Final week of the cyclo-cross season, and at last it was all that ‘cross is cracked up to be – the scummiest conditions imaginable to get out on a bike. After a weeks worth of good weather (at least as good as it can get in the north of England), I woke on Saturday morning to a 10cm dusting of Snow – perfect conditions for cross. Pre-race the conditions were quite appealing with the snow just hanging in there, but as soon as we were off the surface turned to a texture which closely resembled a slush puppie. Grip was at an absolute premium, and I was rather thankful for having lashed out on a new rear tyre just for this race.
Despite having reasonable amounts of grip for the conditions I was performing much like a diesel, running on a rather sizeable English Breakfast, and unable to hit the high zones. As usually is the case in my cross racing, I found myself just settling into the suffer fest having burnt the mornings bacon off, only to be interrupted by the bell. The last lap rolled around, time to smash the hell out of it and completely empty the tank. Having spent the winter running this was easily accomplished, and I found myself able to dig right into the top zones – a very short lived exercise mind you!
Coming into the last rooty section i was right on the tail of a small group, having made up massive amounts striding up the previous sleeper strewn ascent, hitting the roots one of the guys binned it and left the other four to finish it off on foot. Keeping my speed up I snuck past them all, holding them out until the finish. A nice last lap – just a pity my head hasn’t worked out how to maintain this lunacy for 50 minutes yet!
So the last race of the season, and I managed 24th – while it had been my goal to sneak inside the top-20, I’m still happy. I’m doing it on just the one bike with no base training, no support crew, and no prior experience after all! So it’s now time to hang up the micro knobbies until Autumn, and put the cross bike to good use as a winter commuter doing the miles to work. Maybe its time to introduce the tubular loving roadies to Stans NoTubes next season?