Racing 2014 (Archive)

Cult Racing Cycles are sponsoring me for the 2014/2015 cyclocross season.  They have provided me with a great lightweight Kinesis CSix2 carbon framed ‘cross bike with 3 sets of carbon wheels and racing kit.

My racing schedule for the 2014/2015 cyclocross season is below:

Sunday 14th Sept - WMCCL Henley-in-Arden/Johnsons Coaches          13th
Sunday 21st Sept - WMCCL Redditch, Pitcher Oak Woods                     18th
Sunday 5th Oct - WMCCL Baggeridge Country Park                                24th
Sunday 12th Oct - National Trophy Round 1 (Shrewsbury)                      59th
Sunday 19th Oct - WMCCL Solihull, Elmdon Park Fillongley                   12th
Sunday 2nd Nov - WMCCL Wolverhampton                                             12th
Sunday 23rd Nov - WMCCL Top Barn, Worcester                                    DNS
Sunday 30th Nov - National Trophy Round 4 (Milton Keynes)                  DNS
Saturday 6th December WMCCL Mallory Park                                         13th
Sunday 14th December Just Ride Supercross, Top Barn, Worcester        3rd
Sunday 21st Dec - WMCCL Mallory Park                                                 10th
Friday 26th Dec - Kenilworth Boxing Day Cross                                       11th
Sunday 4th Jan - National Trophy Round 6 (Derby)                                  39th
Saturday 10th Jan - National Championships (Abergavenny)                   DNS
Sunday 18th Jan - Barney's CX Bash (Misterton - am)                             3rd 
Sunday 18th Jan - LVRC Cyclocross National Champs (Misterton - pm)  9th

Race #13: LVRC Cyclocross National Champs (Misterton - pm)

The LVRC Champs race couldn’t have been worse really.  I got forced to the inside of the first corner ending up in the tape and having to stop to untangle before getting going again, by which time the over 50s had started and nearly all had passed me.  I battled long and hard to work my way back through the field but could only manage to get 9th vet 45+.  But I did really enjoy the day having two races of over 50mins on a changing course was really great.

Race #12: Barney's CX Bash (Misterton)

The LVRC only organise races for the over 40s, so this year Dean Barnett decided to run a supporting event for BCF racers to encourage more participants to bring along their families.  I decided to use the opportunity to race the supporting event as practise and warm-up, to the surprise of some of the LVRC contingent.  I used my practise bike and although I wasn’t meant to be pushing too hard it was difficult not to.  I had a great race, easing off in the finish and claiming 11th place overall in the combine Juniors, Seniors, Vets and Women's race and 3rd Vet.
Race #11: National Trophy Round 6 (Derby)

The final round of the National Trophy Series was at Derby and I managed to get my entry on time, unlike Milton Keynes.  It was a very cold start for the Vets and I was gridded up with my peers this time in a field of almost 80 riders.  I like the course at Moorways and the organisation is great.  I had a decent race, only “wiping-out” once when I tried to use a different line that usual and finishing 39th just a few seconds down from the guy in front of me.

Race #10: Kenilworth Boxing Day Cross

The next race was on Boxing Day at Kenilworth Common.  A great race to blow away the festive indulgences and race some more ‘cross.  The hardest feature in this race for me is the repeated climb up Common Lane, along with the other climbs in the Common itself which makes this a hard race to get a good rhythm going at.  This year was the first time that the road was closed to traffic which made the sprint up the hill at the start much better for those at the front and slightly less congested for those starting at the back like myself.  With my poor start position I wasn’t expecting much as in this race you need to be up front at  the start.  I managed to ride pretty consistently and finished 11th vet but could have been a bit higher up the field if I had a better gridding, along side riders who had the same national points as me.

