Sunday, 07-Nov-2021 saw round 10 of the West Midlands Cyclocross League (WMCCL) hosted by Severn Valley CX at Coombes Farm in Highley, Shropshire. Representing RLSCC were Andy Taylor and myself.
On arrival at Highley we were greeted by surprisingly good weather. Although there was a chill breeze the skies were clear, the air dry, and the going under our wheels firm with just the right amount of give.
The course was excellent. Well thought out with some nice flowing segments and changes of elevation. However, it was the technical sections that were to be the real star of the event. We knew they were going to be challenging as riders started queuing up during course practice to session some of the trickier parts in search of the elusive “perfect line”.
As always, the pace was fierce from the whistle. Starting the row behind Andy on the grid any thoughts of staying with him were swiftly lost as he disappeared off ahead of me in a blur of yellow and back. While I’d love to provide a blow-by-blow account of his valiant ride, I was unfortunately preoccupied in the a world of pain and concentration for the next 55 minutes.
The technical sections were indeed challenging, and only got more so as fatigue quickly set in. By the end of the first lap it was clear that commitment to the line was paramount and the advantage of being first into the obstacles was significant.
Despite the frustration of plenty of miss-placed wheels, feet down and the odd, almost-but-not-quite-off-the-bike moment, the race was great fun. There was plenty of battling for position, chasing down those in front and trying to hold off those behind. Adding in the drama of untimely mechanicals (of which there were many; mainly shipped chains) and it really was an eventful afternoon.
When I eventually did cross the line for the last time, in an agonisingly slow-motion sprint for a very minor placing (which I lost) it was with a big smile and a sense of satisfaction. Looking around at my fellow finishers there were plenty of grins showing through the grimaces of just under an hour spent battling all out between the tapes.
Kudos must go to Andy for finishing a very solid 21st in our category (Vet 40-49). Likewise, a massive shout out to Andy Wearing (Kenilworth Wheelers CC / Mike Vaughan Cycles) who finished 2nd in our category but more importantly stoked me along with friendly shouts of encouragement every time he lapped me. And finally, a huge thanks for Michelle, Mark and all the Peddlamaniacs crew who stayed around after their earlier Women’s race to cheers us on and help us keep pushing all the way to the line.
So with memories of the sun setting over Shropshire we have returned to Leamington with tired legs and a great sense of satisfaction. Now we look forward to doing it all over again for round 11 at the end of the month!