Sunday, 15 November 2009

Riding 'Cross

Suffering, up a muddy track
in a field, yup, I'm 'Cross racing!

So, there I was, on the start line, doing the one thing I said I'd never do: I was about to start my first cyclocross race. Despite not owning a cyclocross bike, I had shoehorned some 700C×28 knobbly tyres into my Kaffenback touring bike, not really your ideal racing snake, and here I was. Time to brace myself for an hour of pain, I was about to start racing at the latest round of the combined Sussex County and London 'Cross Leagues!

At the end of the hour I had confirmed to myself what I already thought I knew. I suck at 'cross racing. It was kind of fun though ;-)
Having hurt myself a huge amount, and for my worst result for a very long time (and for a very long time to come, hopefully!), I am glad I had a go. I didn't have the legs or the bike, but I went with a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. I think I "get" it, but there's too much other riding on my to do list for the time being for me to make a winter season of it. I'm sure I'll be back though.
Seemingly having it all under control... this wouldn't last very long at all
It was clear to me from the first 5m off the line, having had fleeting hopes of bursting off the line with the leaders, that this was not to be my day, as I watched my Morvélo team mate, Phil "The Horse" Moore, slowly pull away. The grassy hill that followed only confirmed this further to me. Time to knuckle down for an hour of damage limitation then!
Running up a muddy hill with a bike on my back
Disappointingly, exactly what I thought I might find myself doing when I got out of bed that morning
My Dad had chosen this is the first race to come and watch me compete in of the year, and was a little bemused as to why I would eventually end up getting lapped (it was a very short lap!), not just by the leader but by my team mate, Phil, too.
Trying very, VERY, hard (not quite got so much under any control at all by now!)
I did try, and how, but a tough league race, mid season with everyone else having had a few races in their legs and me coming off the back of a post-season "rest", was never going to be pretty, and was was duly thrashed. I did smile though, a lot, and I was more than happy to have gotten out of bed to put myself through it all.
Well, I seem to think it went well here at least!
Not only did I get to ride my bike hard and (sort of) fast, spend the morning with friends and generally slide around in the mud, but I got a lovely animated GIF of myself riding around a corner out of it too. I mean, what's not to like.
Struggling up, let alone to run up, a steep muddy hill, I got a proper cyclocross expereince and another box ticked :-)

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