With the first of the West Mids Cyclocross League events under my belt it's been a time to reflect on how things panned out.
There was a new format for the Vets/Jun/Wom race this year, with the Juniors and Vet 40-49 starting 2 mins before the the Women and Vets 50+. It seemed to work well on Sunday with less of queue at the first bottle neck with the 100+ field being split into 2.
The two things that I have been mulling over since the race are to do with race strategy and technical gear. The race strategy this time around was changed, instead of my usual hell for leather flat out start and then usual grovel to recover I decided to try to throttle back a little at the start and then hopefully be able to increase my effort throughout the race picking my way through the field. I think now that I chose the wrong course for this tactic as many folks after the race were suggesting that the course was more akin to a an MTB race with lots of wooded, single track which made it difficult to overtake and make up ground. Also, with the more reserved start I ended up lower down the field on the first time up the steep, slippery stepped section and possible blocked my more riders than usual.
The other thing is a technical decision to go with a single chainring. About midway through the race my front mech decided to no longer want to change down on the the inner ring, so I ended up riding half the race totally on the big ring, which wasn't too bad as I was only using the inner ring on the steps and a couple of other steep sections. I'd thought about this at the end of last season and I know it's probably a good idea as most of the course don't have too many really steep sections, and I was finding myself riding whole races on the big ring and even using a single speed for a couple of races without too much detriment to my performances. so the only thing now is cost and time, and really I should have done this before the season started.
However, the season has started. Now racing under the colourful banner of Team Here Come the Belgians I will have to knuckle down and see what the winter months will bring, both in terms of weather and racing success. Unfortunately no pictures from last Sundays race, but I managed to finish 25th overall (J/V/W) and 16th V40-49 which is ok for starters, with only one incident requiring an ambulance this year!