Sunday, 23 November 2008
Earn those crumpets...
The predicted snow was scant and entirely washed out by freezing morning rain before an early afternoon start at Prospect Park, Reading for today's cyclocross fix.
The Ashes Series continued as I took on Aussie Sam Alison of Singular in the mid-pack battle for supremacy. Another friendly face appeared in the form of Nigel of Brighton Mitre; so committed is he to 'cross that he takes his own cow-bells with him, heckling while simultaneously riding into the distance - cheeky sod.
The course was in fact rather excellent if also hard work. Very wet mud and grass meant it was just as a 'cross course ought to be. Some short climbs which the bike needed shouldering on, three steep and hilarious descents, woodsy singletrack with off-camber fun added and mud. Lots and lots of lovely mud.
The start went well enough and Nigel and I traded places for while, giggling and sliding our way round until he gradually pulled away leaving me to fall back to the patient clutches of The Australian. As the race wore on, in surprising warmth given the start of the day, my battles become purely mental as Sam disappeared and the mud slowly began to stiffen and stick to everything, whisked by the many riders and warmed by the Winter sun.
Approaching the bell lap, I was shocked to see Nigel only 100m in front as I stumbled up the final greasy climb. Drawing level, we had a brief mud fight, clearing the slop from our bikes by flinging it at each other. The joy and invigorating elation that is riding every section for the last time was shortly over and the inevitable was confirmed - 0-2 down to the chirpy Antipodean.
A fine way to earn a fire, a big cup of tea and plate stacked high with over-buttered crumpets. I'll be weeping mud until at least tomorrow lunch time though...