Right, Cross is on. Three Eastern League races plus the Thetford Cross Enduro and it's not even the end of September! All good so far, top courses, high level of organization, close racing- job's a good un.
A slightly different start to the cross season this year- the 3 hour Thetford Cyclocross Enduro. Pretty good fun really, nicely in the lead group of 5 till a flint ripped a big gash in my tubeless tyre- rubbish. A further puncture ended any chance of the podium but all in a nice day out and good to get in a solid 3 hour race effort ahead of the main job at the end of the month.
1st Eastern League was blazing hot, nice up and down course round a park in Basildon. A front row grid spot and 1st into the first bend was a nice bonus but the legs weren't quite there to keep on it for the full hour, happy enough with 6th at the line. 2nd round a bit steadier of the line and caught up in a few skirmishes meant the leaders were away but a nice race with Martin Carter for 6th spot was good fun. 3rd round; pretty nice and consistent throughout, again still not up with the leaders but a cracking course round Hoghill was great fun to ride and another solid top 10.
A big thank you to all involved with the Eastern League, the first three races have been great and I'd recommend the League to anyone who fancies some cross action in East Anglia.
Some other (random) thoughts:
The Cambridge CC chaingaing is fun and a good workout.
Tubeless tyres aren't great for cross. I was hopeful tubeless might be a good way forward but so far I'm not convinced- burping problems at 30psi suggest tubs are still the way to go. Looks like you can now get a Schwalbe Rocket Ron tubular, keen to try these, should be the business.
TRP CX 9.0 brakes are fantastic, if you want better brakes but don't want to change to discs get these, night and day better than cantilevers. Discs for cross? Could be a game changer, not so much for the braking power but for the ability to run one bike for a whole muddy race with no clogging issues. At a pro level this isn't such an issue (as these guys have multiple bikes and a pit crew) but for the amateur on a budget one nice super light disc equipped bike could be a viable alternative to needing two bikes and a pit crew- I'm tempted.
There are some awesome bikes around these days! Seriously tempted to get a shortish (100mm) travel 29er like the Specialized Camber or Santa Cruz Tall Boy, in one go you have a bike you can race competitively in xc and enduro events and ride fast on pretty much any trail in the UK- what more can you ask of an mtb?
Important things for cross season are: some good cd's for the car journey to the race; a slow cooker so you can get a tasty meal on the go before heading off to the race and have tea waiting when you get in- winner! Aims for the season are; to win a round of the Eastern League and get round a National Trophy without getting lapped!
Looks like plenty good cross races on over the next few months, hopefully see some VCM folk at a race or two somewhere around the UK and with some luck up home at an SXC round- looks like it should be another strong season in Scotland- pedal hard!
Well, nearly time for the biggest, baddest cross race of them all. Come on weather do your worst, it's going to be EPIC!