After enjoying the last round of the CXNE Cyclocross series I didn't need much persuading to attend the next round.
A local round this time at Whickham Thorns allowed us to enjoy a much more leisurely start to getting over there, as before Dave (Ramsay) was the means of transport and race support while I was there.
The course was great... another departure from the typical 'race around a field' style events I had come to associate with cyclocross.. a gravelly track took us to a sharp S bend into a few turns around some assault course obstacles then up and onto the bmx track.. fired off this into a field section with a few turns.. then an off camber slippy straight which saw you fishtailing your way down this... some steepish grassy descents.. a few flatout sections then the climb/run back to the top of the course.. tough but interesting enough.
The race start was temporarily delayed as the first and only casualty of the day.. an unlucky fall in practice... was scraped up off the bmx track and unfortunately sent to hospital... this led to a section of the track being removed but it didnt detratct from the appeal of the course.
The start was a typical flat our sprint down a field to a turn then back on ourselves before joining the course... I as before didn't get a great start and was back in the 20's by the time we entered the course.
I capitalised on every opportunity to jump a few places and snuck my way back up when any flat or climbing section allowed... Dave was doing well with the motivation and handing up my bottle everytime I needed it... makes a big difference.
One of the race favourites .. Steven Ward.. unluckily had snapped his lever on the first lap and I had seen him standing next to the track so it was a surprise when mid race he came barreling past me in full flight... really a league apart and showing me what I have to build to if I ever want to master this discipline.. He came past just as we got to where Dave was standing and although I was encouraged to hold Ward's wheel without the aid of a rope and grappling hook I had to let him go ( to eventually finish 3rd!!!).
I had settled nicely into the race and was involved in my own little battles... Dave letting me know I was holding good place and steadily creeping forward... Just as I though it must be nearly 50 minutes of racing I was caught by the race leader Tony Fawcett literally 20m before the line so although it then meant it was the bell/final lap and he had saved me an extra time round I really want to stay on the same lap as the leaders.
All in I managed to get a 10th place... a considerable improvement on the last outing and I know where I need to improve for the next.. the course was tough and saw 19 bikes retiring with snapped rear mechs/hangars.
Next is South Shields on Sunday with the promise that the Hope Factory team are turning up to school us should be an interesting day... I'm already eyeing up spare bikes and Dugast cross tubs.. Loving this Racing :)
More deatils on the results and the series are here CXNE