It’s only the 8th of September, and we’re already complete for round 1 and 2 of the North West Cyclocross Association League, with an excellent turn out by Weaver Valley! Having had my CX debut last year in freezing conditions in a snow blizzard, 2019 round 1 and 2 have been positively barmy in comparison to my past experience of the sport!
On arrival to the Cudd Cross Round 1 (1st Sept – Port Sunlight Wheelers), the first glimpse of the course brought back a harsh reminder of some of the emotions of last season and made me feel physically sick. My nerves were soon settled when I got out on the course for warm up and it rode far better than i anticipated. Similar to our very own WVCC CX course in January, the Blakemere venue is an excellent event, perfect to start the season. Throwing a great selection of everything to test the skills (steps, twisty tight turns, off-camber, jumps, sharp hills and descents) with the absence of mud, run on hard ground, it proved a fast but confidence giving event. I managed my best placing to date in the CX field (21st overall, 9th in V40 earning me 2 points), not least boosted by the support of the WVCC crowds (Matt Hornby, Kevin Waton, Nick Riding). Nick & Matt went on to ride the event, doing the club proud finishing 23rd and 75th respectively in their highly competitive V40 category)
I’d enjoyed myself so much; I recall saying to a marshall, what a false sense of security I had been lulled in to from this first round. And how right I was….
Round 2 (7th September – Red Rose Olympic) brought me right back down to earth with a bump (literally!). But what a scenic venue with the backdrop of Hoghton Tower and the Peaks! I was honoured to be joined by both Andy Milligan and Dave Halman (photo below courtesy of Ellen Isherwood) in my race. Whilst the weather was divine, the course was split over two main fields, both housing long thick grass and thick clayey mud for much of the course. The course joined by a narrow tree rooty path through the woods, with tarmac and gravel paths back to the tower, there were a couple of concrete steps to navigate the top half of the course. Some of the boys jumped the steps, coming a cropper in later laps… On the descent down from the castle, there was a fun-filled fantastic set of slalom cones; Kev in action below! Around the corner we were soon rudely awakened by a sharp climb on unforgiving thick sodden grass, followed by numerous technical obstacles. My biggest fear was the steep off-camber we had to traverse across, where I managed a nasty fall on my last lap (after i’d got the hang of it!), lying like a (hyperventilating) lump for about 5 mins, still clipped in and luckily I’d slid under the tape so was not blocking the course! I heard someone screaming that the paramedics were coming, but I was just winded, and knew I was fine. I soon dusted myself off with wounded pride (& bruises!) riding off with my saddle at 45 degrees, which i soon corrected! This was soon followed by a steep drop into a dip into an immediate steep incline, to keep us challenged for the day amongst the usual obstacles. Andy Milligan had a fine ride (top photo), flying past me as he lapped me (encouragingly of course), and i was sure grateful of his power washing prowess after the race!
Great to see Nick return to race for WVCC, whose round 2 race start did not get off to plan, so to pull back to 21st was a great achievement in a competitive field. And Nick & Kev’s cheers for the WVCC folk in my race was very much welcomed.
WVCC Results: Lynsey Astles (26th Women, awaiting V40 position), Kevin Waton (Senior – Awaiting results), Nick Riding (21st in V40), Andy Milligan (24th in V50) and Dave Halman (61st in Vet50, awaiting to hear his position as a V70!)
I’m looking forwards to Louise Mainwaring joining us back very soon for future events… Until soon…