Forum home Road cycling forum Cyclocross

I raced this weekend and......

mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
edited October 2019 in Cyclocross
A place to sum up your experiences, I'll start with my race at Springfield, Chelmsford:

I had a stand in bike whilst I wait for the replacement for my broken one, it felt surprisingly good once I'd put on some better wheels and removed the rack and child seat I normally have on there whilst commuting. I was in and around the same people as last year so was happy that either I haven't gotten any worse or we are all getting slower together. One thing's for sure, there are a few new, quick youth riders this year.

Talking about the youngsters my 3 year old son Oscar raced in the under 10's on his pedal bike for the first time, it was a good warm up for me running after him and we were surprised to discover that he was the 2nd placed U8 boy and got a medal!

In all it was a good day and I'm not too sunburned today
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  • or rather won't be!

    calf tear after splashing out on khamsins / chain / 11-32 cassette and stripping everything off the Ridley. Gutted, but sod it I'll be watching the wessex league when I can with a dodgy cowbell app. And after laughingly telling my son he could be my roadie, the tables are turned.
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    You'll be back around the end of October though right?

    With the heavily front end loaded season in our league my biggest fear was being unable to race in the first month, luckily broken bikes can be fixed with a credit card and worked out later, so I feel for you having to wait it out.

    If you're going to the races anyway it might be worth offering to help out. As I was there all day waiting between 10am and 2.30pm races I let the organiser know and was handed a tablet to play 'cross bingo'. Tapping the numbers as the riders passed which is then uploaded to some magic software which has the results posted online within 30mins of the race ending. I was pretty impressed with how simple and efficient it was and I just had to sit at the finish line watching the race go by.
  • mikpem wrote:
    A place to sum up your experiences, I'll start with my race at Springfield, Chelmsford:


    Who puts that race / series on? Not sure I've got many weekends free but it's always good to know of other stuff happening locally..
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    http://www.easterncross.org.uk/league.htm

    The next three weeks are Colchester, Basildon and Hadleigh so all reasonably close if you're in Chelmsford.
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    Chelmsford was fun, unlike the Hog HIll suffer fest the day before.

    In a bizarre twist I found myself in a race long battle with the same rider as I'd had a race long battle the year before. Last year I was pipped on the last remount before the finish when I couldn't clip in under pressure. Determined not to let this happen again I burnt my last match and put in a massive dig with a lap and a half to go. Just when I'd opened a gap I thought I could sustain I dropped my chain. The 'unlucky' I got in passing from the other rider did nothing to help my mood, but the fact I finished a dozen places up the field from last year did.
  • Hog Hill was my first (and currently only) CX race. I'm certainly glad to hear that other CX races can be fun when you are racing rather than just when it stops!

    _
  • mikpem wrote:
    http://www.easterncross.org.uk/league.htm

    The next three weeks are Colchester, Basildon and Hadleigh so all reasonably close if you're in Chelmsford.

    Ah, part of that series... I did out club's 2nd evening cross race last night... managed to take a lump out of my ankle dismounting (on the warm-up lap) but otherwise good fun. Slow, but fun...

    I think I'll leave the Eastern until I'm a bit fitter next season.
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    Is that Maldon? I've seen they do a few.

    Glad you enjoyed it despite the injury. Have a go at Basildon next week, a friend of mine is going to do his 2nd one. He only got his cross bike the morning of his first race at Chelmsford, having only ever gone on a couple of short rides on his old mountain bike before. He settled in to 10min laps and really enjoyed the expreience and is really keen to have another go.
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    Started on the back row because I was in the bushes when they called my name out, haha!

    The kid next to me threw a wobbly because he did the same thing so they put him on the front row where he was supposed to be after some general mickey taking and a pat on the back with a 'you're one of us now' from the wobblers at the back.

    Starting at at the back had it's positives and negatives. It was a very slow start, I think the guy in front of me was hard of hearing and didn't know where his pedals were, but once we got going I passed a couple then sat back and enjoyed the ride behind a group in the singletrack until I could get some clear space. Then on a switchback I saw how far ahead a guy I'm usually quite close to was so started pushing to catch him, it takes quite a bit of energy passing people (not normally something I have top worry much about) and he was riding up a slope that my legs wanted to run so it took me ages to get on his tail. Eventually I caught him on the last lap, held him off, got some distance then got to that damned hill and watched him ride past me and on to the finish line.

