Feature: What has changed?

Words by: Timo Cooper

By now its not uncommon that most things we knew have changed completely. Lining up for your next race will be different. Full Sus regular Timo Cooper explains.

Nissan Trailseeker

I cannot decide if I was more nervous, excited, or scared to race again. The only thing I knew for sure was that it will not be the same as the good old times. Racing used to be where I see most of my mates, enjoy a beer afterwards, share war stories and plan the next adventure. This is all in the past, now a race venue is like a nuclear site, mask, sanitizer, no you are not allowed to stand there you have an allocated dot. Yes, we had to stand on dots, kind of like school but worse as all I wanted to do was high five all the familiar faces and fellow riders, obviously this was not allowed.

After the temperature test, the usual questionnaire and five times of sanitizing it was time to find my dot on the start line. One thing that did not change was the tension on a start line, I think it was worse than ever before. All the riders had one goal in mind and that was to get some form of exposure for their sponsors. On the start line all the riders must use a mask but once the gun goes its pretty much back to the old days, riding in dust, spit, riders sneezing and all the normal fun of cycling challenges. I thought to myself, ok I was safe with my mask but as soon as the race starts its all back to normal, trust me this is not a bad thing, it just ads to the very unusual rules and the reasons for it.

The actual racing was fast and furious. I did not have my best day on the bike at all and with everything at least I have someone to blame now. Eli our four-month-old is not doing me or my wife any favours when it
comes to sleep and as you all know sleep is a massive part of any endurance sport. After the race I was super excited to catch up with my mates, but no luck there as well. “Sir please move on and leave the venue
if possible.” This is what I heard about four times before I finally decided to leave the venue. I ride and race my bike to build existing and new relationships but with the new regulations this is not possible and that to me is very sad. The regulations have taken away from the reason why most of us ride our bikes. This is a bold statement but until races return to normal most of us are better off just planning a ride with mates, at least we can still enjoy a beer and banter afterwards without being asked to leave the venue.

I do believe we also race to measure ourselves against other riders, but this too is not possible with all the different days and start batches. I hope it changes soon, I like, most of us, miss the real racing feeling and great times before and after these events.

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