North West Cyclocross – RD 1 – Blakemere
After a two year break I’m back at it. That’s right #crossishere and the season gets underway with RD 1 of the NWCCA at Blakemere with the event run by Port Sunlight Wheelers.
This is my first time racing in the NWCCA and rolling up to the event I was impressed, this looked like a stand alone race with a gathering of sponsor, team and catering tents before a huge course scattered with the classic ‘cross’ obstacles. Racing in the seniors alongside the whippet ‘yoofs’ and under 23’s I decided to play it safe and start at the back. There has been rigorous pastry consumption in these past two years and at least if I had a crisis of fitness I wouldn’t cause a rolling road block. To my surprise I got of the line in a fairly spritely manner managing to squeeze my way past the failed clip ins and get into the thick of the bunch as we hit the first few corners. The lead group set a furious pace from the off, the big open course an advantage for powerful riders and I quickly found myself battling with the chasing group, I managed to shoulder / undercut / weave my way into the front 30 or so using cornering skill rather than fitness. I’m getting crafty in my 30’s!
As the chasing group thinned and the faster chasers began to fall back I found myself in a little group of 5 or so riders which would be my race for the day. We were fighting hard to maintain a decent pace knowing that others were not far behind, the course was dry and fast with short punchy climbs and ample short sharp corners which gave me a chance to make some decisive passes that my legs couldn’t deliver on the longer straights.
With 3 laps to go I’d cut my way to front of our little group and the sheer effort was beginning to bite, as we hit a 180 degree off camber left hand corner I just caught a glimpse of one of the riders chasing my wheel go down. I know a gift when I see it so it was full gas for half a lap to put some distance between us. I’ve no doubt the younger lads chasing me had the fitness but in trying to close that gap I could see the tell tale signs of fatigue kicking in and all I had to do was be consistent and hang on for the next couple of laps.
I gave it my all right to the finish line happy that I’d managed to hold on finishing 12th in the Senior and 23rd over all. I’m super pleased with that, it feels like I haven’t lost much in the two years I’ve been absent from the cross scene. I know I can do better though. I’m waiting for the rain to come so those corners become ever more decisive.
Sound like fun? Come and give cross a try at our Wednesday Night Cross sessions
If you fancy having a go a cyclo-cross our Wednesday Night Cross training sessions are a great way to give the sport a go without the pressure of racing. We meet every Wednesday at Oldfield Brow Recreation Ground in Altrincham (WA14 4LE) at 6:30pm. Sessions last for about an hour where we train for fitness and skills to build confidence for racing all you need to bring is a helmet and a suitable off road bike, even a hybrid with knobbly tyres will do!. We are a super friendly bunch and we encourage any one of any ability or age to come and give it a go, cross is a very inclusive sport ideal for pre-teen children without dangerous roads or trails to worry about.
All this info is on our events page where along with social media we post any updates on future evenings:
Written on September 11th, 2019 by Ben Othen