Turf Blog 30-09-23

Turf zone – ArthursSeat

The big day has arrived, the Scottish Turf Open Championships have begun and I’m poised to take part in the Scottish Turf Open Bike Championship. I’ve stationed myself on the south boundary of the event area, just north of Edinburgh University King’s Buildings. I’ve no plan other than to start taking zones and see what happens after that. And as it turned out any plan I might have devised would not have remained intact for long.

To date I’ve only participated in smaller events but this event had 52 turfers competing and turned out to be something else entirely. Managed a few zones without issue then I started encountering other turfers. Then it was a case of planning each and every zone one at a time. With so many turfers all competing for the zones, it was pot luck if you would have time to reach any given zone before someone else arrived first and took the zone.

Today I’m riding my Harley Quinn single speed, normally a chilled and gentle bike to ride but today was pure crazy mental. I’m rushing about like a mad demon-thing, weaving through the heavy Saturday traffic on Morningside Road, almost clipping a pedestrian who was not looking where she was going, forcing traffic to get out of the way and taking no prisoners. As the 90 minutes of the event progressed my head starts thumping, not helped by the migraine I had yesterday evening. Or should I say didn’t have. It’s strange really. I start getting the migraine aura but no thumping migraine headache. Yet next day I suffer the after effects, an annoying headache and nausea. Rather annoying.

And I find myself pushing hard, even though I know I’ve no chance against the giants of Scottish Turf, such as Hodge, and MarkkuEsoc who was the ultimate winner with 1218 points. Forced to stop at traffic lights, I find myself thinking, I could just slip along the pavement and save a few precious seconds. It’s all a bit Premium Rush, a movie themed around bike messenger in Manhattan. I stop myself before I become a hooligan and get arrested. Okay, I only cycled on the pavement a little bit and didn’t crash into anyone.

Then there’s the frustrations. One is where I forget that the take time is 30 seconds when I’m used to a 19.40 second take time. Twice I slipped into normal turf mode and rode away before letting the take finish, both losing time. Then there the GPS issues when the turf avatar would just not get into the zone. I gave up on that one. Add to those not knowing how to access some of the zones and getting pipped at the post by another turfer. Then there’s the times I’m heading for a turfer free area only to get there and find turfers appearing from nowhere, as if they’ve teleported in! Frustrating but all part of the game.

To be honest I decided to slow down a bit and enjoy the event more, not bothering too much about taking zones and trying to simply enjoy riding the single speed across Edinburgh. I even stopped in the Meadows area and scoffed down a sandwich and some chocolate. By the end of the event, I’d taken 25 zones, 23 of them unique, cycled 9.8 km (about 6 miles) and gathered 706.45 points. This placed me in 21st place out of 52 competitors. As my teachers used to write on my report cards, could do better if he tried!

Popped into the event base at Summerhall afterwards, chatted with a few turfers but got very distracted when turfer Artful appeared with a Sonder Camino in Titanium! Drool! That’s a gravel bike for those who don’t know. Very nice but a shame they come with drop handlebars and no single speed option! But despite the frustrations, finishing on middle of the groups and that annoying headache, it was jolly good fun. So many thanks to Walter and his helpers for organising the events.  Oh, almost forget, added another medals to the collection, the Eventor.

And to finish. I’ve been gathering together a list of organised bicycle rides (not races) in Edinburgh, with the aim to create a blog page with a few more details of each. However, here’s the list at the moment for anyone interested.

Back with more exciting adventures soon.

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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