So its been a while since my last update and a lot of things have happened since the last round in Hengrove. Work getting in the way mainly, illness and a new bike!
My first race back was Rd 8 of the Western League at Purdown, having not raced for a little while and I’d heard rumours about the course and its ‘hill’ I was a little apprehensive. The ‘hill’ didnt disappoint, also the fact it was about 300yds after the start was pretty emotional on the first lap! Legs fully loaded with lactic acid after about a minute of racing wasn’t ideal and as they say ‘what goes up, must come down’ which we certainly did further round the lap. A tight corner leading into a steep off camber grassy downhill section was the scene of many a crash. Fortunately for me they happened all around me but didnt affect me in any way. As the race progressed I got stronger and managed my self well around the lap. My result of 21st was a pleasant surprise but also a bit disappointing just being out of the top 20.
Due to work commitments I was unable to race in the next Western round, but was able to enter the Welsh League in Abergavenny. This coincided with the 2nd Rd of the HSBC National Series. The course was amazing, very professionally laid out and taped off and TV towers dotted around with full commentary. Some familiar faces from the Western League were amongst the starters, which gave me some targets to aim for. I really enjoyed this course which was fast and technical with only 1 large open field exposed to the wind. A result of 23 in a large and strong field with people from all over the country racing was very pleasing, especially beating some of the usual ‘league’ suspects by some margin on the day. The other benefit of living only 5 mins away from the venue was coming back to watch Tom Pidcock the reigning World U23 champion, school everyone the following day by riding away from the field and doing his now infamous victory wheelie across the line.
The next race was back in the Western League, Rd 10 at Lockleaze. Not my best! After a couple of reasonable results I was hoping to crack the ‘20’ barrier and get into the teens. How wrong I was, I went back wards from the start pretty much. I got away well and was about 12th going into the first corner, but as soon as we hit the open fields I had no power to keep with the group. The race turned into surviving not being lapped which I did by the skin of my lycra shorts! The last rider to make it over the line before the leaders finished! Very disappointing and a massive dose of reality that I’m not strong enough or fit enough to be competitive, finishing 26th!
So the next and final race of this blog update was back in the Welsh League, again due to work commitments. So up the heads of valleys road I went not sure what to expect. What I found was an absolute mud bath! Along with tight technical trails with steep climbs and fast rocky sections, with people suggesting in the paddock that you’d be better off on a MTB! Due to the parking being to far away for me to change the tires on my bike I had no other option but to ride on intermediate tires along with not being able to ride the course due to access it was a complete lottery how this was going to turn out! Well by far this has been my best race! Finishing 10th overall, which could of been 6th if it wasn’t for the dropped chain halfway round the last lap which allowed 4 riders past me, which I’d worked so hard to pass in previous laps. That said the course was definitely suited to me, with technical riding and risky descents, and no long fields requiring loads of power!
So I’m still learning in my first season, I’m also picking up a couple of injuries which are either from running into other bikes when dismounting or picking up aductor strains from swinging the leg over the bike during the race and probably not cooling down and stretching enough after the race! All things I can work on and improve over the winter and into the spring!
My next 2 races are going to be in the Welsh League again due to work commitments and the 2nd one will actually be the Welsh National CX Championships. So if you want to know more about my exploits in CX and fancy giving it a go then catch up with me on a Saturday club ride.
*Sorry no pictures as I cant work out how to upload them at the moment!!!*