Tuesday, 24 November 2009
It hurts so good
Dundee SCX 7
It's been both a long and a quick year and all of a sudden with a mere 5 Scottish cross races left I decided I had to try and salvage something, for my own sanity as much as anything else. I won't bore you with my aborted attempt to ride the previous two weeks races at Knockburn and Inverkeithing but lets just say I hit a pretty low point, regarding bike and fitness and just a sense of why the fuck am I even bothering and so Sunday rolled around and round 7 of the SCX came to Dundee, a mere hour drive for me, virtually a local race and my first race of the year, coming straight off the back of not riding for 2 weeks and the aforementioned despair it was a high risk strategy, the drama queen in me could easily let this boil out of control while my head imploded and as if that wasn’t bad enough all day Saturday I had what can best be described (for the sake of not repulsing you) as an upset tummy. The rest of Saturday was a mish-mash of trying to find all the stuff needed for a cross race, which in light of the race duration seems like an awful lot of equipment, clothing and assorted paraphernalia.
Sunday morning arrived all to quickly and I would be lying if I said I felt comfortable, a rough nights sleep, a churning gut and the niggling thought that I was for all intense purposes about to make a grade A twat out of myself. I had only ridden at Caird Park once before, that time a couple of years ago the course was long and lacked the closeness of a cross race, it quickly spread out and stayed that way. This year on arriving I assessed the course, it looked very short took in a lap of the velodrome and had a healthy dose of off camber, singletrack and multiple switchbacks, before I could have second thoughts I got signed on and received my voucher for a free soup and a roll, excellent. It felt like a long walk back to the car involving lots of blethers and nervous banter, everyone was looking so bloody fit and organised. I started to try and sort out my kit, a Mule bar and a bottle of Nuun, quickly downed and allowed to churn around like primordial soup. A half hearted warm up and before I knew it I was out on my practice lap with Maddy. It rode pretty good, nothing to fear, it will boil quite literally down to how fast I could ride. The start line beckoned and I opted for safety first and gridded up at the back of the pack, a misfire on the starting pistol didn't bother anyone, we were off. The usual melee for the front was somewhat diffused by the lap of the velodrome, I dug my way through the field to what felt like around half way, quickly we were spat out onto the grass and vying for position on the singletrack. First laps are curious beasts and this one didn't disappoint, riders shot past then ground to halt, others fell, braked too early and just got it wrong, staying on your bike and keeping a calm head usually reaps rewards and so it did, through all the mucky stuff I picked off a few more riders and settled as best as I could into a rhythm. As the laps unfolded, the race at the front was long gone but surprisingly I could still see plenty of familiar faces, Maddy got away being a bit lighter through the grungy stuff and spurred on by the battle she was having for second place. All too soon the bell rang and I dug in to get round without losing any more ground, finished I was somewhat elated, that was bloody good and a hot cup of veggie broth never tasted so good. The split race also allowed time to get changed and watch the seniors racing into the bargain, an awesome return to cross for me and an awesome race, a classic is born.
pic by Marty or Sue