bloody cyclocross

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)

Adios, 2010

This time last year I was droning on about how great 2009 had been and how much I was looking forward to taking things up a notch or two in 2010. I could, if I wanted, drone on again with a long and drawn-out account of 2010, but I won’t. What I will say though is that 2010 was definitely a ‘progressive’ year in my little world of riding bikes. Compared with 2009 I rode more, I raced more, I got some great results and I learned a few lessons.

In the interests of keeping it brief, the highlights for me were podiums at the Strathpuffer, Mountain Mayhem and Relentless 24. A win at the Gisburn 12 hour race. The continued support from Ragley and the addition of sponsorship from JMC IT, 2Pure and Squirt Lubes. The brilliance that were both of the 2010 Hit the North events. The Daft Rides, even the ones that didn’t go completely to plan (mainly because of snow) and also the ones that did go well – such as the record-breaking  Trans Cambrian Way ride.

Despite a frustrating period during SITS, the Kielder100 and Dusk til Dawn and a late mechanical annoyance at the 3 Peaks, the year started and ended well and things seem to have gone full circle – I’m putting in some good training now for the Strathpuffer which is only a few days away and the riding/racing schedule for 2011 is just as, if not more busy than 2010.

Another year of progression will do for me (oh and I’m 40 this year too).

Happy New Year!