28 degrees is not the temperature required for your first foray into the mad world of the London Cyclocross League.
Over 150 seniors, women and veterans lined up for the VERY mass start. The first rise meant that many had dismounted and I managed to follow Phil up the inside and gained over 15 places. The procession then began until the first ascent of Big Bob where carnage ensued, again another chance to gain another 6 places. I managed to stay with Phil around the rim of the velodrome and on to the GRASS (horrible stuff) this part of the track seemed to take an age until more carnage at the first attempt of the double hurdle. TECHNIQUE certainly pays off as again due to others misfortune another 7 or 8 places gained.
I managed to hang on to Phil’s wheel for four laps, he would get slightly ahead on the grass and I would catch him on the singletrack. Then I made the fatal mistake of trying to muscle past him on Big Bob, we both crested the hill at the same time and were shoulder to shoulder down the hill to the sharp right hander where we had a coming together, I got tied up in the tape Phil had a chain off.
We both recovered and completed the singletrack with me on the front until that pesky grass. Now on lap 5 I could feel the legs beginning to burn, the cornering was getting sloppy, looming straight ahead was the double hurdle and Phil, think think TECHNIQUE and lo and behold I am flying over the hurdles and past Phil and about 6 others, this was probably my last hurrah as within 30 metres Phil started to disappear into the distance.
The next problem was how long have I been riding and how long is left – Just hang on drop down a gear get into a rhythm, just keep pedalling. Lap 6 was hell then on lap seven just as I am about to approach Big Bob for what my lungs beg is the last time I hear the bell. I am hoping now for a surge of energy but it doesn’t come, the heat is taking its toll, surely the leaders will pass and I can finish on this lap. Just my luck as I pant my way past a concentrating, smirking Jason Cattermole who is working hard on his laptop, I too get the bell which means one final lap now the surge of energy and relief kicks in. I have very nearly completed my goal of finishing my first cyclocross race. Once more up Big Bob, once more over the GRASS and the finish is in sight. Sprint for the line – not a chance, maybe next time!!!!!
What a fabulous experience which I can highly recommend to all.
See you all in Marden next Sunday.
Mad I hear you say – NO just a little crazy!!!!!!!!!!