Another week, another cyclocross race.
I decided not to ride to this race, as it was in Addington and I only have a vague grasp of where Addington is. I also thought it would be good to arrive on fresh legs. So I’m not entirely sure why I decided to run to work on Thursday morning, especially as I had to carry in my small running rucksack: work clothes, cycling clothes, cycling shoes, pedals, pedal spanner, towel, lunch and other assorted stuff. As I left the house I remembered that I’d also need my helmet, so ended up running with a bag that looked like this:
It was pendulous.
A tube, a train and a tram later and I arrived at Addington Park. Jason gave me my bike for the race and said I could take it home with me if I wanted – the support and generosity of British Cycling and Jason in particular has been quite overwhelming.
This time I managed not to miss the start of the race and queued up with everyone else, feeling nervous and wanting to get underway.
The course was very different to Bethlem. Much shorter and all on grass, it featured a few switchbacks as well as a double plank hurdle.
I don’t have a lot to say about the race itself. My legs, unsurprisingly I suppose given running in the morning, felt tired. I found the switchbacks hard, particularly to the right (I’m not sure why). I couldn’t pick up speed on the straights. I found myself 2nd to last very quickly.
I have to admit I gave up a little and was sorely tempted to quit halfway through the hour, especially as I felt I’d regressed since the first week. Only stubborn pride (at what?) kept me going.
A few laps in someone shouted at me and I couldn’t work out what it was until I realised he was shouting the name of this blog. Spotted! I felt like a celebrity. Sweetly, he’d even brought me some recovery haribo for afterwards. Cyclocross is, happily, full of lovely people.
There were a few kids out cheering on the course. Two girls at the hurdle were encouraging people to bunny hop it, until someone fell and they switched to encouraging people to get off and carry their bikes over. A girl with her dad on the far side of the course shouted “believe in yourself!” at me, getting what I hope looked like a grateful smile from me, but probably looked more like a pained grimace. A boy I’d met at the development session told me I was doing really well and when I pointed out that I’d been lapped multiple times he said “It doesn’t matter! You’re here! You’re still going! ….. that’s not much consolation, is it?”
The cheerers made me smile, and that’s coming from me, the anti-cheerer.
At the end I tried to force everything back in my bag before Dave chaperoned me and my new bike to a station (thank you!). I knew that the brakes were a bit vague, to say the least, but there’s nothing like being on a road and surrounded by traffic to make this feel supremely sketchy. The only reliable way to come to a full halt was to put my foot down!! Scary.
There were lots of photographers out on the course, who managed to take a couple of highly unflattering photos of me plus this slightly better one:
Two races in and I *think* I’m enjoying cyclocross, though it would be nice to see some improvements!!