With a 'forced' weeks holiday from work nothing left to do but ride and race.. not quite a Belgium Holiday calender of races over the Christmas period but so far i've managed 2.. CXNE RD 9 on Boxing day and Macclesfield Monster on 28th..
CXNE RD9 was a local affair.. only 10 miles from my house.. the event had been upgraded from a fun race to a league event and I had convinced a visiting friend, Ian, to race on a borrowed bike.
The course I had pretty much ridden a few months prior but the sloppy mud had been replaced snow and Ice... the car park was filled with riders having ridden a lap putting more pressure into their tyres.
The start was one of the best I have ever had.. although the front rows were gridded I found a cheecky hole in the middle and was up into the top 10 off the start and holding the pace well.. by the end of the first lap the top boys superior bike handling had seen gaps opened.. a rushed mount after a short run up saw my unship my chain and lose 5 places trying to wrestle it free from the chain device :(
The rest of the race saw me clawing back the places I had lost seeing me finish back in 12th ... Paul Oldham took the win chased by Steven Ward.. Ian Bibby after a heavy first lap fall was back in 6th.
After the race I packed up the car.. fired home.. put more bags and the whippet in the car and drove to meet Grace at her parents in Manchester.. as well as the excellent meals and coffee's on offer at her parents it gave me chance to fit another race in just a few days later.
The Macclesfield Monster is the first race in the North West leauge after Christmas so the turn out was good... as well as a leg stretching it offered a chance to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen for 10 years.. Duncan Astle.. creator of Here Come the Belgians.. after a quick chat we lined up for another kicking.
The conditions at Macc were the opposite of CXNE race.. raining, sloppy mud and greasy corners... the course was fantastic.. some great little climbs.. boards up for dismounts and run ups and some off camber corners from hell :)
The gridding at this race went league top riders first then national points leeaders so I was a fair bit back... with the National Cross Champs looming alot of the big hitters were out.. Oldham, Bibby and Craig to name but a few.
Straight into the race I was into a battle with 4 other riders as we switched places so many times I lost count.. and when I thought I was clear the slightest mistake and a rider would pop past..
My first mistake was a late dismount before a board and I slid shin first into it.. ouch!! ... I still maintained contact with the little group I was riding with.. next I washed out my front wheel on a corner and unshipped my chain again although this time it went on quicker but a gap had opened.
As the race progressed I noticed that I was running wider and wider into the turns t bottoms of descents.. my brakes were almost non existent.. with 3 laps to go and just before I was lapped by Nick Craig as he rode to 3rd place I started a little descent that went into an off camber 45 degree left.. Nick Craig railed it.. I went for some brakes to check my speed and both levers came to the bar and I accelerated into the corner.. I briefly held the drift before the front wheel washed and I was left comically sliding down the hill on my back.. wet grass offering no resistance to slow me down.
At that point I called it a day and accepted my second DNF of the season.. too many cheeky descents to ride with no brakes.
Not the most productive races with a 12th and a DNF but entertaining all the same.. the only downside being a sore throat and cough I have so training will be minimal and hopefully I will be good to race again on Sunday 2nd :)