A week after Gateshead and an £80 parts repair bill later I was back at another cross race.
The Stainton venue was windy and cold... watching the Junior race from the comfort of a warm van the motivation to get changed and get riding was low.
With no National Trophy race on the field was stacked with some top quality rider... Oldham, Ward, Murray, Moss, Nixon.. the list was extensive so today wasn't gonna be easy.
First sign on for my new team for 2011... VELO CLUB MOULIN ... after other new Velo rider Dave Crawley's 1st place on his first outing for them the pressure was great :)
After a quick change myself and Neal, who'd come for his first cross race experience, pedalled out onto the course... to not long after turn around and head back to the van.. I had changed rear wheels and forgot to fit a spacer to inside of freehub so cassette was rattling.. luckily I had other wheel with spacer with me and was able to borrow tools and sort it.
The course looked pretty awful but once on it it rode really well... plenty of turns, a nice climb, transitions from dirt to tarmac which were only surpassed in their bike sliding ability by a set of off camber bends which were really tricky.
Just before start Neal decided that he had a rear flat so made for the van only to make it back in time to get going... I was mid field on the start line and spent the first lap executing some high risk dubious cornering overtakes to cut my way up towards the top 10.
On a set of low boards that could be bunny hopped I saw new team mate Dave Crawley standing with his bike, later found out a snapped rear mech... I feel your pain Dave!!!
The race was excellent... I had a great battle for most of the race with the same Malton Wheeler rider as we exchanged places two or three times a lap... He would be a little quicker through the turns but I would get on the gas on the climbs and take position back.
About 45 minutes in I was overtaken by the leader ... Paul Oldham... no great shame as the form he has at the moment I was surprised it didn't come earlier... another 40 seconds later then Steven Ward came through... a North East rider having a great battle with Oldham and squeezing out the other Hope factory boys for the second place spot.
A lap to go I was just behind my Malton Wheelers rival on the start finish climb so I rode hard past and then buried myself for the rest of the lap.. in doing so I caught and lapped Neal who looked to be enjoying himself too much... one final out the saddle effort and the race was done... 13th place in a good field of riders... I know I have a more to give so looking forward to North of England CX champs in a few weeks.
Picture courtesy of Lee Adeola (http://www.flickr.com/photos/leeandamanda/)
Videos of the race can be seen here;