Growing old disgracefully

  • Macclesfield goes wrong again

    I do like the course at Maccclesfield. It’s “proper” cyclocross to me. Fast, wide (so you can race side by side for the most part), plenty of off cambers, tight corners, short uphill slogs and some big ring fast sections. Brilliant stuff. I hate going there though, as something always seems to go wrong. Last year I slipped a pedal off the start, stuffing the big chainring into the back of my leg in the process (the scar’s still there!) and this year was no better.

    Off the start a non-descript effort saw me not loose too many places, which was good enough for me. I was still in the ‘front end’ as it were and, as we crossed the finish line for the 1st time I started to settle into the race. A gentle shift up one gear at the back for the muddy uphill corner and…


    A god awful sounding noise and suddenly I can’t pedal. At all. I try to back pedal a bit, thinking something’s got stuck in the rear mech/cassette/I’ve got chain suck. Nothing. The pedals are utterly jammed.
    The race flows quickly past me as I leap off and start wrestling with a slightly-too-short chain that’s somehow ended up in the big chainring/big cog at the back combo and ended up locked solid. The mech, though still attached thankfully, looks hideously stretched and I’m fearful everything might explode if I just use brute force to get things going again. A minute or two stood st the side of the course, right next to the commentator who gleefully narrates my predicament to the spectators, sees me manage to wrestle the chain off the big ring by bending it in as gentle a way as I can muster. I clamber back aboard with the phrase “Well, he looks like he’s got it going again. The only positive for him is that he’s got 50 minutes to try and get back in the race” ringing in my ears.

    Of course it’s an Ellen pic

    With any hopes of a decent finish gone I use the first lap to work out what my plan of attack is going to me. Drop out and save wear and tear on the bikes? Bimble round at the back?


    I can’t do “well” but I can give myself a bloody good workout on a great course. So I do. I start chasing down everyone in front. Start working my way back through the field. Make sure I’m pushing myself all the way. Testing myself on the off camber corners. Pushing on , on sections where other people seem to be trying to recover. Occasionally crashing, but making a note of where I crashed and making sure I nail that bit the next time around.

    12th in the end. Can’t be “happy” with the result, but content enough that I kept going and got a decent ride in.

    National Champs next. Really hope I can put in a decent performance…or at least not get pulled before the end!


    11:28 am on January 4, 2018 | Comments Off on Macclesfield goes wrong again | # |