Ulverston cyclocross
Pic by…ME! For once…

A new (to me, it’s been used in the past apparently, but I’ve never raced there) venue last weekend – near Ulverston in Cumbria. Parking up in the car park for an industrial complex had me slightly worried about riding over toxic waste or something* but a short walk to the actual venue laid any fears to rest as the race itself was being held right on the coast, with views from the start straight across Morecambe Bay. Properly lovely, with a beach and everything – where most of the under 12s seemed to disappear off to immediately after their respective races (and who can blame them!)
The course was brilliant, fast flat bits, short sharp climbs,s a few little descents to fling yourself down, off camber bits (right outside the sign on building, so you always had an audience for the tricky stuff…making for a great atmosphere) and several different types of mud. Yep, different types of mud. Some “catch you out” slidey stuff on the flatter, grassier sections, some “clog your bike up” stuff on the swoopy up-down bits round the back of the course and even some stodgy “make it hard work” stuff on the climbs. Brilliant. It remained all rideable too, which made it even better.

Unsurprisingly, the race itself was really good, with different sections suiting riders strengths/weaknesses so people would get gaps/close up/overtake/get dropped etc as it progressed. No mechanical issues for me this week, with bike changes taking place just to make sure I didn’t knacker anything drivechain related by riding it with too much mud stuck in the mech. No brilliant result either, but I felt good and rode quite well (for me, in fact I found myself genuinely enjoying sliding the bike around a bit!) with no crashes, just a few minor mistakes allowing a gap to Martin to open up which meant I finished in 5th.

I also (accidentally!) shoulder barged a marshal as he tried to repair a bit of course tape on one of the tighter corners mid-race. Apologies to him for that!

*GSK actually make antibiotics there (I think…) so it anything, it’d probably be the cleanest, most sterile race course ever!