Sneak peak at my new polo bike…
Wow what a weekend in Rouen!
Mallet Ballet registered for this now legendary polo event that takes place at the Stade de Exupery in Rouen, a beautiful historic city perched alongside the Seine. We left a cold, dark Cambridge at 6:00am on Friday only to take the worst route to Newhaven guided by my daftPhone. Despite the flawed route, we got to the ferry on time, boarded and quickly found Brendan of Dead Rappers. Rupert and Todd of Cosmic joined us shortly afterwards along with Le Big Mac (missing Mayeut as he hadn’t brought his passport!). We sat down for the 4 hour trip and soaked up the sunshine and tea. I always forget how slow ferries are, but we enjoyed the journey nonetheless, and soon we arrived at Dieppe and drove the hour or so to Rouen.
After getting a bit lost in the city, we arrived at the court and were welcomed by the french teams and the french weather, super cold! We played a few throw ins, I got a mallet to the face (thanks Luca for the cage!), and me and Josh had a heavy crash leaving bruises on us both. The court is super grippy and a perfect size. We met up with Maks of Hooks, and travelled the short distance to Guidolene, Roeun’s quaint bicycle repair shop, run by Bidou. We had many beers, a nice pizza and marvelled at the super cheap stock and bikes. I fitted a new brake cable to my bike, and Luca bought some sweet shoes. After much drinking, we went back to Maks apartment and talked for ages before settling down ready for polo in the morning.
Wow, what a cold morning. Chilled to the bone at 8am on Saturday but ready for some hard polo after eating a typical french breakfast of artisan bread and jam with delicious coffee. Our first game was against Rafale (Yogo’s team) and after a rough start, we managed to take the game 1-0. We squeezed two goals past Cosmicos but ultimately lost 4-2 after they turned up the heat, playing really well with Alej. We were treated to a superb lunch of cous-cous, chilli jam, chicken wings and a veg stew. Absolutely welcomed to offset the cold. Our next game was against Le Big Mac with a reformed team after Mayeut took the brave decision to travel back home (Seven Sisters, London), retrieve his passport, travel back to Newhaven and get the late ferry (named the ‘Seven Sisters’ aptly enough) to arrive in France very early that morning. We slotted three goals in, and kept a tight defence, starting to gel better as a team. Ultimately though, the long periods standing in the cold was taking its toll on our indoor primed limbs, and our last game saw us lose to Goal Diggers, a quick french team with Alex from Toulouse. We noticed during the day that the what the French players may lack in individual performance they make up for in amazing team work, seemingly knowing each pass before it has been played. We needed to step up to go further.
That evening was the present giving at the pub outside of Roeun Cathedral. To come indoors for pool (sorry Brendan and Spring Break ;) ), warmth, beer and pizza was brilliant. Josh and Adam raised the drinking stakes when they bought us all tequila, and the night got messy. Chair fights, lady challenges and dirty finger pint dipping ensued.
We all crashed out and woke up bleary eyed on Sunday late for the start. Our seeding meant we had to play a tough team, Ma Couille (Rob from Bordeaux), and we played a hard game to take it 3-1, with a goal from each of us. Our passing play was much better than yesterday. Next up, we had Cosmicos who again beat us. Really tough team to play, plus it was let down by Luca’s chain falling off and the ref not giving us a time out call despite gaining possession a few times. This put us in the loser bracket where we stood up against, again, Rafale. We linked up much better this time around taking them 3-1. This put us against Spring Break, who seemed to be in surprisingly good form after their heavy night of drinking. We had (probably foolishly) agreed that if we played each other we’d start the game facing the boards with a pivot turn charge. Luca decided that he’d suck at pivot turns at that precise time so unfortunately we lost the charge, but we played hard and fast giving as good as we got only to lose 3-2. We placed somewhere around 5th/6th, and unfortunately missed the final games for our ferry which by all accounts were very good indeed.
