After my excursion into track cycling had come to such a sudden end and I was not going to be going to Newport to another track camp, I was eager to do something else that weekend. Ryan was doing 2 CX races, one in Corkagh Park in Dublin and one in Moira, Ulster and I so wanted to do one too! The problem is that I don't have a track bike (my college stipend doesn't extend to biking equipment....), but Morty was so nice to lend me his bike for the Sunday race in Moira.
I watched the end of the Saturday CX race in Corkagh Park (Ryan came 3rd!) under blue skies and was hoping for the same weather and a dry course in Moira, for starters. I was not disappointed, on another blue skied day (is this really Ireland) Ryan and I made our way up to Moira and signed up for the senior race. Although the sky was blue and the sun was beaming down, the course in the park was surprisingly muddy and slippery. But no problem for Ryan's Schwalbe tires that I was using on Morty's bike. After two practice laps I was ready to go.
The advice I was given was basically to go full out from the start, and so I did. We had 9 laps to go and after about 3 laps I felt I was running out of steam, but I kept the pressure on. After my 4th lap I was lapped by a flying Roger Aiken, so I knew Ryan couldn't be far either. But he never came along - Ryan had snapped his rear mech! Either way I knew it could be tight to not be lapped TWICE, so I kept the pressure on, really enjoying sliding around the slippery corners and cutting through ankle deep mud and grass. I came down once in a slight off-camber corner, but it was more of a comical moment rather than a real crash at my slow speed. I had fun catching all the people that came into my sight and made up more and more places each lap. Unfortunately I kept loosing a few places again each time I came to the boards and my very non-elegant technique of getting over them cost me dearly, so that I had to chase back on and overtake those people each time again. In the end I had worked my way up from 25th position in my first lap to 16th in my last. Not bad for my first CX race!
Thanks to Morty for giving me a lend of his nice CX bike!
Full results are online here.
Reports on www.UlsterCyclocross.com and www.Stickybottle.com.