I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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Originally uploaded by Andy Waterman
5th round of the National Cyclo Cross Trophy was held in Bradford. It was cold and a tough race for the Condor staff competing in the womens and seniors race. Plenty of mud meant plenty of running. Great race in the senior mens with National Champ Jody Crawford blowing the international field to bits. He took to riding up the climb (pictured) as opposed to everyone else having to run at it.

Originally uploaded by blauwgras2

So after waking up at 5am on Saturday and then soaking up the cream of Belgium racing at Koksijde cross race and then onto Gent for the 6th day of the 6 day racing. Before walking up and down at 2am in the rain to find a taxi. Somehow we got back to the Holiday Inn and no one remembers telling the driver where we were staying.

So 10am Sunday morning and blam. Its raining, its cold and I'm thinking darn I've done that English thing again of not properly dressing for the conditions. No mudguards and my legs and feet are soaked through after the first 5 mins.
 Rapha classic soft shell (they should do a girls version that should be sweet). Anyway so it had its first outing along the canal as a contingent of mainly brits rode under the direction of Andy Verral.
Whilst I appreciated being warm I also was slightly gutted that I was dousing my new jacket in mud - but then again its not just any mud Belgium mud.

It was a great ride, in wind and rain. Not fun to begin with but it made it more rewarding after. Then the rain stopped and a blue - ish sky crept through. Then we smashed it up the Molenberg. Then rode a bit more. Not a car in sight. Belgium is where its at.

Kristoff Ramon took some really nice looking photos and that made it even better.
Jon Cannings organised the ride and it was a bloody good idea.

After I ate steak and a load of frites covered in Peppercorn sauce. I ate a big bar of Milka chocolate with crispy bits in it.

Re Post below: LONDON LEAGUE is so the hardest league, lets just face it. the Porc (22nd Nov) race was bascially trying to get riders to kill themselves riding down a mountain bike course with berms and then ride up a massively long hill. A load of mud rammed into my chain had to dismount on the climb and I know I wouldn't be able to get going. I then had to run up the hill. It burned, my muscles were on fire. Then the when on the flat I was finally able to remount the legs didn't want to turn. Lost my lead and finished 2nd.

First post: A few of my dear crossers have run off pot hunting in the Central league (shant name names). Whilst its not that much further than some of the London League races - a comment about the central league is always followed by "yeh but its for whimps..."
One way to settle it would be a quick look at the lastest result from the inter-areas. But at the same time some important folk will have missed that race. It comes down to two things. Competitors and courses. The feeling of the Southerns is that it is miserable up North. Raining and cold, they recieve much more of a mud bath than our mild fun cross mud. The London league welcomes over 100 competitors  every week to its courses and other leagues may not be so popular. Does that make it harder or is it just because the population is denser?
North West looks like it could be troublesome with characters like Jebb getting involved, but on questioning some other riders (again from the south) they say its the Notts/Derby league that dishes out the pain?What about Wessex? Weak. But Hargroves are from that neck of the woods and they didn't just spring up because there isn't any competition did they or is it that there is some great cx to be had?

magic! would have wanted it to be cheesy dutch and 70's pop music and some kinda man with accent narrating. but tis still old school and fun

Originally uploaded by Andy Waterman

Woke up at 6.30am to get to Andy Waterman's - he's an excellent pit man, couldn't ride cross without him. Like a caddy to a golfer he rode the course with me pointed the out roots, fast lines and told me where I needed the gas to get move speed out of the corner. Luckily, the clocks went back on Sunday evening so I had an extra hour and the 6.30am start wasn't really that brutal.
We drove on desserted roads through London towards and through an eery and empty Dartford tunnel and final up to our destination: Ipswich's Chantry Park and round three of the Cycle Cross National Trophy.
Arriving in plenty of time everything was taken as it came and when I came to lining up on the start I was ready and knew what I wanted to do from the gun. Controlled through the muddy singletracked, recoup on the climb out the back and wide into the corners to keep smooth lines and be prepared for the steep manmade bridge across the course.
I was first out the blocks leading in the corner, and then the next corner and then the straight and I was looking around thinking why aren't the fast girls passing me. Over the bridge and the series leader comes past, the rest stay at bay. The woods out the other side. Blast! I'm going to fast, I'm concentrating on my great position, my feeling great and the next rooty bit not on scrubbing off some speed to take an easy corner. Too late I try to grab the brakes, I know this will only make my wheel wash out, so I let go. I'm running wide, it's all moving in slow motion before my eyes, through the course tape, snap, tangle, stop. The girls queueing behind move past in the blur of colour.
I get going again and attack the course and fight for my position. The forty mins of leg searing pain ends with a sixth place and lessons learnt looking forward to the next round in Bradford. Ergh why can't they have them closer to home.

