well, i know jason will have been sorry to miss that, it was a cracking event, really well done. well organised, well marshaled and well attended. there was a cracking atmosphere around the course with lots of hecklers and supporters banging their cowbells and cheering everyone on. there was also marshmallow pelting and even a tequila shortcut!
somewhat cheekily i had entered the novice category, well, i have never ridden cross before… sorry, raced cross… my friend Jon owns two wheels good, a bike shop in crouch end london, and i got roped into racing for his shop. there were four of us in total sporting twg kit, matt and alec who work in the shop joined me in the novice category and another james ended up in the veterans category.
james was off first so we had the pleasure of hanging around track side ringing cowbells as he went past and shouting words of encouragement. he looked pretty knackered by the end, but it is a race right? just before the pro’s took to the circuit i got the chance to get in a quick banker lap. Ah. that is why he looked so done in. the start of the lap featured a short steep climb followed by a fast descent back towards the start/finish arena. a nasty off camber descent led into a short complex which contained a set of hurdles. from here the course started to climb and climb it did! all the way up from the base of the hill through a piece of singletrack onto the grass slopes of the park and up to alexandra palace itself. then you got to run up a flight of steps!! one of the more evil and sadistic course features. i am sure if i had not have been breathing out my arse by that point I would have enjoyed the panoramic views across the city… luckily all the effort was rewarded with a nice descent down into the start/finish arena which was finished off with another piece of singletrack.
the pro race was excellent, it was great to see them tackle the course, especially nick craig, a mbt hero of mine for many years! it all seemed to be over very quickly with paul oldham, current british champion, taking the honours. then it was my turn. now i normally do endurance events, very little sprinting, mostly pacing oneself to the finish over a 100 odd miles. this was a bit of a departure from the usual. still, i was raring to go and sprinted off with everyone else at the start. the first lap passed very quickly, i even managed a perfect dismount to clear the hurdles! i was in about 10th spot when I charged to get ahead of a slower rider into the singletrack before the long climb. next thing i knew i was on the floor! ouch!!
i think i hit a stump in the undergrowth, whatever it was the result was a full on faceplant. i got back on my bike and rejoined the race. unfortunately CX is so fast that anything like that can leave you well out of position. i spent the next few laps frantically trying to catch back up. i pushed as hard as i could. it was carnage. i have no idea where i finished or no idea where anyone finished. the tequila shortcut mixed up the order so much that the race became complete chaos. guys i had passed the lap before were in front of me again without having passed me on course! i did not take the shortcut, i could not see it due to focusing so hard! thankfully there was a lot of support out on course with many friends and family out to watch so i got cajoled and heckled the whole way round. some friends even stood at the top of the steps to shout encouragement/abuse and take pictures as they sipped their pints, bastards!!
alec did very well finishing somewhere in the top five. matt clipped the hurdles and came down hard, i am not sure where he finished. overall it was a blast, an excellent though tough course, a cracking atmosphere and just lots of fun. despite hurting so much, i am sitting here with bruises and a very sore neck. i have heard rumours it will be running again next year it was so popular. i do hope so, though i will not get away with the novice category again!
rapha super cross