Summer Made Me Cross

Just a quick bikey update…

It’s been a slightly unorthadox ‘summer’ so far for me on the bike (I mean summer in that context as being after the clocks change!). Started okay at the SiS Crits round the fast 1 mile circuit at Preston. Having worn my GPS there at pretty much every race I’ve been in over the last few years, I know for a fact that the races there have got about 2mph faster in the last four years on average. That makes for tough racing and riding off the front on your own – even for short periods – is nigh on impossible. I thought for a while I was getting slower… and I’m sure I’m certainly past my peak… but watching break after break fail there with quality riders in it makes me realise that everyone’s getting a good caning!

Bit of a disaster – the now ritual Haygarth Springtime Injury came in the form of a dislocated shoulder in the wettest crit I’ve ridden for years. Two riders touched wheels in front of me in the sprint and I ran out of road very quickly, hitting the back wheel of one of the veering riders and piling down hard on the floor at more than 30mph. The shoulder went straight out and it was THE most painful ‘event’ in my life, albeit one that smoothed over very quickly a couple of hours later when they put me to sleep (presumably to stop the whimpering) and popped it back in.

The enforced rest was quite well timed. Id basically pissed it down and / or was blowing a gale for a fortnight. It also made me take stock of what type of riding I wanted to do in ‘my’ off-season. I went back to the drawing board and for some odd reason wanted to ride my Cyclocross bikes. The wind was too much for road riding; the shoulder wasn’t up to anything rad on the Mountain Bike. The ‘cross bike covered all bases. I had a great couple of ‘industrial fell’ rides last week and really enjoyed the change. Good as a rest. Well… even better…. if you don’t ‘do’ rest.


Suddenly, earlier this week, the opportunity came up to go and do one of the Yorkshire CCA summer cyclocross series… so I went over to Huddersfield along with Carl, (and seemingly the rest of Twitter) and rode my first ever summer ‘cross. (I’d ‘tried’ one a couple of summers ago but failed with a massive, loud puncture on lap 1!). Training’s ace, but race is best… always!

The experience was surreal and sublime. It felt like everything was ‘wrong’ for cyclocross. No warm clothes before the start, no bike changes, no worries about tyres / pressures, no jetwashes, no freezing fingers… just all a bit alien. But blimey, once the race starts, it’s all too familiar. Flatlining heart rate for 50 mins. Agony, panting, chasing, sprinting, braking… just bloody brill. I didn’t ‘perform’ too well and am a tad over weight (as usual!) but was pleased with some really consistent lap times (see Lap Details here) . A momentary lapse of concentration and a small crash with two laps to go put my bars and wheel out of line, as well as a small lump on my knee… and cost me 25 seconds and a few annoying places, but in my heart of hearts I enjoyed the race to the max.  (GPS here)

Would love to do more, but practical issues with Wednesday evenings in my life. The rarity made it even more of a treat. Love cyclocross. Did I say that before?