Back to where my cross season this year started... 4 races back and under the BCF banner I opened my cyclocross season.
The course here is an excellent mix.... short sharp climbs, wooded singletrack and wide grassy drags for losing or gaining places.
As a change for this race the course was altered slightly and ran in reverse... this coupled with a heavy downpour the day before leaving the grassy sections wheel suckingly wet it made for a challenging course.
So to keep with the theme of change I had opted to strip my bike of its front mech as I had rarely used it in any of the races.. with this change I upped the front ring to a 38t leaving the 12/25 out the back.
I've identified that i'm not the best starter in the world.. in fact i've had awful starts every race so far and with such a short race every little helps... this time round I wasn't taking any chances so pre start I stalked Alan Nixon (Blackhawk Bikes)to the start line and pulled right up next to him... front line and a clear field ahead no excuses.
As the race started I was immediately in a better position although still not the best start it was infinitely better than previous efforts and I was about 10th going into the singletrack muddy descent.. this descent fired the riders into a sharp left hander and then it was into some slippy singletrack.
By the time we had reached the section where the course double backs on itself I could see that the lead group had a little gap already.
It was immediately clear on the first lap that the new gearing was maybe a little steep and I really had to mash the pedals hard to make the slippy climbs.. that being said I wasn't losing any places and was gaining on the riders in front.
The wooded singletrack was nice and twisty and passing was best left till you were out of it but as we caught the back of the field quickly there was no option but to try and weave through best you could..
The racing was very close and I was pushed from the start... about 40 minutes in I was caught and dropped a few places... although the riders never pulled out a very big gap and I would get those places back not long after and hold them to the end.
The mud had started to gather around the wheels and I was glad of the extra clearance the disc brake set up allows me although it felt like I had gathered a fairchuck of the course on my bike and was now carrying round with me for extra training effect.
On almost the last lap I saw Alan Nixon running off the course... broken mech.. I was happy that my bike was still working well but as the race entered its final lap I was pushed hard by a rider from Malton Wheelers who stuck a pass on me as I had to dismount and run a climb when my rear wheel broke traction and I span to a stop... as we started the final drag up before the start finish field I passed him again and this time when we enetered the field instead of diving for the sides and seeking an easy line I just gave it all straight down the middle.
Another great race and a satisfying 6th place.
The race was won by Dave Crawley (Velo Club Moulin) who looks to be taking his place at the front of the field for the forthcoming events.
New wheels and a 11-28 cassette this week in preperation for sundays CXNE race :)