Here we go again.
Round One Callendar Park
Better late than never with this one, possibly. We bemoan the long wait for cross season all year and then it happens and we’re never quite ready. So with unseasonally mild weather I headed to Falkirk for the opening round at Callender Park. Like last year the course was superbly laid out by Franco and Davie and looking resplendent in the autumn sun. This was my first foray into V50 I had to get used to leaving the house that wee bit earlier but yet on arriving it seemed even busier. Kids were zooming around everywhere on mini cross bikes, and anxious parents were bustling around ensuring everything was in place for their little darlings race. The popularity of cross among children (parents) is a strange phenomenon, in theory dragging your child to a cross race in the depth of winter could be seen as a case for social services intervention but drag they do and to be fair the kids mostly seem to love it. Because of the huge volume of young uns, sign on and consequently start times had to be shunted slightly, no big deal, it gave time for a leisurely wander round the course to check the changes and see how it felt under foot. The park is blessed with just the right amount of gradient and curves to make a superbly interesting course that keeps you moving and thinking for the whole race, not a lot of scope for recovery, despite the seasonal rain leading up to it the condition was firm and dry!
|Quietly getting the job done, the rapid Steve Halsall (pic by The Press Room)|
Soon enough the start time came around and up we lined, if I am honest by the time I had lined up I was already thinking about getting home, in retrospect it might not of been such a bad shout. I have to say I much prefer V50 to the rowdiness of V40, a much more sedate and gentlemanly category, don't get me wrong every bit as fast and fiercely competitive but a whole lot more civil. Anyway we were off and yep it was going to be fast unsurprisingly. I quickly lost touch of the race and my will to live and the bell lap didn’t arrive anywhere near quick enough. Round one done. Unfortunately because of other commitments I had to rush away so saw none of the other categories so cant tell you what happened but I’m sure it was a roost fest.
Round Two Strathclyde Park
Thoughts of why the fuck am I putting myself through this again filled my head for the next two weeks in the lead up to StrathclydePark, traditionally one of my least favourite courses but its always good to come home. So again, car loaded up the night before to make the early start and some new music loaded up for the drive. Arriving at the park I was greeted by more glorious Lanarkshire sunshine, once more mini racers were zooming everywhere and the air was full of the sound of burning rollers, somebody needs to find a way to harness the energy from this warm up ritual and tap it into the National Grid, surely a money spinner for a smart race organiser!
Anyway, on arriving caught up with fellow early starter Ainsley and we had a walk around the course to see what lay in store for us, it looked much the same as last year with some subtle changes and again seemed reasonably firm underfoot so potentially pretty fast. In fact the sun was ever so slowly warming my soul and a wee smidgeon of my ancestral enthusiasm was returning. After much more faffing and procrastinating, I decided I better have a semblance of a warm up. A quick sprint the length of the park and back was enough to remind me that is actually wasn’t that warm once out of the sun. The time was fast approaching for action and I was feeling less than ‘stoked’
|Control, speed and elegance, just three of the things missing (Chris Duncan pic by The Press Room)|
|Maddy in blur of speed, pow! (Maddy Robinson pic by The Press Room)|
The starts of races are pretty funny affair, no two are the same yet they are all identical. A relaxed chatty vibe is followed by a nervous tension that then becomes an inelastic mass awaiting the freedom of elasticity. That freedom comes soon enough, the deafening shot of the starters pistol and we are projecting forward at a velocity bordering on the unsafe but fortunately we were safe. All too quickly we were onto the climb, oh that fucking climb, the nastiest little fucker of a climb in the SCX calendar. The nice thing about this course though, is once that climb is done, its pretty good fun and fast, in fact as fast as you can ride the descent really. Great last section through the trees and back into the arena. The race went fairly uneventful, I felt ok, stayed safe on the slippy corners and tried to punch when I could, there were some minor placing battles and all too soon it was over. I have to say I really enjoyed this round. I held it together, the bike held together and there isn’t much more to say. I've really warmed to the Strathclyde course, it is very different from the other rounds and that is a good thing.
Maddy was going very fast, very.
Maddy was going very fast, very.
I hung around for the V40 race and most of the seniors but then had to leave to get myself up the road. The V40 race is a clusterfuck, I am so happy to be out of it, the volume of riders and the depth and range of ability make it a bit of a minefield unless you are in the top 10% of what is going on. I really feel for these guys. What was going on however was a Glasgow United whitewash, 1,2,3!
As always East Kilbride Road Club put on an excellent show and everything from what I could determine ran as it should.
|Great beard but he is only just getting away with that multi coloured helmet (Steven Turbitt pic by The Press Room)|
How we did.
Colin Shearer 6th
Chris Duncan 16th
Maddy Robinson 1st
Ainsley Turbitt 6th
Gavin May 20th
Chris Marquis 29th
Simon Muir 45th
Russell Stout 47th
Martin Steele dnf (tsk tsk)
Steve Halsall 2nd
Graeme Warren 7th
Ian Dunlop 12th
Steve Turbitt 17th
Not such a bad day in the motherland. .
big thanks to the The Press Room for all the pics, support these guys.