Sportsmanlike polo all round and a very much enjoyed weekend. Thanks to Maks for the hospitality and putting up with some drunken English louts for the weekend and to Rouen polo for the times! Thanks to Josh and Luca for the fun times and games. Roll on Rouen 2013!
I got My Vivalo track frame back last weekend from Ryan at Oak cycles and I have to say i am mighty Impressed by his work, the seat tube needed to be replaced as the original one had cracked in half. The work he did is very clean and crisp, it must have taken a lot of work to take the old tube out, grinding it and making sure the lugs were clean and the new seat post would fit in. The new one looks perfect, with a coat of paint It will look as new. Gonna save this one for the summer now though, to wet and dirty out there right now.
Cream had an incredible weekend last weekend at the London International Invitational, a great tournament set up by the LHBPA to show case bike polo to the crowds of the london bike show. It was a great idea to have the tournament as part of three shows going on in the excel centre in london, the bike show, boat show and out door show proved to have some pretty great things to offer, from going down a zip line, windsurfing in a swimming pool, to eating a massive amount of passstire from the outdoor shows market and of course an epic list of teams playing at the bike polo Tournament.
From Hooks to Tigers, they were all there. Some great games to watch, every game seemed a battle for all, with the standard so high the games were fast and hard. Cream played well on both days and even beat El Club in a defeat as surprising to us as to them, having to play some of the top teams in Europe can be a little intimidating, but by the time the second day rolled round we found are way and started playing well together. The court was great, perfectly grippy and a good size, there was plenty of space for spectators to see all that bike polo had to offer, at one point I think they were even three people deep which is great for bike polo as a still emerging sport.
We were knocked out fast on sunday, having spent the night before in londons favourite bike polo pub The Orwell, we were all feeling surprisingly good. Spring Break the first game of the day, they came out fast and put away a few goals quick, we got a couple back and with a crowd pleasing BB shot from Lee I thought we were in for a chance, althoguh spring break can really turn it on and beat us out with a 5-2 win.
So the rest of the sunday was spent spectating and Boy it was some pretty amazing polo to watch. there were a few upset of the day, two being L’equipe and Call Me Daddy getting knocked out pretty early on in the stages. I have to say I was very impressed with Dead Rappers play, having only really knocked the ball around together before the tourney, the link up play between Emmet and Cambridge’s Luca was a sight to behold and was the reason they made it all the way to 4th on there debut Tournament. Although the real stars of the show were Hooks, their game is just getting stronger and stronger, I am sure we will see them as Euro Champions this year.
A great weekend captured by Jono of Spring Break in the video below.
So after getting completely soaked recently I decided its time for a bike with mud guards, Good lights and Cross tyres. With the winter period coming in full force recently this year I really wanted a sensible bike for the weather conditions. I didn’t think my new Vivalo frameset was a good candidate, so I am going to save that for summer and decided that my old reapaired pompino was the perfect fit.
Old polo things=Frame and fork, saddle, brake, Nokon cable.
Nice stuff=Phil wood on open pros, sugino 75’s
sensible stuff- Schwalbe CX Comp Tyre 35c, Sks full length mudguards, crane creek brake levers and road bars.
Video Eddie made a little while ago, Just a bit of sillyness really.
Me, Bogey and Luca headed down from Cambridge on a cold friday night to watch Bogey play in his league team and play a couple throw ins. The last game of the night descended into what could either be called madness or pure inspiration, one of the first games i have ever seen or played in where someone has ridden a tall bike while playing. there were a few scary moments, but mostly it was pure fun.
It pretty funny, On sunday at the cambridge warehouse we played a mixed game of bike polo and roller hockey. We share are space with Cambridges devision of the roller derby world ” the romsey town rollerbillies” and they challenged us to a mix game, them on skates with hockey sticks and us on bike with polo mallets. It was amazingly great fun, they were super quick and turned in a split second. only two or three really major crashes happened, but was mostly pretty quick and well controlled. The game were really even as well, the skaters had really good ball control and i thought that goaling for them would be impossible, but they were bloody good and took a while to work out how to score on them. pictures and a short video soon maybe, think people took some on sunday.