I took part in a competitive ‘cross (CX) race a few weeks back, held on the sand dunes of Irvine, in Scotland. I had a lot of fun and this is a post about what happened on the day.
I arrived in good time to the race site to get signed-on and warmed up. This was my sixth race and I am starting to recognize a few names and faces, but the great films from the Dig In boys help with that too! I had a blether with a couple of other riders and then went back to the car to get race-ready. My support team of wife and baby son rolled off to find a good vantage point and I started on a recce of the course.
Shortly after the start finish line there was a set of wooden logs which you have to clamber over and uphill, as of normal hurdles weren’t enough! There was a long section of up and down grassy bits including the ‘big dipper’ down and up. Then there was a flat gravel section to get your breath back before a run up the steep grassy dune and into some single track. This was followed by grassy bit of off-camber and a drop down to the beach with a blast through the sand for 100m or so and then through some heavy mud and back to the start/finish.
All very simple, except I fell in the sand during the recce and managed to lock up the rear brake. I had to take it off by hand and just managed to get to the starting area before the gun went off!
So no time to think and within seconds of the start there was an almighty clatter as somebody went down, turns out he didn’t tighten the quick release on his rear wheel, taking four others with him. I managed to avoid the pile-up and got on with the job at hand: finish the race and try not to come last.
People were passing me more than I was passing them, but I managed to get a rhythm going and work out who I was racing against. As the laps and leaders flew past I stuck to it, despite coming off a few times and on one occasion holding up one of the leaders in the sand. Sorry! The clock was ticking down and I noticed two guys who I was playing leapfrog with and made up my mind to try and keep them behind me. I put in a big burst of speed, well big for me, to distance one of them and managed to shake the other one off too.
In the end I finished 45/48 three laps and +/-10 minutes down on the winner, Gareth Mongomerie, so I managed to achieve both goals.
There is one more ‘cross race for me this season: Dig in 2013 in early January.
Thanks for reading…