Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

December 12, 2018


Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 1:00 pm

First up – that name needs to stick. If that race takes place again (a new round of the Yorkshire CX league, held in the quaint village of Giggleswick), it needs to be called GiggleCross. It was partly the name of the location that convinced me to head over the border to have a go at it: Giggleswick. Brilliant. I want to live there just for that. I also want to live there because it’s a gorgeous little Dales village surrounded by some of the best scenery these Isles have to offer and any excuse to go and spend time over there is welcome 🙂

Anyway, after a couple of races that haven’t gone too well I was looking to get a ride in with no stress – just race my bike without being massively interested in the result. As a Yorkshire league race I wasn’t worrying about how many points I’d get – plus as it clashed with a National Trophy race it wasn’t a counting race anyway – so for me it was just a chance to rag a bicycle round a course kindly set up by someone for an hour or so. Perfect.
Even better, when I arrived I found the course to be totally different to your average CX race. Making use of the local terrain the course had elements of old school XC running races (with steep unrideable run ups, bridges and the like), MTB courses (with plenty of opportunity to choose lines on the descents – off the little drop, or round it to keep a wider, smoother line etc), big splash opportunities through river crossings and some wonderfully swoopy bits of hardpack singletrack that appeared to be part of a purpose built MTB course winding it’s way down the hillside. Of course, the ubiquitous long, grassy field drag was still in there, as were the tricky off camber climbs/descents, just in case you were missing them. Great, a chance to practice skills rather than just blast round something – just what I wanted!

I hung around to watch the youth races (fair play to all the kids riding those descents – great stuff!) and have a couple of goes round the course before toddling off back to the car to get set up for the race. I planned to stay on one bike if at all possible, so dropped a spare bike in the pits in the hope of not needing it, before nipping off for a little pootle round the local lanes in place of a proper warm up – any excuse to gawp at the classic 3 Peaks scenery (I noticed I wasn’t the only person doing this 😉 ).

With no ranking points I didn’t bother heading over to the start early to get gridded. I wasn’t fussed where I was at the beginning of the race, in fact queuing up a couple of rows back in a little huddle of NWCCA riders was quite pleasant. Saying all that, I got a decent start and by the first real obstacle I’d made up quite a few places, managing to avoid the traffic jam over a bridge to the compulsary run up.
As the race went on I worked my way up through the rankings for the most part – sliding out under the tape on one lap cost me what felt like minutes, as I battled at the side of the course to untangle myself from the tape (in reality it won’t have been more than about 20 seconds, but it doesn’t half feel like forever!). Rather than race ‘all out’ I tried to stay smooth, look for better lines round each section of the course and ride clipped in as much as possible. It seemed to work quite well and I was feeling pretty pleased with how I was riding the tricky sections after the last couple of error filled races in the mud.
As a non regular to the Yorkshire series, the commentator didn’t know who I was, so for the narration going on during the race I was known simple as “the fella racing in Horwich colours”, while a lot of the locals were name checked on each lap. I didn’t mind this at all, but was pleasantly surprised when one of the commisaires called out to me from the side of the course to find out who I was, to make the announcements more entertaining for the spectators. I probably confused everyone by giggling to myself each time “and here’s Dave from Horwich CC coming through” was uttered – those ‘in the know’ about Horwich will have realised that “Dave from Horcich CC” narrows it down to one of about 5 people, s in my mind I was still pretty anonymous. 🙂

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On what turned out to be the last lap (I’d not really been paying attention to how the race was going, focusing more on the way I was riding and keeping the bike clean enough to not need to change to the spare), I found myself racing just behind one of the fast juniors. We’d traded places a couple of times and generally been hounding each other in the turns. It’d been great fun and all part of the experience of racing cyclocross, but I felt a pang of guilt when he lightly missed his line into a muddy drop and pitched himself over the bars. Oops. I crossed the line in what turned out to be 3rd place – quite a bit back from Rob Jebb and Ian Taylor, but still on the podium. Happy days!

Hopefully that venue will be used again, from my point of view the course was excitingly different to a lot of the wide, football-pitch-edge-drags and off-camber-for-the-sake-of-it style courses that sometimes make for less ‘fun’ racing. Plus it was in Giggleswick. Ace name for a village. 🙂

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