Last weekend saw the Charge Bikes Cobble Wobble take place in Frome, Somerset. The event has gone from strength to strength in its short history and now attracts big name riders from across Europe. Crazy when you consider it is a 30 second sprint up a cobbled street!
We sent all-round bike rider Dave Jaquin over to take part and see if he could contend with the pro riders:
The Charge Cobble Wobble course is ‘only’ a short, uphill sprint, but it’s enough to leave competitors with sore legs and that ‘exploding lungs’ feeling…
Wobbly on the Cobbles
Words: Dave Jaquin All photos: Charge Bikes
Preparation, we are told, is key in preventing piss poor performance. This riddle was not just identified but thoroughly executed in a my attempt on the Cobble Wobble.
With preparation involving a few pints with an ex King of The Cobbles the evening after my works Christmas party it was never going to be the performance of a honed athlete. Luckily for me the Cobble Wobble isn’t really about that, it’s about having fun. Much banter is had between competitors on the start line and with talk of tyre pressures, gear ratio, bike weights and how much you had for breakfast making up the volume of chit chat it’s difficult to take too seriously. Some however are there in no way to make up the numbers. Atherton, Ashton, Lacey and Prokop (who took the win in the end) are there to win. They, I expect, prepared a little better than I did.
Those cobbles… Our man on the ground, Dave Jaquin, struggled for grip and even more so for the energy to sprint uphill for 30 seconds (too many parties!). But he had a great time and “will be back”.
So to the ride: anything under 30 seconds commanded some respect at the bar but those breaking the 25 second mark were headed for the numbered steps. The weather was poor and cobbles are hard enough to ride without them being greased. Nerves grew, I had opted to go for my road bike for my attempt, thin tyres however proved a little squirmy on the slick cobbles and after a start akin to falling up some stairs I was off. The crowd at the Cobble Wobble are great, as I felt top spot slip from me they lifted me up and hurled shouts of encouragement in my direction.
Crowds turn out in their hundreds every year for the Cobble Wobble. Prokop took the win this time round.
I had been warned of a drain after the bend in the hill which should be avoided at all costs. And at this point I was about ready to cough up a and lung I hit it, which led straight into the beginnings of a tank slapper… I was fortunate enough not to lose the rear end and straightened up for my attack on the last stretch of the hill. Now the legs burned, gearing was wrong, tyres still sliding but good fun none the less. I eventually crossed the line after what seemed an age to the best dressed MC I have seen, dressed in silver leggings and a very nice Charge Christmas jumper. He looked more than festive.
It’s not all serious stuff at the Cobble Wobble…far from it.
After, I watched the fastest, best dressed and most fun loving riders sprint, roll and meander their way up the hill. There was a tandem, a robot, various festive offerings and some trials rider called Ashton setting a blistering 23.15s on his Road Bike Party Pinarello Dogma!
After qualifying the rain set in and that left the top boys to battle it out, with the four-cross/BMX riders eventually taking the top three spots. Michal Prokop took the win, Lewis Lacey in second and Ryan Stack in 3rd. Then it was time for more ‘preparation’ and the after party went on long into the night. I know I’ll be back next year and aiming to actually put a decent time in, honest.
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