Won a race once. AND DON'T YOU EVER FORGET IT

  • Epiphanies in the spiral of doom

    There was a new venue for this weekend’s NWCCA race in the leafy Cheshire suburbs, in the grounds of a out-of-town-farmers-market-cum-shopping-centre thing, complete with bemused looking Cheshire housewives driving to peruse and choose their bespoke hand crafted artisan housewares and cupcakes looking on as several hundred grinning, lycra coated cyclocross racers thrashed their bespoke hand crafted artisan push bikes round an utterly brilliant race course.

    A pre-race ride round the twisty, turny, up-y, down-y lap suggested it would be a good race. Corner after corner meant the racing could be close, but with enough ‘flow’ to keep the overall pace high. There was even an unofficial (but compulsory, in my mind) jump halfway round. The course designers had obviously lost their ruler when designing the course though, as I counted about 3 straight bits on the whole way round! Another dry week meant the ground was rock solid beneath everyone’s tyres – the V50 race was FAST, with no let up in pedalling needed to get round any of the bends. Rather than a series of accelerations, the whole thing was just one huge interval-that-never-ends. Ace. Mud is brilliant, but so are fast races. I kept my tyres pumped up comparatively hard, relishing the chance to get some lean angles going on in the corners during my race…

    …of course, bu the time the V50s had finished the morning sunshine (and jokes about needing ice creams to keep cool) had gone. By the time the V40s had fnnished hurling themselves round the bone dry route it had cooled off and there was a hint of drizzle in the air. By the time I hunkered down on the turo trainer to try and work some life into my tired feeling legs (I’d been doing more “efforts” during the week to get a bit of pre-National Trophy form going) that “hint” of drizzle was, well, proper drizzle and by the time we poor seniors & juniors actually lined up ready for the off it was just plain raining. Of course it was. What else.

    Those rock solid, super fast corners became evil looking “will I find grip? Will the wet grass fling me across the ground on my arse as my tyres give up?” moments of terror as the rain hammered down. For a couple of laps I took it quite gingerly, not at ease with the sliding about going on from the tyres, and saw the front of the race open up a big gap. It wasn’t until, halfway into the “spiral of doom”, on about my 3rd lap, that I realised the uncertain nature of the ground was brilliant fun. Instead of trying to micromanage every little movement underneath me, I gave the tyres more freedom. I tried to ‘flow’ with the slips and slides rather than boss them about and dabbed a foot when needed, rather than braking and trying to regain traction instantly. God it was brilliant. Just ace.

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    Trying to micromanage things that can’t be. I figured out you’re meant to enjoy it eventually… (Pic by Ellen)

    Don’t know where I finished yet, think it was 6th or 7th, I’d given the fast lads too much of a head start to do really well, but there was mud stuck in my teeth from the grinning as I crossed the finish line. If someone had shouted “who wants to go and do that again?” as I pulled up to catch my breath, I’d have been back on the course in a flash. That’ll do for me 🙂

     

    10:19 am on October 22, 2018 | No Comments | # |

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