I’m leaning into a perfectly-shaped bend, a very brief tickle of the rear brake and a weight shift and I’m flying round, kicking up a small cloud of dust from my semi-slick rear tyre as I power along the next straight, clicking the chain down the cassette, accelerating…picking off other riders one by one….full-pelt towards the next bend…
In my world, cyclocross is nothing like this.
Time to think about this a bit more. The season’s over, so I’ve got the best part of a year to get things right and stop losing so much time on stupid, fixable things….
1. Get some really narrow tyres that won’t clog with so much mud in a wet race that the sodding rear wheel stops turning and I’ve got to stop 2 or 3 times a lap to scoop half-pound balls of mud and twigs off the stays whilst others ride on past.
2. Finally work out how the hell to heroically leap back onto the bike after a run-up or anything else that involves a dismount. There’s a ‘sensible circuit’ in my brain that forbids me to do this, even if I wanted to. Maybe I need hypnosis. And a few hours with Mr Haygarth or Mr Dorrington.
3. Crash less. I’m currently sat here with my right ankle twice the size it should be and it’s really bloody painful following a stupid slip-slide CRUMP down to the ground earlier today, my entire weight concentrated on the small part of my ankle that happened to land on a one-inch wooden stake in the ground, drawing blood and making me feel sick for the last 15 minutes of the race. I always crash and go down HARD in cross races. Like I’m bloody inept or something. Needs practice.
4. Do more cyclocross races. I’ve done a poxy 2 this season. I do a bit of specific training for the 3 Peaks then mong around every weekend wondering if I can make it to the start line of some hour-long race in a local park. More often than not, the long training ride wins instead.
What else? I’m not having ‘get fitter and faster’ because that’s far too nebulous and to be honest, if I sorted out the stuff above I’d probably do a lot, lot better at this. I’m always trying to get fitter and faster and for the most part, I’m doing ok on that score. I’m definitely not getting much better at cyclocross though. And I need to, because I want to start to love it.
See you next season then eh?
(pics with kind permission of Jon Wyatt)