I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
Follow Me

I quite like it when I sweat. It shows that I'm either benefiting myself or really trying my best-est.
I am riding a race in South Africa next year and it will be about 35 degrees while I'm racing in the midday heat. I was thinking about trying some activities that would help me acclimatise. I've been gathering suggestions, from riding my turbo in the bathroom with the radiator all doors/windows shut, book some sauna time, to trying yoga in a 40 degree room.

Bikram Yoga is where I thought I'd start and then build up to actual really intense activity in the heat.
I signed up to a studio offering Bikram Yoga - called Hot Bikram Yoga, their studios are local to me in Balham and Clapham or I could go on the way home to their London Bridge studio.
I've never done yoga properly and generally cyclists are pretty inflexible as we just sit on the bike and performa a cyclical closed skill. Luckily, the yoga studio runs an intro offer and is focused on beginners as Bikram is quite unique .

Bikram Yoga, is a set of 26 postures you complete over a 90minute class.
A teacher leads the class in a room heated to 40 degree heat.
This style of yoga is less flowing, you try to hold each posture improving core strength. It was invented by Yogi Guru, Bikram Choudhury (pictured).
There are several studio's offering Bikram Yoga. I chose 'Hot Bikram Yoga' who run an offer. Go as much as you like for 20 consecutive days for £35.

My experience
It was SO hot.
I had to sit out some of the postures as I was rather hot
In later classes you become used to it and can complete them all
Sitting out is ok, everyone has to take time out
My core stability is seriously lacking - I couldn't hold even a basic form of a posture for the 30 seconds required.
You start sweating as soon as you walk into the room
You are drenched by half way through
Anyone can do it, but practise makes perfect.
It helps you clear everything your head is buzzing with. 
Your hamstrings will hurt afterwards
Take a spare towel to wipe your hands and face plus a towel for your mat
Yoga mats are provided
Wear minimal clothing, shorts/vest.
Take a bottle of water - duh!

I completed 2 classes a week for 3 weeks. My reach got better, balance and core stability improved. I lost water weight, not sure if it affected my general weight. It made me focus on drinking water as much as I could during the day and afterwards. It meant I cut back on one of my turbo's a week so you'd think my cycling would be affected....
I feel better for attending and I had a great result in Bradford and the Regional Champs. Not sure if they are related?

Random Stuff
Bikram's says his yoga can really improve ones physical self. Improve digestion, bone density apparently approved by NASA. All these rather random claims made by Bikram have been soaked up by Indian and Eastern yogi follows and in the West, celebrities taking up the style of Yoga has made it very popular.
What I can say is, I can feel my heart beating, I feel my limbs stretching and I've identified my right leg / right side of my core is weaker than the left. Its a workout, and its good prep for handling 40 degree heat in SA. That other stuff I'm taking with a pinch of salt!

I'm going to continue to go through the Christmas period.
It is hard work
I'd recommend it.
Photo Credit: Gem Atkinson

If I called you names, it was only to give you some fire in your belly to race with.
Photo Credit: Andy Whitehouse
Photo Credit: Aussie Larry - Velo UK

Bradford National Trophy where its skill + fitness = result. 
Was just a little off the pace to begin with, didn't get my foot in at the start so lost a bike length to the other contenders. I played it safe for 2 laps, the course had changed so much since I rode it in the practise session. Truly muddy and cut up, all the lines I has picked out in the practise were now just as slippy and risky as the rest of it all. I was perhaps too cautious. My skill was good to me though and I found myself pulling ahead through the turns when I was riding in the early part of the race for 6th against Alice Barnes and Beth Crumpton.
My skills have come on alot since playing about in the parks with Andy and Ben. I've learnt to place more weight on the outside leg, just because you can hear the grass ripping under you tyre doesn't mean brake, it means you're still gripping. 

Before the start I was reminded by Vet Dougie Fox from Crawley Wheelers who said, "look ahead, look at the exit'. It is basic fundamental advice. He used to ride motorcross and its something he was taught there. "don't look at the tree as you'll hit it." I actually know about this piece of sage advice, but in amongst worrying about having a good start, not falling off, the big descent, the cold and the mud. You need to be reminded of the basics. Focus on those basics and everything else will follow.

