It was the last race of the Western CX season, lovecrossed at Chavenage house. I started my last race thinking of retirement and feeling out of place. It was cold and I was feeling out of condition, not having raced for nearly 2 months suffering first from an injury then a chest infection that just robbed me of the ability to ride far less train. I did think of withdrawing, but it was the end of the season and the bike and I ought to give it a last go.
The race started and I was gridded on the front row, but not surprisingly I dropped down from the leaders. The conditions were muddy and to be honest I had to back out of it as my breathing was becoming too ragged, so the tactics became one of trying to carry as much speed as possible round the corners, and it started to become fun again. I managed to pass two riders at the end of the first lap, and I started to regain lost ground, when I carried just a bit too much speed round a corner and the ground rushed up to meet me. This event was novel in that there was a large crowd, so as I hit the ground I could hear a woman take a very dramatic anxious deep breath while the man next to her burst into laughter. It did not hurt as the there was plenty of mud but being committed and clipped in meant it took a long time to unclip get up again etc. And that was my race over part way through lap 2.
The course was long and varied. From the start a boggy piece of grass that was churning nicely, then through a wooded section where a compacted mud line started to form, up and down a couple of ha ha’s along past the other side of the finish line, over the boards with a raving MC, through a sandpit, then a long section with a steep drop followed by a long trudge back up hill, and at the top a long slow drag uphill on muddy grass against the wind to the start. Lovely.
In a away I quite enjoyed it, the lack of performance was annoying as I know I could do better, but the sand pit was not as bad as I thought, low gear and hit it in a straight line with good cadence was the secret. Plus to lift the mood on the last lap I managed to nearly go as fast as my first lap and nearly made a place back while dropping 3 other riders in that drag uphill against the wind. The event had a touch of carnival about it, a young lady went down where I crashed earlier to a great cheer and Si from GCN could be seen racing later getting a lot of stick for not bunny hopping the boards from the crowd/MC.
How did the season end, well I was 12th in league better than I expected, in fact not bad given I only had 8 not 10 counting races (1 lost to illness, and 2 rounds cancelled.) Thoughts of retirement? Perhaps/perhaps not, the issue is injuries take longer and longer to recover from these days. I will be more careful on the rounds I do and importantly the ones I will not. I do need to get my breathing sorted, perhaps borrow a TUE from sky or something so that is under investigation. Denfurlong is one to miss, injuring my hamstring slipping trying to get through that quarry and I should have stopped. The best think about that round was the photo’s of me falling off while failing to power up the banking, the right leg was just not working And in more good news Strava tells me I am at about the same place now as I was in May of last year, so while things have held me back it is a lot better than a broken arm.