Sunday, 20 November 2011

back cross racin' (about time lad)

It's been 4 weeks (4 flippin' weeks) since I last pinned a number on my back at Mugdock and that was a disaster which had me just about ready to give up 'cross racing afterwards...sorry Simon, Gordy and Maddy for my post race grumpiness! What I learnt from that was if you wake up on the morning of a race and are questioning whether to even bother packing the car and feel knackered/run down/mojo less, listen to your body and give yourself a break..

Fast forward to Sunday morning in Crosby, Liverpool at Ros's folks house and the good fortune of visiting on the very weekend the NW League have a race on a mere 25mins drive away at Stadt Moers Country Park.

A 2am turn in and slightly fuzzy alcohol induced head is perhaps not the best pre race prep, but coffee seemed to fix that. Signed on and kitted up, I spotted fellow VCMer and NW League regular Alex who has been ripping it up this season. Randomly both of us managed to ride through fresh 'brick orange' dog turd... pre riding the course. Non plussed.

Still the course was a good 'un, with a healthy mix of grass, tarmac, brick paving (!), rougher paths, trails and short, steep ups. All rideable in the big ring with no dismounts needed.

The start was a bit wild with Vets, Juniors, Women and Seniors all off together. Alex was off like a scalded cat near the front, my start was 'um rubbish. Never mind, the first few laps were fun working my way up the field a little. At race pace the whole course flowed really well with plenty of zip, a little slick and sticky in places but far from a mud fest.

Passing through the finish with what I thought was around 15 mins to go the laps to go board said FIVE! Cue (wry) smile and curse at the same time. Time to dig in princess! Dig I did, albeit with rapidly tying up legs.

Update: I finished up 13th, ~1hr 14 of racing! Happy with that given 4 weeks of hit and (mostly) miss training, poor start and rubbing rear brake...(oh the excuses)...but it was ace to get back racing again.



Monday, 14 November 2011

BUCS CX

I did a cross race at the weekend and it was a lot of fun, made me wonder what I have been doing messing around riding on the road! It's been a while since I got on my cross bike, and a very long while since I did a cross race, but the Uni cross champs were a great reminder of how much I enjoy it. Riding my bike around the practice lap I felt as though the 'race' was going to be a bit of a joke, as I could barely ride around the corners without feeling as though I was going to fall off...pretty sure I didn't look all that pro. A friendly spectator saw me stopped looking down the off camber descent trying to decide whether to ride down or not, and told me which line to ride. I kind of had to ride down after that, as he was stood there watching, I was thankful for the push as it wasn't actually that bad!

I think there were around 20 women racing, which is a good sized field for a women's race. Despite protestations, the organiser decided to set the women off with the men, so it was difficult to tell where you were in the women's field when the race got going, with girls getting mixed up among the men's field. I had a lot of laughs while actually racing, with people wiping out on corners as the course got more and more slippery throughout the race, and just generally laughing at my own lack of bike handling skills. The broad north east accented commentary was also a point of amusement - hearing 'OOoooo, Ross Creber's come a cropper!' made me feel slightly better about my granny like cornering.

Anyway, I've got the bug and am now looking for more (un-technical) cross races to do! Oh dear...not sure the student loan can stretch to this!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

new rider


Welcome our latest recruit Addy Pope, who has recently moved back to Scotland after 10 years in exile (lets not ask, it sounds mysterious). A bit of an all rounder, this is his first proper season of cross so lets make him welcome, he plans to do as many of the SCX races as he can and head to the odd cross race in N England, beyond that, more road races, some mtb enduros and a couple of triathlons. 

Addy above the Skipton Alps


In his own words.
"Hi everyone, i nearly joined the VCM ranks a couple of years back but lost sight of what was important and fun.  But I have refocused and got myself sorted.  I met Andy W at uni many moons ago and marvelled at how clean his bike always was, this hasn't changed.  I rode with the EUCC boys while at uni and then moved south to South Wales to pursue my other love, Glaciers.  However, there don't seem to be any glaciers in Wales so I did a stint in the high Arctic.  Since then I have been working my way back to Scotland having lived in Skipton for a few years.  Somehow I never managed to get round to doing the 3 Peaks race, although I did support for a few people. 

I have biked pretty much my whole life, mainly mountain bikes but dabbled with the dark side of road bikes while in Yorkshire.  In a normal year I will try to get a couple of road sportives in, either the Fred Whitton or the Etap Du Dales and a few mtb marathons.  I also really enjoy 24hr races, but have yet to "go solo". Teams seem more fun and less painful. I try to head to the alps each year to ride, usually with Sam at BikeVillage and rode the TransProvence last year, an epic event but a bit prices (note - I was setting the course so saw none of the gourmet food and survived off pasta and sauce for a week sleeping in unheated caravans and carrying all our kit rather than having a cook, mechanic and porterage of all your clean clothes).  Arriving in Monaco in clothes that you had been riding in for 7 days was a bit of a shock for the locals..... Apparently we were not the kind of people they wanted lounging in the Casino gardens.
I have a wee blog(building it at present) and flickr site "