Race #9: WMCCL Mallory Park

The final round of the WMCCL was back at Mallory Park and I was keen to improve on the last race there where I had been just outside the top 10 and 3rd Vet 45!  I made a usual poor start getting caught behind some of the younger vets, but started to pull things back towards the end of the first lap when disaster struck!  I broke the rear mech hanger in two and had to run round to the pits some 2 or 3 minutes away.  This is why you need a second bike!  I managed to pull back a lot of the places I had lost during that run, but had the issues with clogging on the second bike towards the end of the race.  I still managed to take 11th vet and 4th vet 45+, but was disappointed as that could so easily have been my first top 10 overall of the season, but that’s ‘cross for you.

Race #8: Just Ride Supercross

This was a local, small one off race organised by Just Ride of Worcester at the popular venue of Top Barn Activity Centre.   With prizes donated by Cult Racing Cycles!

I had missed the WMCCL round at Top Barn due to a mechanical problem with my motorhome, so this time I made sure I would be ok and left early and rolled up with plenty of time in hand.  Field sizes were down on the usual regional races with only 30 riders in the Senior and Vets40+ race, so we were started in all at the same time.

Only the first row got called up and I wasn't one of them so I ended up hanging around at the back getting rid of my warm clothes ready for a chilly wind race around the activity centre.  Sitting pretty much at the back, I got blocked by someone who missed clipping in at the whistle so I was already down a fair bit at the start.  By the end of the first lap I was able to move though the field as it began to string out.  The course at Top Barn is always fast and is one I like with some little tricky sections on the banks of the lake.  I managed to finish 9th overall (seniors and vets) and picked up the prize for 3rd vet!

Race #7: WMCCL Mallory Park

This round of the WMCCL was a little different from the usual WMCCL in that it was held on a Saturday and it also was the inaugural West Midlands championship race.  

The circuit was another traditional mix of open fields, muddy off-cambers and some large mounds at the side of the racing car circuit at Mallory Park.  The recent rain had mad the course very muddy and watery with some sections unrideable by the end of the race with some particularly strength sapping thick gloop.  
I didn't get off well at the up hill start which I was already playing catch up from the outset.  Fortunately I managed to fight a decent line through the melee during the first lap.  By the end of the second lap I had managed to pass a few more and slot in with an small group.  Though it is very difficult to tell who you are really racing in these events due to there being 2 races on the circuit at once, the Seniors starting 2 mins before the Vets are set off.  A swap of bikes halfway though gave me an added boost to pass a couple of riders, that unfortunately came back to me in the final laps and I dropped a couple of places to finish 13th in the Vets, but a good 3rd Vet 45+ though a little disappointed as I had been racing in 2nd place for much of the race.  **UPDATE** 2nd WM League Championship V45 silver medalist

Race #6: WMCCL Wolverhampton

I decided to stay faithful to the WMCCL and race the round at Wolverhampton on the 2nd November instead of heading down to Stroud.  

The circuit at Wolverhampton is a traditional mix of open fields, muddy off-cambers and good use of some old railway embankments and cuttings.  Always one for a fast start I didn't do to well and got caught in traffic at the first bottleneck.  Fortunately I managed to pull some places back over the next few laps and didn't have any major problems from the sticky mud which the Tufo Cubus tubs shrugged off very nicely.  Once again I felt I was just about getting the lines right by the end and managed to finish a decent 12th place again.  

Race #5: WMCCL Fillongley.

The WMCCL round at Solihull had a late change of venue to the Heart of England Conference and Events centre near Fillongley.  This proved to be a great venue for the event offering a great mix of  wooded tracks and flowing grassland.

The race went off in sunny, dry condition but the week of rain had made the going very wet and muddy.  Some parts of the course were hardly ridable and for those on single bikes the best option seemed to be to carry through a long 500m section of mud to avoid clogging and caking the gears up.

I ended up with a reasonable result, 12th Vet, and thoroughly enjoying the racing.

Race #4: National Trophy Series Rnd # 1, Shrewsbury.

