Monday, 9 November 2015

Central CXL Round 7 IRC Houghton Regis

A bit like Standalone Farm, but without the bumps. That's how you sort of summed up this years Icknield Road Clubs race course. But that's before you rode it. What looked a simple enough course actually held some difficult sections, sections where mind and body would need to work.
However for a now an early warm up had provided some misjudged confidence.

Before our race, that's Miles, Darren, Steve, Kevin (absent sir) and myself started we settled in to watch CX virgin Barry have a go in novices. Not knowing what Barry was wearing or what he was riding we yelled out 'c'mon Barry' and rang bells to every rider until 'the real' Barry responded.
Then we saw off Andrew and Colin in Vet 40's before going for another warm up. I nearly came to blows doing loops of the playground, forgetting a mud encased tyre with 25psi in it might not corner too well on tarmac. There were a few shouts of  'well held'.

Our race soon dawned, there was just time for one more warm up lap. It all seemed so easy in warm up. My plan was to ride away like last week. Simple.
You'll go on the whistle, we don't even get a few seconds the whistle goes immediately. It's a balls up from the start, the rider in front is still holding his rear wheel up adjusting his gears. Miles gridded well behind me is off down the straight. Miles had said he was going for this one,  And I was thinking '#### me you ain't kidding' he was off. I set of in pursuit dribbling and suffering stitches. Catching him at one point only for him to glance at me before accelerating again. I was barely marking him and couldn't believe where he was digging this performance up from.
Then on lap two he started to slow, and I eventually caught him, and just as he suffered a marker tape/bike interface.I pushed on pass.
Thinking I was in the clear I was a little surprised to see Darren closing in on me. Plus I was knackered from the two lap chase.
Darren unknowingly had made a superb choice of wheel to follow. Tony Shortland of Trisports  and I go back to the beginning of  of the Central CXL, we've fought year in year out, I've won some he's won some. Tony, if feeling good will chase me down and go for the honours. There's no love lost on the field between us. Tony was chasing me and Darren was right on his wheel, with a first class ticket for the train to winningville. Tony catches and passes me delivering Darren to my wheel. I jump on the Trisport rider and signal Darren to stay on.  For a while all seems good, I start to recover, I certainly won't work. Then after the hurdles Tony powers away and I can't match him, leaving me floundering in the headwind with Darren locked in on my wheel. It's my turn to get done over now. I'm tired, the sort of tired that makes you think there's something wrong with your bike! I have to recover when we reach the main straight, and Darren digs in deep and tears past. Nothing here. He makes a gap in one fell swoop that I can't contain, the best it gets down to using my counting method is six seconds, but seeing a chance to put a rider between himself and me he goes for it, perfectly timed and I watch Darren ride towards me as I'm still trying to pass the lapped rider. My only hope now is physical collapse with a lap to go. I pick a new line for the end of this final lap, annoyed to find is faster. I close in so tight that I'm also in the home straight as Darren crosses the line to complete the last lap. Then the killer blow. The race leader passes me to take the flag I'm about two bike lengths from the line when he passes, so my race is over and Darren has escaped. All I can do now is wrap up and watch.
I see Darren come round for the final time, I have a giggle because it's clear he still thinks I'm chasing him, he looks a bit perplexed when he see's me at the finish.
Well done Darren you bugger.

Next up it's the youngsters. Neil, Ross and Mitchell in seniors.
Their start is a mass brawl, and it's some time before we can see where the first LBRCC senior is. Mitchell comes around first followed by Neil then Ross. By lap two Mitchell has a sound lead and one that grows. Team Green is very strung out. Anyone watching would have put money on Mitchell taking honours in this one. Then the newest LBRCC  cyclocross rider suffers the same fate as the eldest LBRCC cyclocross rider. Neil has latched onto a fast moving group of riders and is now baring down fast. The course unlike any before lends itself well to drafting, and Neil is soon delivered to Mitchells wheel. The constant riding from the front is probably taking it's toll, and the freshly delivered Neil powers past. I take myself over to one of the straights to get an idea of how they're going. Then I see Mitchell standing not moving, he's at the hurdles. I clutch my head in despair, another show stopping mechanical. He rides past sans gears. Neil grabs a great comeback win, and is followed in by Mitchell then Ross.
Camera shy Mitchell in action

It just goes to show how tough, brutal and unpredictable cyclocross is. Neil makes a great comeback, the opposite of he's Hemel ride. Darren turned the tables on me on a similar course to the week before. Mitchell and Miles put in superhuman efforts that upset and then destroyed other riders. We're halfway though the season and none of us can take anything for granted.

Until next week.    

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