    It was nice riding a bike where everything works as my new one turned up on Friday. It was a bit close to the wire as I ordered it the previous Wednesday and the gears needed a bit of adjustment because both front and rear mechs wouldn't shift into the biggest rings.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    15th in local league Saturday after a crash, 21st in British Cycling league Sunday after a good race by my standards.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    3 Peaks. Went over the bars 3 times on the first descent. First time I landed on the back of my head (sore neck); second time I landed on my face, luckily in a nice soft bog; can't remember what happened on the third one, but I was quite dazed afterwards. Lost 42 places.
    I ran quite a lot of the second descent, and only lost 3 places...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    tgotb wrote:
    3 Peaks. Went over the bars 3 times on the first descent. First time I landed on the back of my head (sore neck); second time I landed on my face, luckily in a nice soft bog; can't remember what happened on the third one, but I was quite dazed afterwards. Lost 42 places.
    I ran quite a lot of the second descent, and only lost 3 places...

    42 places, crikey, that's a lot in what was only 2 and a bit minutes slower than my descent. Goes to show how many places can be made up by good descending. Some guys even around our position in the race were flying past me like I was standing still, seeing the top riders descend in literally half the time we take must be great to watch.

    Looking at our splits we were almost identical on the 3 road and ascent sections but I was descending quicker. I don't feel I could have made much more time on the ascents or road so descending is definitely the area with the most potential for time gains. Unfortunately there's nothing really like it to train on round here.
  • Yeah I scared myself witless on that first descent due to hand positioning issues. On the hoods I couldn't slow down quickly enough and on the drops I was constantly on the front brake and couldn't let off so not good with the drop offs. Sorted myself out on the last two but damage to my nerve had been done.
  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Are you 3 peakers all ridding disc brakes?

    My canti brakes seem useless on anything fast & steep.
  • I was on cantis.....damn near sh#t myself in a couple of places early on, I just had to let it go and pray I found a flatish section to scrub off speed
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    Cantis here too. I can't say I was ever particularly worried I wasn't going to be able to stop in time but I knew their limitations so either braked early or got off and ran. I think I could descend a fair bit quicker with discs as strange as that may sound.

    Thanks for letting me know about my team mate cyclingsheep. He's OK, had to go to A&E for stitches to a cut on his face and DNFed. I came down at exactly the same place, wet cattle grids and downhill corners are a bad mix.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I was on disks, and rarely had any worries about stopping. My observation from watching the good guys coming down PYG is that decent braking is probably less of a priority for the really good descenders, they don't seem to be making many demands of their cantis anyway. I actually wonder whether I'd have found the descents easier if I'd been going faster (though I didn't have the balls to try.) I let it get away from me a couple of times, and whilst that was somewhat alarming, all my crashes happened at relatively low speed...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • devhads wrote:
    Cantis here too. I can't say I was ever particularly worried I wasn't going to be able to stop in time but I knew their limitations so either braked early or got off and ran. I think I could descend a fair bit quicker with discs as strange as that may sound.

    Thanks for letting me know about my team mate cyclingsheep. He's OK, had to go to A&E for stitches to a cut on his face and DNFed. I came down at exactly the same place, wet cattle grids and downhill corners are a bad mix.

    Yeah I heard there were a few issues at that point. Glad your mate is ok.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    devhads wrote:
    Thanks for letting me know about my team mate cyclingsheep. He's OK, had to go to A&E for stitches to a cut on his face and DNFed. I came down at exactly the same place, wet cattle grids and downhill corners are a bad mix.
    What was his excuse for not dibbing in at Ingleborough?
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    He doesn't know. His dib just didn't register. I'm not sure what would have happened if he'd gone on to finish. I heard them calling out numbers so I guess that was back up.
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    ...
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    I'm getting more and more tempted to give 3 peaks a go, now that I have a decent cross bike I might see if I can get on next year.

