Thoughts on the season by Les J Parkinson
Over the years with writing I have spoken to an awful lot of pigeon fanciers and made many friends throughout the sport. And even though I no longer race I still think a lot about racing pigeons and how the races and season has gone, and also talk to a lot of fanciers so about the races so I am not completely away from them. There is so much to think about in the sport and when they are not in the garden you think even more about them, that is if they are in your blood so to speak.
I do wonder why some fanciers who put so much into their birds never appear to get to the top of the list on a consistent basis. They will get the odd prize, fanciers nearly always do, in the build up to that odd race or two wins, everything has gone their way. We have all seen this on the results and wonder why, well that has been their day and they cannot give you the answer why.
However, when you look at the top fanciers, they are consistent in what they are doing with their pigeons and this shows through with the results. I was talking to a top winner the other day and I asked him what he does to win. I expected a few more words than I actually got, when he said, “I do nothing special, just feed and train them” Now we all know that is not strictly correct because winners appear to know that bit more than most others in the sport, which is why they win so much. They are good stock people and know what it takes to bring a pigeon to peak fitness and maintain it over several weeks.
Athletes are training most days of the week, firstly to maintain a level of fitness and then nearer the event they step up a gear. They do have food specialist who advise on what and when they should eat certain foods. They also have fitness instructors who through experience know when to start and finish a fitness regime. Having said that, without their own determination they would not get there in the first place.
With racing pigeons, it is a similar system, the fancier has worked out what and when they need to give their pigeons and also when to star and finish training. I know that there are fanciers who say they don’t train pigeons after the first race, or at least for the widowhood system. These fanciers will still win but if they put in that bit extra effort training their pigeons when they are racing, they would win far more. The problem is most fanciers are getting older, when we were younger, we would spend more time going down the road but as we get older, we tend to think we have done enough and get a bit tired of all the road work. I used to love driving but not anymore. There are a few who get into their 60’s and are as keen as they ever were which is why they keep winning.
There are also fanciers who move from sprint to middle distance racing to the longer races and find that they don’t need to train so hard, they also need to be a bit more careful about conditioning them. Winning the shorter races is the easiest to do because if you have a batch of pigeons and train them hard, they will produce winners. Whereas if you are racing 600 to 800mls there is a bit more to the pigeon wanting to keep going mile after mile over many hours. This is where we need to know what to give them when making changes. From my own experience I found that they needed more oil-based products than the sprinters do. Fill those energy sacs and they will keep going longer.
At the end of the day we all do what we need in the sport to satisfy our needs within pigeon racing. There are also many fanciers who keep going whether they win or lose because they love the sport so much, we need them all.