Welsh Cyclocross 2018 Round 1 – Llanishen
I had something of a re-run of this weekend, doing pretty much the same as I did last year. A Thursday evening drive to my parents house, a Friday morning drive to Bude. A Friday afternoon ride around the Bude Quad cycle course and a night in the camper. Saturday was time for the Bude Awesome Foursome Quadrathlon. It was then a Saturday afternoon drive back to my parents house and a Sunday morning drive to Cardiff for the first round of the Welsh Cyclocross league of races for 2018.
My legs were tired going into the quadrathlon and they had very little to give, so I had no idea how they would stand up to the punishment of a cyclo-cross race. My idea was to at least finish so that I would be seeded for next weeks race and wouldn’t have to start at the back.
There was building work going on at the school so only half of the grounds that are usually used for the cyclocross race was available. The organisers certainly made the most of the space though and a good course was set up. As well as the usual tight turns, long grassy straights, sweeping corners and little areas of singletrack we also had a whole load of extra tight turns, some off camber slippery turns, two trips through the sandpit per lap and some hurdles that were set as high as was permitted!
There were plenty of the usual faces there as I got ready, signed on and took a few laps around the course to familiarise myself with it. We then lined ourselves up ready for the start. Without being seeded it was a bit of a free for all but it was good to see that we pretty much lined up where we would be anyway. The usual fast guys were at the front, I was amongst familiar faces a couple of rows back and then others lined up behind us.
There had been a bit of rain on and off all morning so the grass was wet and slippery as we started the mad dash along the first straight and up to the sandpit. I had a fairly good start and soon settled into the familiar hard but sustainable pace. Round and round we went for the 40 minutes. At one point it started raining but I barely noticed amid the effort and concentration to stay on my bike. They were the usual thrills and spills, some close racing and a good vibe with people shouting encouragement from the side-lines and cow bells ringing through the rain.
It was of course a tough 40 minutes of racing with no chance of a breather. I was surprised at how my legs felt though. They could have decided that enough was enough after the past few weeks of racing, but they rose to the challenge and kept me pushing hard right to the finish line.
Cyclocross is never going to be my forte but I do enjoy it. A good hard workout, some good competition, it has to be good for my bike handling skills as well as my fitness and the atmosphere is always one of friendly, serious competition. I placed in the middle of the pack which is about normal for me and I did better than expected considering the lack of preparation and the stresses of the previous few weeks
Time now to work on improving my speed and strength on the bike. I feel a concerted bike training phase coming on – although maybe I need a bit of a rest first.
Quad season finished on Saturday with the Bude Awesome Foursome, CX season started the following day at Llanishen, when do I find the time to rest and recover!!