|Someday soon your name will be in lights|
You could say a write up on our very own CX race is a tad overdue, what with the season now well under way. Well I have my excuses, heck I've not even ridden let alone written about riding.
So anyway the inaugural LBRCC CX
It was late 2015 when I was first approached by British Cycling and the Central League about hosting our own event. I didn't say no, but thought they meant maybe host our own event. After all when I was first approached I was actually on the starting grid of one of the MK Bowl rounds, so not an ideal time or place to make notes. I thought we could do it, but I know how hard organising a full on all singing and dancing BC race is, so time passed and I thought I'd just not mention it!
However I think it's was at the penultimate round of the 2015/2016 season when BC whispered into my shell like about hosting that race, so I whispered a erm err well hmm back. After all, I again was on the starting grid ready to race.
So there I am ready to go and the commissaire is giving the morning prayer. When all of a sudden he announces a new race and location for the 2016/2017 season, oh wow I think to myself more racing which is always good. Then we're told the LBRCC are hosting said round, location TBA. Fuck! really? Delegation spelt DUMPED. I turn around to greet the applause with a smile.
So anyway we get the 2015/2016 season over with. I'm happy to take seasons club honours in the over 50's as I'm already making private plans not to race the next one anyway.
The 2016 club year is well underway already by now. And organising this race isn't going to be easy. As well as overseeing all that goes on in the club whether it's my job to or not from how the G rides are going to who's riding with frayed brake cables. The sorting of new kit and an improved ordering system. And running my other baby the Lion Of Leighton.
I call on everyone to help. First of all the big one, LOCATION. Who's going to lend us a field that fits the bill, has car parking, all the facilities we'll need, and doesn't mind it getting ripped up by several hundred coffee and cake crazed CX riders?
Plenty of ideas come up, but only one fits the bill.
I had actually approached Cedars School from the start back when I was approached by BC, the feedback was good then. So after exhausting all other locations I returned there again to meet them in person. After receiving a very warm welcome from the schools groundsmen I left with a firm location. We had a firm location and an almost firm date. In October 2016 the LBRCC would be hosting a full on CX race.
It was at this time, just as the clubs committee was going into overdrive to get this race off the ground that a number of personal issues fell upon me, some good some bad and some very very bad.
My riding almost stopped overnight, and sorting this race was going to become impossible for me to do. I needed a knight in shinning armour.
Darren Winfield might prefer a nice casquette to armour, but he was the man for the job. The committee now had a 'special branch' to organise and promote this race, anyone that had a useful skill was drafted in. Darren was by now on this project almost full time, and to be honest by now I could only stay updated through our committee meetings. I could see the effort he was putting in though.
After months of Darren putting things into place it was time to get troops on the ground, and get out there and turn Cedars from a school into CX race course.
This is where I could at least put something else into the project. I already had the course laid out in my mind and with the help of Rob Milton we went to work.
Flat very flat that's Cedars, but we walked out my plan whilst Darren and Ross rode it behind us, Ross taking care of course distance and mapping it for us to present to BC at our final pre race meeting. Happy was how I felt, we had a course that I'd have loved to have raced so I was happy to present this to BC. We even had a shortened course for the 'Unders'.
It was then that we christened our race the 'Crit Cross' due to it being fast and flat. And that Rob would also sort out race promotion artwork.
The meeting with BC, the calm before the storm. BC, Central and LBRCC present we got the final low down. It was all falling into place. H&S, catering, changing rooms, timing tent, marshals, medics, commissaires, stakes, tape, hurdles, car parking, radios, photographers, prize money, electronic timing, vehicle access, online entry, race day entries.....and much more. All done.
Then we presented them with the satellite images of the race course, going through the course with a fine tooth comb. With all concerns addressed with both the full and unders course, we got it rubber stamped. And we could just about afford it.
Saturday. Pre race day. A large contingent of LBRCC'ers turned up to help prepare the stage. Darren arrived with our hire van stacked full of stakes and tape and duly dished them out to all and sundry. Then of course I realised that only I knew where to place all the stakes and tape! Still the many hands made light work of it. The course was laid out in rough, then fine tuned afterwards. Temporary sections were put in so we could tape off a kids course. Then it was just a case of walking the course, collecting litter, highlighting roots and rocks and adding a crash barrier to the metal fence sections.
Job done, we all walked away knackered hoping that it would all still be there tomorrow on race day.
Sunday 16th October 2016, race day.
Normally I write about race day from the viewpoint of a competitor, and having done so since the birth of the Central League, and having raced as unaffiliated then for the Belgians and finally for my beloved LBRCC.
I'm kind of hoping that LBRCC'ers that raced this day might add to the comments.
I know in the grand scheme of things it's a small race. But as I stood there so early that morning watching the timing tent go up, the BC station go up, race officials arrive, marshals slot into place, and also listen to the sound of all the race vehicles coming and going it felt to me like a very big deal.
From this point on Darren was back in charge and running the show. I was given no duty, but it was my task to use my years of experience in cross to see that all was well as far as the course was concerned. It was whilst checking over the far part of the course that current World Masters CX Champion Dave McMullen stopped to talk to me, all I was concerned about was if he was happy with the course? He was, that as far as I'm concerned is good enough for me. If the Rainbow stripes are happy with what I've put together, then anyone who has something to say can do one.
Later that morning we were good to go. The kids were up first, the poor sods. The skies were black, in fact so dark the photographers were having issues. And then of course the skies fell in.
All I can tell you is that cyclo cross breeds some tough little buggers, those kids in those conditions were a real credit to the sport and their families.
Up next were various 'U' groups, the novices, Vet 40, Vet 50 and finally in the best conditions of the day, the seniors.
I can't write in detail about the racing. All I know is that everyone was very happy and loved the race, of course the deluge had changed the face of the race.
Injuries, we had one and sadly it was a pretty bad one, but thankfully our very own Angel Katie jumped in. Think she might have pulled as well!
All our boys and girls finished and were a real credit.....you need to give me your images and words and I'll edit them in.
So yes proud and happy. Massive thanks to Darren and guest Keith Perry. Thanks to Katie for at least making me feel we had a safe place. Thanks to all the marshals, checker in and outers, car parking attendants. To the supporters and the cake makers. And finally to the racers of the LBRCC and visiting clubs.
Same time next year?