Crash and Cross

As we take our first tentative steps when learning to walk we always have a few bumps and falls. The CX race at Lindfield on Sunday was in many ways very similar to how I imagine those early walking experiences felt as I embarked on my first ever Cyclocross race in freezing conditions on frozen mud and snow. Needless to say the 100 strong field coupled with a highly technical course and a stubborn 2inches of snow that had refused to melt during the previous week meant that the fastest I went all afternoon was on my backside sliding out of the various corners

The course based in the grounds of Great Walstead School was fantastically laid out with a large winding technical section in the densely wooded areas behind the school for ¾ of the course and a 500m open section which combined a snow covered descent, flat muddy sprint and reasonably taxing climb giving the course an “old school” CX feel (or so I was told!). For a complete  newbie to Cross the mass start on the snow was quite an experience especially as the sound of crunching carbon came drifting across the whirr of pedals in the first 5 seconds! Gulp. Having killed myself on the first climb and made up 7-8 places I charged into the first corner following the line of the guy in front of me (someone I now know has much better bike handling skills) and hit a patch of ice cleverly disguising itself as snow. I slid gracelessly out under the barrier tape and into a large patch of brambles. Luckily the adrenaline was pumping so I regained my feet in mid air, like a “lycra clad cat” and grabbed the bike just in time to see all the guys I had passed come flying by me. Repeat this scenario over the various corners and bomb craters throughout the course a further 6 times and you have a precise picture of how my first CX race went! Finally covered in bruises and mud I came storming across the line trailing all my team mates but with a big grin on my face! Still at least Christopher did us proud coming an excellent second on his first race back for 2 years!! All those One Day Ahead training rides have obviously paid off!

Thanks have to go to the Crawley Wheelers and Dougie Fox for the superb organisation and as ever to Mule bar and Muc-Off for keeping us a well fed lean clean cyclingmachine!

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