Winter is coming…but thankfully cyclo-cross is here to save us all from the dreaded Zwift!
As Brits we love nothing more than grumbling about the ever-darkening skies and colder temperatures whilst perhaps thinking about what we might do next season to give our winter training some purpose. For cross riders however, the first signs of autumn are celebrated as the moment when the season comes to life!
This weekend saw the fourth race of the season so far where our RLSCC team of eight riders made the short trip to the Heart of England Centre near Meriden to race a mixed course of grass fields, gravel tracks and woodland trails. Much like a British summer we had almost all four seasons in one day! After blistering sunshine during round 1, rain storms appeared for round 2 and then dry and warm conditions for round 3.
The race began with cross debutant (and youngest member of the team) Claudia Craig who got RLSCC off to a great start in the women's youth race and finished in 4th place! An amazing achievement for a first-timer - well done Claudia and we hope you will be back for more as the season progresses.
Next up was the v50 (Veterans aged 50-59) race with riders Gerard Scott and Andy Taylor going head to head for the first time this season. After a close battle it was Andy who came away with the bragging rights finishing in 18th place with Gerry just a few seconds behind him in 20th.
A rain shower during the v50s saw a smattering of mud develop on the surface around most of the course but by the time the start came around for the Seniors (riders aged 24-39) and v40s (Veterans aged 40-49) it was mostly dry – albeit hard going in places. Jason McNulty unfortunately had an incident in the woods during warm-up consequently hitting his knee on a large rock. However, after some time spent with the wonderful St John’s Ambulance folk on site he was patched up and all of our riders were ready to go.
The inevitable hectic start ensued and the riders settled in for 50 mins of on the limit battling. Riding from the back of the grid, Tom Smith attacked the course with his usual panache and started tearing through the backmarkers. Alex Craig and Paul Daniels were riding comfortably mid-pack and making steady progress. Meanwhile, Matt Dowler, returning to cross after a few seasons out, was toughing it out in a strong Senior field.
In the end, Jason’s knee was the reason for his demise and had no other choice but to withdraw from the race after suffering for a few laps. Cheered on by the spectators, the rest of the riders threw everything they had at the race and finished quite respectably in mid-pack; Paul (18th v40), Tom (25th v40), Alex (27th v40) and Matt (30th Senior).
In the words of Alex it had been an ‘emotional’ race but as usual the post-race endorphins kicked in and most went home happy with their rides and efforts. Well done to the whole team for getting out there and giving it your all!
For anyone who likes the sound of racing cross and would like to join in the fun then please do give us a shout! There are still loads of races left this season and from this point on, they only get better and better (subject to controversial opinion depending on who you ask...don't ask Gerry)!
For race results click here.