So in the end, I was 6th. Happy with the result. Rode the descent every time. In my head I set the target to attack the running sections and get on my bike and pedalling asap. This is where I was going to keep a lead on someone because the mud is just mud and you needed to be careful otherwise you'll just fall off and lose more time. I was 2 minutes behind Hannah Payton in 5th. I still need to bring that gap down, I would have preferred it to be 45seconds to 1minute. Delia had a good battle and try for 3rd but just missed it, but racing against Isla Rowntree is pretty tough. 
Delia has however found 3rd in the Trophy overall standings.

My second bike was a disc bike. I pulled to much on the brakes to behind with and realised I was slowly myself down way too much. D'oh! Once I got used to them I was more confident.
Dugasts didn't let me down. I rode a practise lap on my mud clinchers and they nothing, noticeably useless grip on an slight incline.

I doth my amateur cap to the main man. Nick Craig. Who rode an exceptional race to 2nd place. There is a reason why he's multiple National Champ and Olympic rider.

I enjoyed every second of the race, even though it was cold, challenging, exhausting and tough. That is exactly the way I like it.
If you missed Bradford. You missed out.

Photo Credit: A man called Bruce.
The child in the green hat looks so concerned for Jody Crawforth

Youth races start at 11am
Seniors, Womens, Vets, Jnrs is at 1pm
Any bikes allowed.
You don't need to be a member to race. Anyone can have a go.

If your not there. Then you're only cheating yourself

Post by @muddysundays
Photo: Andy Waterman - Bradford National Trophy 2009

A 56 acre urban green space in the area of Bradford, that is Peel Park. Complete with ornamental fountain and children's play area.
But more importantly it has a significant enscarpment that the Victorians built a terrace along the top of with set of steps leading up to said terrace.
Well it makes for a very great epic suffering cross race.
Peel Park is the closest Britain is ever going to come to a proper International level cross race. It is the cross course to which all other courses try to emulate. Other parks whimper at its incredible powers to create a technically challenging course that will wear you down physically.

The steps are tall. The descents are vicious.
The wind on the top of the course is angry
The road climb is heart breaking
The sprint along the terrace is a crowd pleaser
A lady brings her candy floss van
A man brings his burger truck
There is always flithy northern mud that makes you slip and slide

Bradford National Trophy - you are my mountain.
Only 9 sleeps until we meet again.

Cheryl King has a good photo set from last year's race.

Derby National Trophy at the weekend, finished up in 8th. Happy with the ride. As some big players choose to use it as their Trophy season opener.
A photo story from the day can be found on ViCiOUS VELO team site

Set up was:
Mavic Krysium with Dugasts
Condor Terra-X frame with Dura Ace
44t chainring with 11-25 cassette

The course
The course is rammed with off camber turns and off camber straights. I enjoyed the course. It was the same as last year.
I did 3 practise laps with additional practise on 2 tricky bits. I watch some of the leading Vets ride the tricky bits to see how they coped.

Mental rehearsal
Then with that information in hand, I've been doing a mental rehearsal. Something new I'm trying this season.
Sit quietly in your car. 30 minutes before the race or while you warming up on the turbo. Work through the whole lap. Almost saying each bit out loud. Turn after turn. Where to be. When to brake and when to change gear. When to be 120% and when to ease off back to 90%.
I have found it incredibly useful. It worked at Leciester and at Derby. I didn't quite use it to my advantage at Southampton. I knew I had to be 3rd wheel at least into the wooded section, I just went
far to fast and cardivascular couldn't keep up. What it does is just make you be almost like a robot and you forget about you breathing being high etc. You just do what you head is saying.
Initially I used see the things in my head in black & white, now with more practise its become colour.

From my memory this morning.
My list in my head for Derby went like this:

Sprint from start
Move over to the left
Brake at the light green course stake. Turn
Do not be on the front through the tarmac
Through pits
Power through on exit
Off camber 180, choose high line then run wide
Off camber straight.
Stay high. Out of the saddle power
Don't brake for next two corners.
Aim to clip green stake
Easy gear. Into S - go wide to find green
Power on
180 tricky corner. High inside line
Ok to drift out
Power on. Gear down 2
Clip blue stake
Sprint diagonally up short bank
Along the top. Power and gear down
Out wide
Turn at dark green stake
Enter turn wide, let it drift
Don't not brake on approach to corner
Clip green stake and ride up bank diagonally.

