Sunday, 26 January 2014

Central CXL Round 11 Stanborough

So that's that, it's all over. No more cross until next winter.
So how was the last round at Stanborough park? Well I arrived there a little nervous. I had missed rounds 9 and 10 due to illness, so my form was in doubt. However once at the Park my form was the least of my worries. The circuit seemed to just plopped right onto a hillside, a proper off camber'fest, and on top of this I was freezing. I then spent as long as possible in my warm kit wandering up and down worrying, but it soon came time to strip off and get out there. After donning a jacket, wool gloves and warming oil I slipped under the tape for a practice. Just as I was about to go on course the commissaire came up to me just to let me know the Masters World and Masters National Champions were in my race; oh goody.
Now as it happens once on the course my mood changed, the reason being is I could ride this circuit, whilst many others seemed to be floundering, I was glad for the few hours off road the day before and the 25psi I had pumped into my tyres. I rode several practice laps to get my line and then rolled into the start a lot happier.
Next was gridding, please God don't let them forget me this week, I only want to stick close to Tony to keep my overall position and not drop any further down.
First and second on the grid were the two champions, followed by the three front runners then me. Me called out 6th for a front row gridding with the Rainbow Jersey.
The gun goes and the front runners are off, I won't see them again until the end. Tony is right ahead of me, we slip and slide our way around before coming to a section were you can put your foot down, Tony isn't speeding up? I reluctantly pass him and press on. I have to race now, it's the last one and I can rest after this. I curse my bad lines and remember the good ones, don't forget to pedal around the bends to keep traction I tell myself. I'm going quite well it seems, but I feel I shouldn't be. I get a chance to see Tony and Keith and they're a few sectors behind me. I press on hard but I'm nervous, looking over my shoulder expecting them to be on my wheel at any moment.
When I arrive at the sector where previously I'd seen the Trisports duo a few turns behind, I find to my surprise they're not even in sight this time around.
I keep going hard as I can, I want to please my team mates Julian and Andrew who are cheering me on. I think about Julian going next in the seniors as the course seems to be drying, well in places.
The race is nearly over, I know I could probably run the rest if I puncture, but there's one more small race to be run. Mick another Trisports rider has caught me, but as it's the last lap of the last race and nothing is going to change we have some banter. We battle for the best lines shouting AH HAAA like a pair of dueling musketeers as we beat each other into the turns, but Micks superior cornering on the last turn to the flag gives him the advantage and he beats me to the flag.
So there you go. How well have I done? I don't know as the final results haven't been posted as yet. However the final overall standings have? and I finished 6th overall in my category. A glance of the standings show me to have collected 110 points from the Stanborough race, so that would make me 5th on the day.
Perhaps the forced rest and the few gentle club runs did me good?
I'm now looking forward to a few steady months finding my mileage legs. I've got a few mountain bike enduro's booked as well as three Audax rides. Then it's back to road racing, though it'll be a steadier year, at 54 I'm in the final year of my age band. The plan is to go harder next year when I'm 55 and the youngest in the next age band.
Lots of happy miles ahead.
Start line with the Champions

With the National Champion jersey

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