Konrad Manning riding for Rapha Condor competed in the vets race.

While elsewhere James Duguid rode to 7th for Rapha Condor in the London Cycle Cross League

and Rene did you break your bike again?
Well i found some form. Got stuck when the organisers tried to ram 134 riders (mad number huh) through a tiny gate. A load of people crashed and I don't think I was best placed. 
The first lap I felt like I was having a walk in the park. Its not cross unless your lungs are burning. But I was being held back by the slower riders who weren't fast in the singletrack. The guys in front had more power on the flat but needed to unclip in some section while I felt I could ride.
I was comfortable in 2nd place, the course was fast and dry. Good all round but not my favourite.
Jim Jams (here's a practise lap )wasn't feeling great in the morning and with a large field it pushed him down to 11th fighting to get past slower riders
Rene brought a touch a Dutch courage but he was unlucky for a 2nd week. This time rolling a tyre. Unfortunate
Ben went drinking the night before so was less that motivated to ride
Dan showed up with his super light full 2010 Dura Ace and placed himself 3rd
Charlie P - king of the Raphaettes tried cross for the first time. Going balls out. We're waiting for his result and it was a most perfect ride for a first timer. Good on CP. Comendable and a difficult course

Excellent old school video of cross at Crystal Palace .... awesome

Short hop down to East Grinstead for a hot sunny race at dusty Deers Leap Park. A full off road course of hard compacted ground made for a fast race.
I have to admit my skill couldn't keep up with the speed and on lap 2 I head butted a tree after becoming magnetised towards it on the steep descent. Smash my head, grazed my neck an crooked my jaw. In the following days it hurt to chew.
From there I lost alot of places and time. Plus lost alot of confidence.
Was lapped by the ladies leader but not by other female competitors  and I feel the results were incorrect and I completed 7 laps not 6 finally finishing 3rd. Results place me 5th. Appealing the result.
The race left me in a slump but motivation has picked up and looking forward to round 3
I've decided that my budget 3t bar from 2003 is not comfortable or suitable for getting the best. My little girl hands are too far away fro mthe levers and they force my position far too low affecting balance through winding sections. The decision is thus do I hit up a carbon bar that I already own ITM millenium or rock the alloy NEW 3t Ergosum but have to wait for 2 more races until I can get my hands on one.

While I'm on the subject of things that are for riding. The new Giro Prolight arrived for me last week. They were launched at the 2009 Tour and is the lightest helmet ever since records began etc etc. It clearly lighter than the Spesh 2D i'm using. Some folks say you either have a Specialized head or a Giro, urban legend and vainity i think rather than a design fact?.

Spesh I think sit taller while Giro sit more like a ball on me. The design is different possibly as revolutionary as when they were first released in 1986. Couple more races before I make judgement.

sooo, wasn't quite as successful as I'd hoped, and four hours traveling is a long way to go to get to a 40 min race. But number of lessons learnt which is something to take away, 11th sucks a bit when it was a mistake rather than ability.  Andy captured the action

Men's race was excellent, wicked how it all ended up unfolding. There were about four seperate battles going on. Jamie Newall had a particularily excellent ride, prize goes to him for the best fight for position. Course was bang on fast and fun. I liked it and would ride again. Weather was hot and like all British folk I'm going to climb about but when the rain is howling in a few weeks time will complain again.

some fella smacks his head into the mu, after miss timing a hurdle. the shame

first round of NPS this weekend, devon is 4 hours away. Will need to get moving for 5am. That's a long time to think about the mud ahead.

backwards cross - rough tough stuff.  Originally uploaded by LondonCycleSport

ok right, got to post some nonsense test message. You'll look back on it in weeks to come and think urgh what motor neurones were firing in my brain to let me write this?