And so on and so on
When it got really foggy. I went on a off road ride. This is 7.42am. Overlooking the North Downs from Holmbury St. Mary.
The fog looks like a calm ocean.
I guess you really had to be there.
... a World Champion downhiller, who is also a Brit and a girl, turned up to a local cross race. Tracy Moseley then rode around on her carbon Trek and went home.
I'd like to note the width of a her bars. What is that, like a 46cm.
I'd wish I'd gone to gunpowder park instead of staying home to find my MOT certificate.
Can you come to another, I'd like you to sign the article about you in Privateer.

Pic from Cross Crazy Gallery
On Cross Junkie's blog

Ok I'm decided, I'm going to watch the World Champs. Bit late to be deciding but I'm sure I can make it work. 
Belgium Ride - Photographed by Kristof Ramon. See more pictures in Pave magazine
Pictures: Kristof Ramon
I don't hate winter, I embrace it.
It is this mid point in the transition to winter that I don't care for. While everyone is still trying to hang on to temperatures in double figures, I yearn for it to drop and stay low.
Yesterday it was biting and cold, today a little mild. If I wear leg warmers I'm too hot. Should I start in a gilet? Arm warmers aren't quite suitable anymore. Should I go with the 3/4 fleece-lined tights or stick with bib shorts and knee warmers? My glove choice is always off and I end up with sweaty palms after about 40 minutes. What I want is the cold. I really enjoy ambling along a lane, pulling my buff up around my face and snuggling in.
I have this pair of Endura bib longs that I've had for years. They fit really well, just by chance, I think because I bought them in a rush for about £10 in the sale. The Roubaix fleece comes right up my tummy like a security blanket. There are these foot loops too and they keep my the which cuffs in place and wrapped around my ankles.
And, you know what else? I love those moments when you stop at a traffic light, look across to your companion and see steam rising off their body.
How about that feeling of when your face is really chilly and your eyes feel a bit strange and you have to blink a bit. Then they go a little watery. That's the cold and that's winter.
I like seeing the fog and mist below me, stuck down a valley or a hill. I like to see a rolling view not blocked by the tree leaves. I like getting up in the morning and riding from darkness to dawn to daylight, watching everyone wake up.

When you finally get to your cafe stop or back home and walk indoors, that whoosh of warm air sweeps over you, cheeks turn pink, nose shines red like a beacon and toes tingle. Most people just take a moment to sit there in their baselayer and tights. I sit there smiling smugly.
"Yeh, I've just been out, in the cold. Now for something hot and well deserved. Maybe a mince pie or bit of crumble."
I find myself perusing winter clothing with great enthusiasm. In the summer I never normally pay attention but the winter presents itself with a real need to be dressed correctly, and as you'd imagine I have a fair collection of winter apparel. But, I want more. I get engrossed in technical features. Maybe I like the winter wear because you get all tucked in, covered up and look rather svelte. Christmas excesses disguised under a thermal wrap.
My winter rides are, as they should be at, base tempo for a couple of hours. However, as a cyclo-cross racer, this is my time of year, I ride like to ride at a fair old lick around Regents Park to keep my fitness up. I meet with my fellow female accomplice on Tuesday evenings for some covert cyclo cross in a dark park. We do a fair bit standing around, working out mini courses. Then we smash about like idiots and stop and decide what drill to do next. Thus my outfit must be breathable, not flap but also be comfy and warm.
For those that dread the season all I can say (and it's such a cliche): there is no such thing as bad weather just bad preparation.
Went to Wales for 3 days. Went to ride the berm, drops and single track on a bike with front and rear shocks, a novel experience for me. The specifics are here, Andy was our leader.

All you need to know, is that I think I did ok. I smashed my toe on a sticky outty rock when I was ascending White's Level. It has gone a bit purple. Whilst I did 'go on' about it a bit more than I needed to, I'm rather pleased.
The Skyline cafe at the Trail Centre is HIGHLY recommended. REALLY good cake options. I opted for a slab of chocolate thing with biscuit crunch and bits of dried apricot, I love every second of it. Paul's Victoria Sponge was also extremely tempting.
I really like the strong colour ways on my Scott Spark Contessa. I've decided that its obvious. White, purple and orange = girl. Therefore, when I'm schooling the boys on the descents they know a girl has just chucked it past. Extra gutting.

