We are very much on baby duty now and when it came to the crunch we torn as to go to the penultimate round of Newcastle Cyclocross. the kids were desperate to go and ride their Cyclocross race aka the velodrome as they missed out the last round. So we packed up the hospital bags and the bikes and set off to Adamstown.
The cool and overcast day turned out to be quick bright and warm. By the time the kids where lining up to start their “citing lap” any trace of warm clothing was well and truly removed. Both kids even took the opportunity this time to do some warm up and practice. The lead out for the kids was by event organizer Shannon Lister. The course went anti clock wise around the velodrome before pulling of through the middle with a sharp left hand turn then around back onto the velodrome. The kids had to get off at this point on to the grass and get their bikes over 2 100mm high barriers. Most kids struggled to get over these, the design is probably somewhat flawed (yes I made them) in the end I had to laugh as Emily just kicked it over and walked her bike across. Both kids did great Connor was on the bike/off the bike incredibly fast and was constant throughout his laps. Emily took a bit more getting going on reach remount but to watch her take the sharp left of the track was amazing, she was regularly scraping her pedals as she stuck it in each lap. I suspect her ambition got the better of her as I turned round to find her off the bike, she stated she had tried to ride up the steep embankment that this velodrome had and come off as result. The last lap sounded and massive credit to her she got back on her bike and finished the lap out. Incredibly proud here of both my kids, who at the beginning of the year were struggling to even ride their bikes, let alone race in close quarters. (Watch out Emily will but a racing move on you to get past… 🙂 )
When it came to the my race I had chosen again to compete in the Elite Mens race. I had contemplated doing the B-grade race but I did want to say that I had completed all the CXNewcastle races at this level. As we were lining up to start they widened the entry onto the course. This last-minute reshuffle had me sitting further forward in the line then I had been in the past.
On the start it was on and either I read it right or a heap of others read it wrong because I was all of a sudden at the pointer end then I am used too. I did my best through this first lap as I was well within my rights to hold my place so I thought wide thoughts and pushed on as hard as I could. Attrition showed that with in the first lap and a half I was back towards the back-end where I normally would sit however I was doing a decent job of holding my own against another rider. #111 We pushed on for a lap with him right behind me before finally catching me after going to deep into a muddy hairpin and getting my handlebars caught on the bunting on the way out. I pushed on behind him, entering part of the crit track which allowed me to have a moment to catch a slip stream and get me breath back. With in moments we hit an unridable embankment and I was able to get the better dismount and grip to run up the hill. A clean remount and clip in saw me gain a vital few meters and cleared him for the next lap. However coming out of the same point on the track only on the next lap I was unable to clip in, took a to aggressive line through the corner and was spat out wide. Problem was this is also were a ditch was located and I did my best to ease the bike back onto the road whilst maintaining traction and clip back in. This loss of momentum meant that he was right on my tail, heading up one of the fast hills with much more momentum then me. I pushed as hard as i could but the gap had blown out to about 20 meters, with time i could close it but coming into the section that I had earlier run up to over take him I elected to ride up. Got to the top I did, before not turn quite right and not unclipping. I tumbled back bike in the air before 3 rolls down the hill had me trying to get back up. Well I can proudly say that it’s the biggest cheer I have ever got racing ( that wasn’t my family). I sheepish picked my bike up and tried to catch back up but he was no longer in my sight for this part of the lap.
About this time the leaders had caught me and it happened to be on the crit section of the track again. A quick push saw me in their slipstream trying to ride their speed. Within one embankment they had gained a few meters and by the time we had crossed past my earlier discretion they had put 50m into the distance. They would pass me 2 more times before the end of the race. From this point on I focused on the technical aspects of the track, bunny hopping the logs just got better each lap, and the vertical descent with the 180 turn back up proved to be a challenge but one I was able to complete faster and with out getting off.
On the last lap call I was able to keep in front of the leaders by a lap of the veldorome meaning that I could do the final lap and not too far down. Well 25/26 and “22’00” of the lead.