Mon 24th October
Our cyclocross riders review the first events of the 2016/17 season:
West Midlands CX Leagure Round 1 – Pype Hayes Park, Erdington
Andy Taylor – 29th Vet 40
Round 1 - Very poor start. Paced myself early doors to see where I was at. Let a few riders go. Felt good midway so upped it for last few laps and pegged half a dozen riders back on last lap including rivals from last year. Overall pleased with effort.
Michelle Paget – 18th Vet 40
Omg wasn’t ready for the fast pace grass crit style course, eventually found a rhythm and finished mid pack in ladies field.
Mike Snell – 3rd Vet 60
Apart from an outing gravel grinding 60 odd miles of the South Downs Way, the cross bike has been gathering dust in the garage. So after competing the FNSS on a mountain bike in flats, I was a little apprehensive getting clipped in on the start line at Erdington. I'd ridden a couple of sighting laps and apart from the washboard at the bottom of the circuit, which I just can't seem to get the hang of, it was not too technical or narrow, so hopefully would suit me. Lost quite a few places at the start and was 53rd after the first lap, but over the next 5 laps worked my way up to finish in 45th.
Jason McNulty – 13th Senior
First race of the season always attracts a strong field, especially if the weather is nice, which it was. Pype Hayes was fast and furious racing though I started sporting a injury having had an altercation with a cat and an alleyway wall on my warm up…..so a blooded and grazed arm made me look hard as nails on the start line – 1hrs racing later and I was really happy with my placing for the first race of the 2016 season having battled with some really decent riders.
Steve Jefferies – 15th Vet 40
It's the first time I've ridden at Pype Hayes Park. Commentator kept mentioning that the course was 'technical', after a recce lap I didn't agree; it was going to be drag race, the grass was fast and dry. There was a massive field for the start of the Men's race, fortunately the Commissaires give a 2-minute gap between the junior/senior start and the Vets, even so there was a lot of traffic.
Unusually for me it’s the best start I'd had at a cross race, the pre-race warm-up doing the trick so I was able to settle into a rhythm quickly and test out the Summer's worth of 'cross training. It felt good to be racing again, my last race was December '15, my shoulder felt good and I was pleased with my overall performance. Looking forward to the rest of the season.
West Midlands CX League Round 2 – Pitcher Oak Woods, Redditch
Andy Taylor – 25th Vet 40
Round 2 was a much improved start. First couple of laps felt great pushing harder than last week. Fantastic battle with Dave from Solihull, rival from last year. Began to die half way through and disappointingly slipped back down the field. Felt dealt with condition well and for the first time didn't fall off at pitcher oak. Riding better and feeling stronger but endurance levels not there yet to translate to better results. Sore back!!!!!
Michelle Paget – 2nd Vet 40
Love it, love it, love it - never ever disappointed by pitcher oak woods cx course, fantastic course that has it all techy, climby and fast fun. Felt good racing here as it’s such a good venue for me, and finished above mid pack so a little progression
Mike Snell – 3rd Vet 60
Apart from an outing gravel grinding 60-odd miles of the South Downs Way, the cross bike has been gathering dust in the garage. So after competing the FNSS on a mountain bike in flats, I was a little apprehensive getting clipped in on the start line at Erdington. I'd ridden a couple of sighting laps and apart from the washboard at the bottom of the circuit, which I just can't seem to get the hang of, it was not too technical or narrow, so hopefully would suit me. Lost quite a few places at the start and was 53rd after the first lap, but over the next 5 laps worked my way up to finish in 45th.
Redditch was another first. First time I've missed half the lap while doing sighting laps. I didn't realise that there were 2 halves each side of the start/finish and only sighted the grassier bit. After a reasonable start, you can imagine I was a bit confused when after half a lap we headed off into the woods! Oh well, just follow the person in front for this bit. It had been pretty wet the day before the race, so in anticipation of a bit of mud, I'd worn contacts for the race but half way around the last lap my right contact (I wear a left for reading and right for distance) came out, well at least I can still see the handlebars! I knew I'd done reasonably well up to this point and so was desperate not to lose any places. Pushed like crazy up the smoothish climbs, took it a little easier downhill and managed to hold on to finish 34th.
Jason McNulty – 15th Senior
Pitcher Oak is certainly one of the hardest courses in the West Midlands league and this year was once again a course that slowly broke me as the race went along – I love this technical course, but the ascents are killers…..slowly sapping what breath and heart rate you think you have to spare. It is one of the few courses that levels the MTBs and CX racers given it fast switchy single-track……but still always good to get one over on our fat-tyred brethren, especially if they ride for Kenilworth Wheelers ;-)
Steve Jefferies – 12th Vet 40
I like Pitcher Oak Wood; it's a challenging course and is a unique fixture in the league. I didn't arrive as early as I planned to so only had time to recce half of the lap. The course was slippy in a lot of places and you could tell that the field was nervous about the race to come. I was running tubs at a fairly low pressure to get some grip, these worked a treat, the bike was still slipping around but the tyres were giving me enough feedback to correct the bike. There was a good run-up on each lap which is excellent practice for the Three Peaks race I've got coming on the 26th of September. I always find it difficult to keep track of your placing at Pitcher Oak but I was pleased with what I think was my best result there. I'm looking forward to the bone-shaking clay pit at Henley-in-Arden next Sunday!
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