The last few posts have been about elite ‘cross races in Belgium.
It’s about time I posted something aboyt my own cycling ‘escapades’.
I have a race coming up on Sunday 6 Jan in Bo’ness, Dig in at the Dock.
This is a cyclocross event which I took part in last year with mixed results…
I had been off the bike for most of November & December 2011 for family reasons but I entered Dig In held in January 2012 as it seemed like a fun event organized by good people. When the day of the race came around I was still bothered by my low level of fitness (mind you it’s never that high!). Despite this it seemed a good idea to me to cycle 15-20 miles to get to the race: it would warm me up. I sped slowly down the road from Stirling to Bo’ness, fully expecting to have a good day in the saddle.
After signing on and blethering to a few people in the hospitality village I went out on a getting-to-know-you, to find out where I would come a cropper. The course was quite dry and firm in most places and relatively flat. There were a couple of tricky off-camber sections and a stretch of cobbles that would not seem out of place in the Paris-Roubaix Classic, but it seemed a bit easier than I imagined it would be. I joined the middle of the pack ready for the start and hoped to make a real go of it.
Right from the gun I knew I was in trouble. I was cycling in a bath of treacle and things got worse. I tried to latch on to a couple of groups going past me at what seemed like super-sonic speed, but failed.
I settled down and started working hard to stay with someone just in front of me. That worked out ok for a while, but then I made the stupid mistake of passing them. I was now out on my own and exposed to the headwinds blowing in off the sea and started to toil. To make matters worse I struggled with the off-camber sections and lost a lot of time on every lap just through that. And the cobbled section shook the life and energy out of me at every pass.
‘Oh well there is always the dollar grab’ I thought, but I failed miserably in that too, picking up 1 bill after three attempts to grab monopoly bills for the very generous raffle which had been organized. Needless to say I came away from the draw at the end empty-handed. When things aren’t going your way, they really aren’t!.
I was being lapped left right and centre by pretty much the whole field, but did have the privilege of seeing the leaders going toe-to-toe along the cobbles during the bell lap. I limped in after them, 82 out of 84 finishers, swearing I would never ride ‘cross again. I was offered a lift home and accepted it gladly. By the time I was in the car I was already hoping that Autumn would roll round again so I could get my next ‘cross fix.
This year I hope to do a bit better, 81/84 would be an improvement!
Mind you I have done very little cycling over the last month so it’s likely to be another hard day in the saddle.
The organizers have done a great job in promoting this race and some top riders will be appearing alongside hacks like me.
The race is sold out, but there is plenty for spectators to see and do with several bike shops holding a bike market and Djs providing an appropriate soundtrack to the race, while kids big and small can also get their faces painted.
It will be a grand day out for all concerned and a great way to kick off 2013.
So come along if you can!
All the best for the New Year.