Happy to still have something to blog about 100 posts in :)
In my effort to improve my cross racing I am taking in not only the CXNE BCF run series but also the NECCL TLI run events:)
Last Sunday saw RD3 of the NECCL series and although I have missed 2 rounds already the overall series is based on best 5 out of 8 events so an overall decent position is still to play for.
Hetton Lyons Park is a popular cross destination featuring some good sharp little climbs and off camber muddy descents... the weather decided that after previous weeks of easy going that it was time to get into the 'Real' cross season and let rip with a good level of rain for the duration of the event but when you are breathing hard and tasting blood the weather doesnt even register.
After a pre ride of the course tyre pressures were lowered... not since Arrowhead snow race have I dared run such low tyre pressure... numerous times I felt the rim hit a root or rock.
The start was on tarmac for a good 100m before firing into an S bend... again I struggled to get a decent grid position on the start and I had to spend the first half of the race picking my way through the field of over 80 riders before settling into the natural order of the race
The leaders were out of sight and I was left chasing the same 2 riders for probably the last 20 minutes of the race... we were very evenly paced so the gap never seemed to decrease... as the final bell lap came I sprinted the start finish straight to try and finally bridge the gap.. in a narrow singletrack section which climbed steeply I caught onto the back of them then on the next straight section made a move on the outside and past.
The next corner was hard left straight onto a muddy short climb.. I washed my front wheel out having to dab a foot and allowing the rider I had just overtaken to pull alongside.. I put in another effort and squeezed just in front as we hit the singletrack straight immediately apologising for the abrupt overtaking manouevre.
I pulled away leaving with a comfortable gap at the finish.
9th place... I am gradually creeping my way further up the finishing list.. I started the year aiming for top 15 finishes but now want to push myself harder and get into the top 5.. as conditions worsen I think my chances of getting there will grow.
NECCL RD4 this Sunday :)