The fog and mist at Sundorne Leisure Centre in Shrewsbury on a cold October morning provided a back drop for the opening round of the National Trophy Series.  I took the motorhome and plenty of kit given the forecast had been dodgy all week and the course was expected to be soft and muddy, it didn't disappoint.
I was gridded in the last quarter of the field, which was better than I'd expected.  After a quick warm-up and some practise laps on the spare bike I was pretty much ready to race.  After a steady start to make sure I stayed out of trouble I'd moved into a group I was happy with in the last half of the field (this is a race for the best Vets in the country after all).  Unfortunately disaster struck as I moved through the group at the completion of the first of 5 laps when my chain dropped and jammed around the bottom bracket.  Over a minute later I was back on the bike and being too eager to chase back into the race I took too wide a line around a corner and ended up in a fence!  These things happen in 'cross and I then spent the rest of the race trying to get the lines right and to my amazement I wasn't lapped.
Overall, the planning before hand had been worth it, as disregarding the mishaps in the actual race everything else went well, and I was feeling a little better overall.

Race #3: WMCCL Rnd 5 Baggeridge Country Park, Sedgley.

After a week's break in the racing programme, when I took the opportunity to take a few days away to recover from the first two races of the season and hopefully get over the effects of the infection I had suffered from after the first race, it was back at it for the next section of racing.
With a reasonable gridding position on the inside of the second row I was hopefully of a good start.  The whistle blew and I got off ok and took the first lap just of the leaders group back in about 15th position, but that was a good as it got.  The revised course had a couple of technical sections that slowed me a little and if caught in traffic going into the stairs time was lost running.  The problem seemed to be with the numerous dead turns and steep little inclines that sapped the strength from my legs much quicker than expected.  I lost a few too many places in the last couple of laps, mainly due to a slip in traffic on the stairs section that allowed the guy behind to pass and gain nearly 30 secs.  The racing was fun, but I'm still not where I'd like to be after having a good start at Johnsons.

Race #2: WMCCL Rnd 3 Pitcher Oak Woods, Redditch

This time last week I wasn't to sure I would make it to the start line of the next round of the WMCCL.  I had a pretty awful start to the week coming down with some sort of infection.which need a course of antibiotics to start to clear it up. 

So I did make it to the start line with the help of some meds, and got a nice gridding on the third row.  Unsure of how things would pan out due to 4 days of the bike my plan was to follow the wheels and try and stay in the front group for as long as possible.  I started well and was in the top 10 going through into the first section but was unable to maintain the ffort even though I felt I should be able to.  The rest of the race was then a case of damage limitation, trying to not lose too many places.  Unfortunately by the last couple of laps I had slipped back a bit and was finding increasingly difficult on any steep sections.  Eventually finishing 18th Vet 40-49 and 9th Vet 45+ really wasn't too bad considering the week I'd had, but I know I could easily have been 4 places higher at less than a 1 minute separated 13th-18th :(
Race #1: WMCCL Rnd 2 Johnsons Coaches.

This was my first race in Cult Racing colours and as it was my first race of the season in the WMCCL I was gridded on the last row as I had not scored any points yet.  The game plan was to take it steady at the start and not get caught up in crashes or bottlenecks and then try to get in the zone and ride through the field to see where I'd end up.  It went quite well and by the top of the field I'd managed to move up quite a few places going into the first corners.  The new bike from Cult Racing was handling well and being light at less than 8kgs I was able to accelerate from one wheel to the next, moving through the field at a good pace.  At about halfway into the race my legs were being to scream at me, but in my best Jens Voigt voice I told them what to do ... by this point I was passing back markers and it becomes difficult to know where your at really.  With some great support from my wife and the Cult Racing crew I pressed on keeping a good line through the corners and over the humps.  Couple of slips on the last lap but nothing that couldn't be correct by the CSix2's handling which saw me cross the line 13th Vet40+ and 4th in the Vet45 category out of a large starting field of 80+.  The course was rock hard but had a good flowing feel to it and the sun was shinning to make it a wonderful return to CX racing.   Bring on round 3!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome! So I can borrow the beach racer then? ;-)