Monday, 17 November 2008
Just what the doctor ordered
It's been too long, but I'm back in my VCM lycra and back on the bike. A crash meant I've been off the bike for a month, so it was with trepidation and eagerness that I lined up for the Conham Cross race in Bristol on Sunday.
I was in the area for my Friend James' 30th birthday celebrations (he was racing too) and there was a big enough group of friends in attendance to mean there was encouragement from fellow racers and spectators alike. The lovely Mel did hand-ups and post-race refreshments of Limoncello and lemon cake while her husband-to-be, future Iditarod racer and all round good-guy, Shaggy showed how you can race at the sharp end on a singlespeed and a hangover.
It was surprisingly warm for mid-November and the damp ground had congealed to a clagging mass of mud, leaves and grass. I got away well enough, but found there was not a great deal in the tank and I drifted back through the mid-pack. My good friend Sam caught and passed me, but it was sadistically satisfying to find him at the finish vomiting into the shrubberies - clearly I need to try harder.
Still, it was great to be back out and riding with friends. It's the peculiar combination of camaraderie, rivalry and friendship that makes cyclocross fun for me. That and the mud.
There's a race nearer to home in Reading next weekend so that's next on the list.
(Top photo courtesy of David Hill.)