Hallocross – Thursday 31st October
I’m not quite sure where to start with this one. 119 riders, many wearing costumes, in one race at night mean that it’s all a bit of a blur.
I should really start with an apology for not wearing a costume this year, a manic week at home and work meant that real life got in the way. Fortunately plenty of other VCM riders had made more of an effort. Chris, Martin, Maddy, Gavin and Simon all had great outfits. My 5 year old daughter was unimpressed when she discovered I hadn’t taken the chance to get dressed up. She has spent the week since the race bombarding me with ideas so I promise to sort it out next year. With Ian and Russell also racing and Addy and Fraser marshalling there was a good turnout by VC Moulin.
|Gavin May looking good|
This was another Scottish cyclocross race which almost doubled in size from last year. Fortunately the Tri Centre team had moved it to a new venue which accommodated everyone. This race always has a great atmosphere and this year was no exception. Even the thunder, lightning and rain in the hours before the race didn’t seem to have dampened enthusiasm too much.
The combination of wet weather and the size of the field meant that it was likely to be muddy so I had decided to race my single speed. At least this way if I broke it I wouldn’t have to fix it before the SCX round at Knockburn a couple of days later.
After a bit of milling about chatting and a quick look round the course it was time to line up. Partly by luck I got a prime spot on the second row of the grid, right next to Rab Wardell. A good start (why can I never do this in an SCX round?) saw me avoid the inevitable chaos in the first few corners and I came out of the first section in a good spot.
The rest of the race was pretty eventful and I would imagine that was the case for most of the field. It was really difficult to tell who anyone was. It took me half of the race to work out that it was Scott Logan in the red cape despite the fact that I had spoken to him before the start. We must have passed each other about a dozen times in the course of the race.
After the first lap a ‘Treacle Scone’ shortcut was opened. This was much easier than the alternative route but it did involve trying to duck under some surprisingly hard sponges soaked in treacle and avoid getting hit by well-aimed flour bombs. I thought this was one of the best aspects of the race. It was a well thought out idea which really suited the spirit of the race.
On several occasions I got caught out by riders on mountain bikes with disk brakes. There’s not much you can do, other than take to the bushes, when you are travelling faster than them and you don’t really have any brakes.
In the second half of the race the course started to get much slippier in places. My front tyre washed out on a fast right hander and before I knew much about it I was on the ground. Unfortunately Dennis the Menace was right on my wheel and he collided with my bike and came down too. Even more unfortunately Dennis the Menace is the reigning Scottish Cyclocross champion, sorry Rab. I’m still not quite sure what he was doing behind me half way through a race, the only time I normally see him is fleetingly as he laps me.
In the last few laps my helmet adjustment broke and every bump seemed to make my helmet fall over my eyes. On one particularly big bump my light switched itself into strobe mode. I spent several minutes unable to see anything and cursing the person behind me with the flashing light. Eventually I looked round and realised there was nobody behind me. After fixing this I passed Simon Kirkness who seemed to have lost his #SVENNESS. It turned out that there was a more practical reason, his lights had gone flat.
By now my Garmin was showing over 50 minutes in a 45 minute race and there had been a lot of ringing of bells last time I crossed the line. Ian and Paul Carmichael were just ahead of me so I gave it everything I had for the last couple of minutes to get past them. After sprinting for the line I started to come to a stop. After briefly wondering why nobody else had stopped it dawned on me that there was a lap to go. They both passed me and I managed to get on the wrong side of someone. By the time I got myself sorted out they were long gone.
After the race there was some tasty food on offer from Wild Rover Food before the presentations. Well done to Maddy with another win in a fantastic season. I can’t believe Simon Muir didn’t pick up a prize for his amazing creation (picture to be added soon). Thanks to all of the organisers and volunteers for putting on a great event. It was a blast.
|Maddy showing KirkNys who's the boss|
How did we do?
Maddy – 1st Female (30th)
Ian - 10th
Simon Fairfull – 11th
Simon Muir – 21st
Gavin - 33rd
Russell – 38th
Martin – 45th
Chris – 57th