Today was my first cross race for a couple of weeks after being off the bike feeling a bit under the weather. I was really looking forward to it because it's a great course and I was feeling pretty strong after a bit of a rest.
When I looked out the window this morning, it was a wee bit chillier than I expected it to be, so I packed the extra few layers and tights rather than knee warmers. As Darkmarquis and I drove along the motorway from Edinburgh it just got colder and colder, until it reached -5 when we pulled into the car park at Plean Country Park. Ouch!
There was another big field today and a really good show of VCM riders (Anja, Andy, Chris, Mark, Doug and I) despite the very, very cold conditions. So we all huddled close together on the start line in the vain hope of getting a little bit of heat from the other riders after we'd all taken off our outer layers.
As usual, I placed myself pretty near the back of the pack on the start line. When the gun went, I found that I was working my way nearer the front and could see the first 3 lady riders. I was really pleased and was pretty confident that I could at least hold on to fourth place. Then it all started to go wrong. 3/4 of the way round the first lap, I slipped on some ice at the bottom of a decent and came off and slid right into the burn. Whilst I was trying to untangle myself from the undergrowth I watched most of the field go past (all asking if I was okay, which was very nice) and then saw Julie Nimmo do exactly the same thing just as I was trying to get back on the bike. Mental note for next lap - be more careful.
Up and going again, I felt pretty strong and was fairly sure that I was starting to make my way through some of the riders who'd passed me while I was on the ground. Then it happened again. 2nd lap, just hitting a corner in a little bit of singletrack, my back wheel slid out and I was on the ground, upside down again. This time it took a little bit longer to untangle myself and sort myself out because my hoods had turned themselves around so that they were facing each other. Grr!
Back on again and fairly happy that I was making up time again. Quick swig of my water bottle - It was like lemon and lime slush puppy. It was so cold my bottle was starting to freeze!
I was really enjoying the fast course, flying down the fast downhill sections, cheering support to Andy, Anja, Darkmarquis and Dr Jon whenever I saw them at the bits where the course met in the middle. Getting lots of support from Trina, Caroline and the other folks in the crowd. Lots of smiley faced riders despite the sketchy conditions.
Then I did it again! This time on a perfectly flat, straight bit of double track. I was getting a wee bit frustrated and pretty beat up feeling by this time because the ground was completely solid. Anyhow, back to it again and I was really happy with my riding, making up time again, then again, then again.
In all 5 crashes. I think I did 8 laps, so that made only 3 clean laps. I'm not sure where I came, but I'd guess that it was pretty far down the field. I definitely won the most chrashingest female rider today though.
The prize giving was a very chilly event with lots of people showing off the icickles in their hair and beards! We saw Anja win the female race again today and Paul McInally take the male race (after working hard so far all series to get a win). There was also a prize for best beard (no prizes for guessing who got that) and lantern rouge, Fiona Walker who put in another steady race.
Despite all the crashes, I still thought it was a top course and I felt that when I was upright, I was riding well, I just wasn't upright very much. Roll on Dundee next week. It's another good course and since it's the champs course this year, we should see a really good turnout of riders. All I need to do is practice staying on my bike this week.