Photo courtesy of British Cycling
Last weekend was the Cycle Shack Christmas Cross at Cannock Chase. I had decided to take a leaf from Lars Boom's book and was riding for pleasure!.
All morning I was wondering how much pleasure I would actually get since there was snow on the ground when I got there, and then showers of rain, sleet, snow and hail arrived too! Temperatures weren't much above freezing either.
After a couple of practise laps, it was obvious that the course was going to be muddy and slippery with plenty of single track through the wooded areas. any pacing would have to be done in the fire tracks that linked it all together.
Lining up to be gridded I noticed another Belgian (HCtB), so a quick nod was all there was time for. After the usual mayhem at the start, with over 70 riders in the first wave closely followed by another 60 odd in the second, it took most of the first lap to settle down and start to enjoy the racing. A cautious start placed me well down the field but as the laps went by I managed to pull back places ion the fire tracks and recover following riders into the single track.
It was fun, and after sleet, rain and hail the sun came out (as you can see in the photo above) which made it quite difficult to see! A final push on the last lap saw me finishing around 20th of the Vets and juniors and 15th Vet40-49s.
Cleaning the bike after the race actually took longer than I was actually racing for! I'm glad to only use one bike in some ways as I'm sure it would take even longer cleaning two filthy bikes! But I did enjoy it immensely.
Riding this week has been difficult with being busy at work and feeling the need to recover. Monday was a steady 13 miles into work on frosty roads, but the 13 home included 5 x 2min anaerobic intervals with 2 min RI between. Tuesday and Wednesday have been spent stripping down the CX bike to clean out the cassette and sort out the gears ready for the Boxing Day Cross at Kenilworth, another traiining race to try and improve the skills whilst trying to give it full tilt.