Sunday, 28 October 2012

A5 Rangers cyclo-cross 2012

The off in a Trisports sandwich
Well we're certainly getting variety in the courses this season. Last week it was Zappi's Somme like conditions and this week it was the manicured lawns of Magdalen College in Brackley.
Conditions were cold but thankfully dry because this was an off camber fest. I set off for the usuall few recce laps and was shocked at how tough it was, it was turn turn turn bang bang bang.
I lined up in the pen waiting to be gridded and was actually thinking of pulling out early....I really didn't fancy this one.
rolling out
I finally got called up and noticed hardly anyone behind me! Then we were off. I had luck on my side and found a clear line passing both Rob and Stuart. Stuart soon got past, but Rob couldn't find a line and was breathing down my neck. He finally got past on a bend hitting and snapping a post in the process sending it into my front wheel. To his frustration he went down in the first of the off cambers and I slid past again. Still breathing down my neck he passed me on the first run section and I saw him speed off into the distance spitting fire. I considered myself lucky at getting a 'free' lap so I abandoned my idea of jacking and rode a damage limitation ride. As I write this I don't have any results, but I think my steady ride kept me at the usual two minutes off Rob. I also managed to pass a few riders that were gridded ahead of me which further spurred on my enthusiasm.
Pressing on I found I wasn't having the same issues as many other riders in that I found it no problem staying upright. So rather than make my moves on the few straight sections I took risky lines on the bends to overtake and it worked.
I had a clean and tidy race and didn't get lapped by Craig this time,  I also saw that that as I started my last lap the leader was not far behind me. If he passed me I'd be down a lap on the others so I gunned it a bit and got the bell lap. Like last week I'd got in seconds before the winner allowing me one more lap. I could have gone easy, but I found two riders in my sights that I managed to pass before taking the chequered flag.
I'd gone from whinning sod to a happy bunny in one hour.
But there was more to come. Stuart had a little surprise for us, but we had to give him a few minutes? We cycled back to the cars and I saw Craig beaming. Stu had something on the go for us, the cold had obviously  affected my sense of smell as I thought it was hot chocolate.......but no, ever better


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Zappi's cyclo - cross 2012

Grimacing on a tough course
Oh yeah. Round four hosted by Zappi's cycle café looked the business, Ups, downs, mud as deep as you like and plenty of sections to put the hammer down....proper 'old skool' cross. I was going to love this.
Four of Team Green were here to race, Craig, Stuart, Rob and myself. And for the first time this season the Commisaire  called up a complete grid based on recent results, which in this case was as listed above.
Even so we were still close together. The gun went off and we were away. Instantly the pattern formed, Craig/Stuart/Rob/me. I try to stay in contact as long as possible to minimise losses and it paid off this time. Rob went down heavy in the worst mud section allowing me past. Normally I'm two minutes adrift so something was wrong. Later I found out he had punctured.
Still I was loving this course and I was having good luck as well, riders were falling like flies and I found a path through every time.
Each lap was a treat to ride. And I was having a good old ding dong with a Bicester rider, he was quicker on the straights and I was on his wheel on the technical sections. Sadly he seemed to blow just after half way and that left me in no mans land for the duration. That is until Andy of the Archer RC came past. Riding in that smooth almost effortless style of his, and he just seemed to make up ground like he was on tarmac?
With two laps to go I tried to put in some more effort and managed to pass or lap a few riders. Then approaching the bell I realised that the winner was about to bear down on me, a quick spurt and I got in the extra lap. I think there was one second in it. Even the marshal didn't know wether to ring the bell or wave the flag. I was the last seven lapper so no pressure, but there was still time to pass a few more before sprinting up the straight to the flag.
Definitely 'the' race so far.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Hemel Hempstead cyclo-cross 2012

Famous five Moi, Rob, Craig, Fraser, Stu
Last weekend LBRCC entered it's largest race squad for a single event, the event was the Hemel Hempstead CX, round 3 of the 2012/13 Central league. Again conditions were good with a fast drying course. Normally I'd like a bit of slime, but the Hemel is a very technical course so there weren't any complaints.
Myself and Rob tried to start a bit further up the grid as it was another 140 plus rider event, which meant you stood a good chance of just finishing where you started. However we didn't do as well as Craig who managed to get right up there.
At the gun myself, Rob and Stuart were all close. The course was so well designed that congestion was almost zero at the first tricky bit. However a muppet making a first lap bike swap swung out of the pits right into me, then proceeded to hold me up whilst trying to index his gears. That was the last I saw of the others.
Feeling pee'd off I started to chase Rob and Stu, Craig was well off in front. By the end of the second lap I was about 15 metres behind, but exiting the crowded woodland singletrack I was surprised to see the two of them way ahead?
Sadly that's how all the other laps went. I tried sitting on a wheel, but soon realised that the rider in front was too slow, so I overtook and rode alone the entire race.
There was some good news though, I was making ground on riders that had been ahead of me in the previous races. They were standing still and myself and Rob were making a good two minutes up on them, a good sign so early on in the season.
If I could have lost the back ache I could have done better, or at least not seen Craig tear past me.
It was a good race and well ridden except for the speed, and it was great to have team mates there
In order of finishing; Craig, Stu, Rob, me, Fraser(dnf)

