After a solid week of rain it was time for the next Newcastle CX series Round. With the worst storms I had ever experienced in the week leading up to the race the course was starting to become one big mud bath. It was pretty much a slosh fest with a few bits of slippery mud dragged over bitumen throw in to spread it all out.
After doing a few practice laps on my spare bike I decided what tire pressure to run on the race bike. To start my warm up I us a set or rollers just to get nice and warm and activate my core muscles as you dont get this when using a wind trainer style of warm up. Soon enough 1pm rolled around and we were getting our final words from the commissure as to the length, safety notes and lapped rider rules for this race.
1pm – Not a moment sooner we were off! I started on the front row making sure I kept out of trouble but I slipped my foot causing me to slot into second wheel behind Garry Milburn. Garry got the hole shot and I was hot on his heels for the first section until a small slip of the rear wheel forced Garry to stop and dismount and run the short climb. This caused a nice big bottleneck of riders all trying to move up on a narrow section of track. Coming straight out onto the bitumen I pushed the pace up and started to ride my own faster tempo knowing that we only had 55 minutes to try and dispose of each other. I lead for the first lap and Garry passed me on a straight as I just eased a little and following him into a very muddy section. Mud splashed all in my eyes, so as soon as there was a chance I knew I needed to get back in front and not ease up. I did just that pushing the pace at the front trying to stay on my slippery line when I could and make it look easy.
After another lap had passed I started to force a gap, only a small one but enough that I knew Garry was hurting. I felt good and rode a high tempo and heartrate as I pushed on.
1.20pm – I remember the commentator Sam Layzell saying that I had gone too early but that only made me want to ride faster and get more of a gap. I started to hit traffic but everyone was literally jumping out of the road, the lactic acid had set in and I was starting to feel sick in the stomach as I reached the far side of the course, I was ready to spew so I backed the pace off just a little and let my body settle down and get into a more sustainable and efficient pace.
1.35pm – As I started to get settled into my own pace and slowly extending my lead by about 10 seconds per four minute lap. I started to feel good again so I pushed the tempo back up and tried to push hard in the muddy corners. For this race I used the Challenge Griffo 33mm tubular glued up to my Zipp 303’s with the all new thru axil hubs. The best part about running tubular tyres and light wheels is that when you get towards the later stages of the race you can still accelerate like you were at the start and this is where I really built up my lead.
Coming around for the last lap I eased and wiped the mud off my bike frame making sure the Focus logo was visible. (Always keep the sponsors happy) I rolled into the finish straight with third place only 20 meters ahead but nearly a lap down. It was a good feeling knowing that my hard work and training is paying off leading into the National rounds in two weeks’ time.
And all the volunteers from Cyclocross Newcastle that made the event what it is.
Images Supplied By Slika Images