They say that the ‘cross season doesn’t start in earnest until you come home caked in mud. In which case, as of Sunday: IT IS ON!
Sunday was the offroad circuit at Penshurst which was muddy in every way imaginable. From gloopy-strength-sapping treacle to shimmering-slippery slime, almost every form was represented on the course. It got everywhere, even threatening ingress to internal organs (not including grime swallowed by accident while gasping for air).
Fortunately there was a pond just past the finish area which saw most people dunking their bikes in an attempt to clean them. I managed to give mine a relatively though clean but, even so, I still manged to deposit a solid centimetre of mud in the bottom of the bath when I came to give the bike a proper clean at home.
Still, I could have been the poor folk trying to read the filth-encrusted numbers on the back of riders and figure out the results. As usual at least one London Dynamo has failed to register on the sheet. That it was Huw, a man so big that his road bike is often mistake for a farm gate, would seem somewhat strange. So far this year it’s been Jason’s job to go missing from the results list but he wasn’t there this week so I guess Huw bagged the short straw.
As for the race? Well I was quite glad to be lapped for the second time just before the finish. I was running out of usuable brake pad and energy although after a couple of nervous laps I had got the hang of the course and was handling the downhill bits reasonably well – James from Rapha Condor thought I was when he was trying to get round me on one lap.
(Image from Londoncyclesport.com)
The uphills were a bit more of a struggle but I did manage to hold my position fairly well over the course of the race. Of course, holding your position isn’t much of a claim when the vast majority of people are ahead of you on the road.
What I’m more than happy with is my dismounts and remounts which allowed me to pull out gaps on a couple of riders around me when it looked like they were coming back at me. Then again when you are performing them at such low speed it’s not hard to get them right.
The aim now is to start working my way up and to finish a race without being lapped before the end of the season. It’s a relatively ambitious aim given that the tally so far has been three, three and two laps down on the winner.