My first CX race of the 2015 season was at my local course in Adamstown, Newcastle. It’s great to start off with a smaller race close to home so that you can get back into the swing of racing tactics and general race preparation before you head off too harder races such at the national series.
The Elite race started at 1pm but I had planned to get there a few hours early to help set up tents, flags, obstacles and just lend a hand were I could.
Leading into the race conditions were great it was a nice day the sun was out it wasn’t too hot but the wind had started to pick up as we got closer to the start. As always there is a good crowd atmosphere at the Newcastle races with coffee, food, music and of course the heckling being present.
1pm – Race start. Before I knew it I was on the start line of my first race of the season. This year I would be running the all new Focus Mares CX 0.0 with CX1 group set and honestly is it a great piece of engineering. The normal rules and race notes were read and the countdown was on.
The bell sounded and everyone got off to a great start, I kept shifting through the gears wanting to be in the lead coming into the first corner knowing that it will get very stretched out after. As we made our way around the first section of the course Garry Millburn and myself had a small lead over the rest of the chasing field. Settling into a nice tempo I sat on the front trying to keep the pace high.
As we made our way past the crowd and into the running section I took the inside line that was shorter but you had to run further. Jumping back on and finding my pedals straight away was a great feeling after practicing this in pre-season. Coming onto the long back straights I decided to run the barriers that I would normally hope due to the massive cross wind. Garry decided to hop them and he made his way around me as I was finding my pedals and clipping in. I was not sure if he had actually rode the barriers or just run really fast so I sat on his wheel for a lap until the same point just to see, it turns out that he was riding. I followed him in and made them fine I just had to back myself and come in at an angle so that the wind could carry me across the course.
After the lap of following Garry I noticed that he was slowing up just a little and it felt like I was soft pedaling. I tough that I had more power to put down so straight after the barriers I attacked getting past him and back into the lead. I tried to keep the pressure on not doing any soft pedaling only freewheeling when I had too.
On lap three I was still in the lead and coming up on the technical running section. Garry had made a mistake behind me causing a small gap. I tried to run faster but it was too tight and twisty.
As I was about to step up the stairs I slipped over smacking my knee into the timber. So within only a few meters we had both had a fall. I jumped back up and tried to regain composure as my heart rate went sky high. When I made it out of the section I knew that it was time to try and put on some pressure.
On the open straights I started to sprint making it ever harder to close that last little gap to get back onto my wheel. For the next few laps I could see Garry just a turn back from me and I knew if I made a mistake or had a crash he would be right back there. By about lap 7 I had started to get a bit of breathing space between myself and second place allowing me to get back into a good rhythm and try to finish off strong. For a few laps there when I was trying to get the initial gap I was pushing myself to the point where I had to slow as I was about to vomit. The lactic acid was playing havoc with me and I kept trying to beat it back down when I would get onto a section that I could rest on.
Towards the last few laps I think that Garry may have started to shut off and let the gap grow as he had room back to third. The last laps I just tried to keep good technique, ride the barriers and make sure I didn’t slip on the run up again. I was happy to take the win of the first round in Newcastle as it show that my training is paying off. There is a lot more races left in the season and I’m am looking forward to all of them.
And all the volunteers from Cyclocross Newcastle that made the event what it is.
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