Again there's a good LBRCC turnout. Chris and Ross racing seniors. Darren and Jules racing in Vet/40. And Kevin, Miles and your's truly in Vet/50's Oh and 'Friend of the club' Nick of Giant Camden, actually on his first cross.
We arrive at Standalone Farm, a new venue and wander up the path to look at the circuit. We're greeted by a vast flat muddy sight. You look over the course and think hmmm. Then you go to walk off and your boots stay put, stuck in the mud. The hmmm becomes an uh oh.
We all have a practice lap, it is hellishly muddy and very very sticky. The course is so heavy that back markers are still on the course when we should be warming up on it. It's an absolute no no to pass people still racing no matter how slow they're going.
We obey the rules, do a lap, but we're no where near warmed up.....I will die.
Jules, Darren, Kevin, Miles, Nick and myself are called up to the starting grid. For some reason the powers that be have decided to set the Vet/40's off first, with the Vet/50's following minutes later. I prefer this though as we don't have the vast Vet/40 field chasing us down.
Jules, Darren and Nick go, the Vet/40's are on their way. I won't see them again until it's all over. Then Miles, Darren and me are gridded ready to go. It's a short lecture from the marshals and we're off.
However as the first lap comes to an end I find myself on Kevins wheel and with Miles only just ahead. We settle into a fairly tight 1 2 3. It's now that I decide to run the slow boggy corners, it works and I pass Kevin. I can tell straight away that running these sections has saved my legs. Kevin is still there though.
I'm closing on Miles now, and he elects to run as well. We are now racing classic cross.
I know Kevin is having problems with mud in the frame clearances and I know that Miles will be frustrated by the conditions not being able to lay power down.
That said we're still pretty well neck and neck when we start the final lap. I've had a terrible last half of the season and I'm determined to give it a good go today. So I pass Miles on the corners and take risks to gain some ground, I'm lucky and it works. The effort has put two other racers within catching distance, I power past them on the only little incline and put positions between myself and my club mates.
The flag is up ahead and I can just see Darren from Vet/40, but I won't have time to catch him. I jump the hurdles and the sleepers and run for the finish, then I decide to jump on the bike for a bit of a final flourish. Job done.
We're all in. And have done the club proud, not just today. but all season.
We go to the cars to get warm clothing to watch Chris and Ross race in seniors. It's the last race and these boys in these conditions are going to get mercilessly heckled. Chris is under the weather yet still gets a good start. Ross goes off fast and makes up a lot of early places.
We watch and heckle. It's clear that Chris's track style power is being affected by his illness, and drops off slightly, but holds onto a good overall position throughout the race. Ross is still going strong and we're shouting at him from the sidelines....HOON IT......RUN WITH IT....C'MON DON'T EFFING SLOW DOWN..poor bloke. The boys do well in a race that has simply become purgatory. So we're all done for 2014/2015
Driving home we talk about returning to normality on Sundays, club runs and plans for 2015. It's been a great experience to finally be able to race with club mates, and I'm already looking forward to the 2015/2016 season.
There are loads of images from this race. Thanks to Keith Perry, Kelly Tresham and all the others that capture our weekly gurning sessions. Also articles in the Hitchin local the 'Comet' and the Leighton Buzzard Observer.
|Jules out in Vet/40's|
|Pick it up and run|
|Nick. Giant Camden|
|Darren in Vet/40|
|Head to head with Kevin|
|Miles has the lead|
|Chris up front in seniors|