    This week was fun in Basildon, the ground was still pretty hard so the clouds of dust in the air made breathing a bit difficult. On the Warm up laps I decided that I wouldn't try to jump the ditch, then the race started, I noticed everyone ahead of me was doing it so I gave it a go and made it. That lasted 5 laps but on the 5th one I came up a little short and decided that tiredness wasn't going to make it any easier, I think it added about 5-10 seconds to my lap time but I didn't crash.... there. On the last lap I was gaining on one of the youth riders, pushed a bit hard going up a little lump, lost my wheel and ended up with my bike on top of the lump and me at the bottom of it. He beat me by 20 seconds so I've got a target for Saturday ;)
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    This week was at Hadleigh Park Olympic mountain bike course.
    As you might guess, being for mountain bikes... it was hilly! Which surprised me a little because there are very few hills in Essex so to find that after turning the first corner you were shot down the closest Essex has to a cliff was a bit of a shock.

    In my usual unprepared style we popped to IKEA at Lakeside in the morning whilst we were in the area (we moved house on Friday and 'needed' a load of new stuff for the new house), a little more traffic than expected and a large queue to pick up my 3 hot dogs and lingonberry juice meant that we arrived just a little too late to get a prectice lap in.

    So I watched the vets first lap, thought it looked a bit hilly and went off to get changed.
    The next thing I know I'm at the start, a lot of people have decided to swap on to their mountain bikes (cheats ;) ) and the general chat in the grid is that the downhill bits are a bit slippery.

    The first lap is my sighter, I stick with the group I started with, feel quite comfortable down the first big hill, pass the league leader who wiped out at the bottom and climb back up the other side. This was the only time I cycled it, the hill was horrible, the MTB's were spinning away going not much faster than walking pace, 'cross bikes were trudging up with their knees screaming at them. Taking it easy by getting off the bike and saving energy for the rest of the lap made sense to me having had a hard day the day before and I quickly caught anyone who passed me when I got back on the bike.

    The rest of the lap was great fun, come lumpy downhills which tried to make you take to the air if you weren't careful, some gravelly climbs with all exposed rocks spray marked (the comms thought they would be dangerous if we didn't see them) and a nice 270 degree berm through a tunnel under the course. I loved it, it was hard work but interesting and completely different to any other 'cross races I've done.

    If they do one next year, and it's a big IF because it sounds like the organisers didn't enjoy the experience as much as I did, I would recommend coming over for it!
  • Bizarre experience on Sunday's Wessex League V40-49 race at Prospect Park in Reading when a tree crashed down in the woods across the race circuit!! :shock:

    Luckily it was on the first lap and all the racers had already passed, but the noise of the tree (and it was a tree, not a branch) crashing down was scary! The race organisers were brilliant in quickly creating a new route around the tree and didn't affect the race at all.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    That tree was insane! We're talking a trunk of two feet diameter. It was not a little sapling.
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    Grafham water, some of you must have been there, the place was packed, even the seniors was very nearly full.
    Had a great time, after a night out before which involved 300 miles of driving a very late night and only 5 hours sleep I wasn't feeling it for the first couple of laps but suddenly got my mojo back and started clawing the places back. The steep muddy clumb wasn't there which is a shame as it's normally the place where I thrive but at least the bike didn't get as muddy. Two trips onto the beach were good, I had issues with getting out of the first one on the first couple so ended up just dismounting for it to save the bother. Really glad they managed to get it on, I just now have 5 days to sort out this big blister on the palm of my hand before we go to Bury St Edmunds at the weekend.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    ...It was my very first cyclocross race. Vets 40-49 at Kempton Park. Finished 50th out of 57 but had fun and learn a lot; mainly where I need to improve.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    asprilla wrote:
    ...It was my very first cyclocross race. Vets 40-49 at Kempton Park. Finished 50th out of 57 but had fun and learn a lot; mainly where I need to improve.

    I did likewise last week. 'Raced' on a 29r and was hopeless, but it was great fun. What mid-life crisis?!
  • asprilla wrote:
    ...It was my very first cyclocross race. Vets 40-49 at Kempton Park. Finished 50th out of 57 but had fun and learn a lot; mainly where I need to improve.
    FYI, that was not a typical CX course. My first race of the season and not quite what i was expecting. Glad you had fun....see you at the next race?
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Chest still rattling like mad nearly 2 weeks after the rest of my flu symptoms have dicked off. Finished about 5 places down from where I usually would be in 26th.
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