Monday, 8 October 2012

History of Sport Road Race 2012

Robert Orr crosses the line 1st
Leighton Buzzard Road Cycling Club host it's first ever road race, the History Of Sport RR. Won by Robert Orr of Velo 29.

Team MK Cyclo Cross 2012

Saturday 6th was a busy day on the LBRCC calender. After giving a marshals brief and spectating a few laps of the clubs own road race. I sloped off to Milton Keynes for round two in this years central league Cyclo cross races.
Thankfully Saturday was a gloriously sunny day, because I was still coughing my guts out and cold weather would have been the death of me. Though just to make things interesting the ground was still holding water from the weeks rain. When I arrived I met Jason and he immediately pointed to a spot on top of the hill and said 'they're calling it death corner' due to the amount of riders it was claiming.....interesting.
I got myself changed and set off for a recce, and found it nicely technical but not silly technical! Just as I was about to set off for another recce I bumped into Rob, we were a team of two again. We went around together to learn the points to dismount and where to change gear. That done we rolled over to the start only to find we were at the back again. It looked like we were going to finish where we started yet again.
It's all under control
The whistle went and we were off, only to stop seconds later due to a massive bottleneck at the first singletrack section that saw us both walking for what seemed an age. back on the bikes and we were off again. I was trailing Rob and had intended to do so the whole race, but that wasn't going to happen. As we swung into a tight hairpin into a climb the rider in front of me fell and took me down with him. Laying there clipped in pointing downhill I could see Rob riding into open ground.  Up again I set off trying to manage the gap between us, the only good news was that I got up before the rider that took me down and moved up a place. Lap after lap I could see Rob. Then on the penultimate lap a passing elite went by too quick and took out the barrier tape. The resulting flapping tape made a direct line for my chainset and as I stopped to untangle the mess I was overtaken and moved down a place. It was a bugger of a race for me. I pressed on happy to find I had made the bell lap, I didn't think I'd be that lucky and all I had to do was finish. I lapped three riders on the way to the flag, crossed the line and collapsed a coughing mess. Still not a terrible finish for an old man with a bad chest.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Archer RC cyclo-cross 2012

A bit of a toughie this one. Not because it's blindingly technical, not because it was cold, wet or muddy. It wasn't any of these. What made it a problem was the fact I was harbouring a cough and cold, I wouldn't have raced if it was any of the above. In fact it was a balmy 17 degrees. So foolishly I told Rob, my team mate that day that I was on for it.
So we set off for 'that London' I think Rob was a little surprised to find a cyclo-cross course nestled within Hillingdons urban sprawl, but that's where it was. We arrived in plenty of time, a good job to as shaking hands with racing mates you haven't seen all year takes some time. With pleasantries done we set off on a course recce. I was pleased to see that Hillingdon when dry offers the easiest least technical course the league offers. The only exception being the relentless blister inducing tufts of grass.
bumpety bump
With a recce done we set off for the start. Sadly our poor gridding on the start would mark the whole race for Rob and myself.  A good fifty percent of the field were called up to be gridded the rest of us were slowly pointed towards the back of the grid. We were placed at about 100th from a field of over 130 racers, not ideal.
This far down the back I couldn't even hear the starters orders, so we just reacted when the riders started tearing off. Going down the tarmac start I made a point of grabbing a few places, I hoped Rob was doing the same. Once onto the rough stuff it was clear that moving up through the field would take some real effort, as most of the bends were so tight you almost had to track stand to take them. So the only option was to pass on the few straights, problem was everyone knew this and gave no ground. For me the whole hour was raced like this. And it was whilst having a lap long duel with a Hitchin rider that Rob took advantage of us looking at each other and passed into clear ground. I saw Rob at the same switchback every lap, and with the exception of taking a few of my 2011 competitors scalps that's how I continued and finished my race.
It was one under the belt, but I'm not riding at all until round two next week, unless this bloody cough passes.
Until next week