody thing flapping around on his back. Come on me thinks, smarten yourself up...for god sake... what's the general public going to think? (My mental build up having gone completely out of the window by this stage!). Only just found out that the camel-back is ditched in the time keeper's car before he starts - apparently he forgot to pick it up after the weekend's race so will no doubt be resorting to other ingenious ways of distracting the opposition next time around. Camel-back? Yeah...very good but it doesn't beat this one IMHO! Alf (the King Engers) turned up at the National 25 Championship one year with the spankiest pair of white tubs ever seen on the British Time Trial circuit. While he was tucked away in splendid isolation preparing for what was about to come, Alf had sent his entourage off to make sure the opposition knew what they were up against. Nobody else stood a chance because Alf had the only pair of these tyres in the country - they were so "fast" all he had to do was sit on the bike and they would virtually go themselves!!! Unfortunately, this blatant effort to out-psych the opposition back-fired! Phil Griffiths took one look at them and without any hesitation told Alf's helpers that they'd been stuck on wrong! Apparently, the labels had to be on the "right side". Whether or not there was any truth in this theory isn't clear - Phil reckoned it was something to do with the construction of the tyre and rotation of the wheel - the tyres were so light if they weren't fitted correctly the tread was likely to peel off (apparently)! Yeah right!!!!! But it rattled Alf enough to make him use his number two set of wheels / tyres!! I can't remember who won the actual race but I've always had Phil down as the moral victor on that one! Quite looking forward to see what next weekend's races will bring.....

30 April 2007

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