All this talk on here about cyclocross racing reminds me that I've pinned on a number a bit lately. It's gone steady with the hope of improvement...
As is traditional for me I opted to miss the opening round of the North West league in favour of riding up and down big hills in some sunshine (for we all know that long steady miles are the perfect prep for cross). This year I dragged my sorry ass up the Angliru in Northern Spain the day before the Vuelta went up it (went back & heckled them suitably). That was a hard day out, but ace.
Having missed that opening round I'd sacrificed my front row griding from the previous season's overall standing so went off to practice starting at the back at a midlands series race at Cannock Chase. It was fast, dry and dusty with a healthy dose of singletrack and roots in it. I liked it. Kept working through the field and finished 8th in Seniors. All good.
Then I got a nasty chest infection. Being a fool I decided to race through it the next weekend at North West rnd2 at Heaton Park. I went like crap, finished 17th grumpy and more unwell. Feeling utterly pants I took over a week off the bike to try and shake it off before rushing back to race rnd4 at Pignut Hull (it's got a cool name, but the course is a bit dull, backs on to a manky council estate and is full of dog turds). I was somewhat lacking having had so much time off but battled through to 8th.
One day later and I lined up again for the Rapha Supercross in Phillips Park, Manchester. I was disappointed to find out that the promised tequila shortcut wasn't in the senior race and that the Belgian beer tent was just an easy-up with a man selling bottles of Stella out of a bucket of ice for lots of pounds. Anyhoo, the race was good fun, with one small exception (The Spiral of Doom would have been more accurately named The Circles of Tedium). Picked up 8th spot once again.
One week on and I've gone & caught another snotty cold but was up for rnd5 of the NW league at Otterspool on the banks of the Mersey, where there's alway scope for a good course - fast bits, twisty bits, techy bits, cobbled climbs & off-camber bits. We got all of that. After a false start where we all went the wrong way, the racing was great. My spindly legs lost out in a sprint for the line but still managed 9th.
I'm still not rid of the niggley illness and I'm still catching up from taking time off the bike, so hopefully there's more to come.