I finished 30th in the British Cyclocross Championships today at Sutton Park near Birmingham, and with it helped Team Wheelbase / Gore Bike Wear to their first ever team championship win. It was a nice feeling to go straight to the podium after the finish for our gold medals and be faced with a huge applauding crowd… and then even be pestered for my autograph by a young boy when we climbed down from it (!!?)
The race itself was a fast but technical and ultimately a tough course. The secret to its challenge was the unrelenting and frequent turns which in turn meant frequent and unrelenting accelerations… my thighs held together but it was strange to see a course that held my heart rate above 170 bpm for the whole race and saw an average heart rate of 175 bpm for the hour.
Yes, I’d have liked it much muddier, and yes, I’d like to have had to dismount the bike more than one short ten yard stretch per lap, but I can’t deny it was a good test and a challenging course. (Google Earth map of it here).
The really negative thing for me was losing four places in the last 400 metres, when I unshipped my chain carrying the bike over a set of planks. To have got to that point without any mechanical mishap or riding mistakes then do that was nothing short of irritating. Still… it could have been a snapped chain and more like ten places!