Had a few meetings around the country and I feared it would have a negative impact on my performance at the National CX Trophy. But, it didn't. Solid 6th. 
A minute off Delia in 5th, I felt I didn't really put a step wrong
This was the diary: Edinburgh from Thurs until Sat.
Came back on a 5 hour train journey.
Sunday early start to Leicester.
Tueday early start over to South Wales back on Wednesday evening.

Seriously lacking some bike time.

But on the flip side
Running shoes are small, my Skins running tights are compact and my Howies t shirt is warm but breathable. Happy days.
I took the time to do 30 minutes run from my hotel in the evening before meeting up with people for dinner and before my breakfast.
The weather was kind, but dragging myself from a four post, warm comfy bed in Wales was hard but I'm SO glad I did. On Wednesday morning I found a trail into 'Castle Nature Reserve' just ran and kept running. Soon I saw a castle then another castle in ruins. I found some steps and did 10 sprint reps before heading back from some scrabbled eggs at the Cawdor. 
I followed each run with some work on my core. Come on six pack so me what you got!

Some folks on twitter asked me for tips on dismount/remount. I'm not a National Champion. Therefore I cannot garuntee that my summary of how to get on and off a cross bike is the best way. Helen Wyman or Ian Field or Paul Oldham would probably be a better person to give the best best advice. So this is NOT advice, this is the way I learnt to dismount a cyclo cross bike for a cyclo cross race. This is my way, broken down simply.
Note: Somewhere Andy Waterman has a video of me smashing into a hurdle.

Practice flat-out dismounts to clear a hurdle quickly. I go to the park and do this over and over again.
When I first started I didn't put an obstacle in the way, I just decided I would dismount when I was level with a tree.

- approach with hands on the brake hoods
- unclip your right foot.
- swing you leg over (practise swinging your leg really high, lean on your hands to retain balance)
- grab your top tube with your right hand, put your weight on this arm. Left hand stays on the hoods
- as your righ leg swings through, use this as leverage to twist your left foot out.
- I set my right foot downbehind my left.
- I place my left foot down as a large step to maintain speed
- the next stride will be with my right leg and it will power me over the hurdle
- i pick my bike up at a tilt / flicked out. This allows me to lift it lower (less effort).
- do not lift your bike from under the top tube, your wrist is flimsy. your weaker and your lifting it too high that way. Always lift from on top of the top tube.

Speed on the approach gets better with confidence. It takes skill and nerve. It takes patience to develop skill and nerve.
I used to play football for years, I'm used to smashing into people and skidding along the ground. As adults we grow more fearful as we know it will hurt, children have no experience of pain and thus are more ready to just start whalloping into barriers.

Look ahead not down. You'll get tangled up in your feet if your looking down at them.

Don't be delicate with unclipping or lifting. My bike is a solid thing. I use standard Shimano M520 pedals, none of this carbon nonsense. They are dependable and metal and can take a smashing as can my alloy frame.
Tell your bike your the boss and leap off it and tell them pedals your feet are coming out of them. 

On the dismount, you can bring your right foot through and infront of the left foot. Ben Spurrier does it this way. But it doesn't feel right to me. Practise will help determine which is right

Don't come to a complete stop. Do not brake at the last minute.

Remounting after running section (e.g flat hurdles)
- move your right hand back to the hoods or top of bars
- Simon Burney's cross book says - avoid dropping your bike too hard, just in case it bounces out of control
- I move my hips inline with the saddle
- I leap with my left le. I'm not going super high, I'm trying to travel up and across
- my right leg moves into a little tuck to clear the back of the bike

- you need a leap of faith, you won't miss the saddle. Try to land on the inside of your thigh on the saddle as you pedal away shift back onto your butt.
- i look down intially just to spot my bike but then look up and ahead as I leap on 
- as your right leg swings round, I feel it gives me more momentum to hop on. It pulls my body over and onto the saddle.

If you double skip, its no problem, its just slower. Just keep trying and getting your head around doing one jump.
If you skip, then your second jump is actually lower and less powerful than the first. So if you can get on doing that, then you can get on doing just one jump
It takes me now 2 steps to remount, I just started slowly and practise until it became second nature
Make a little loop 50m with turns either end in the park and just go round unclipping when your on the striahgt and try remounting before you take the corner.
I flick my bike outwards, make sure it is put down vertically as it could veer off.
Wwatch you tube clips, watch other races, watch the elite jump the hurdles.

The video below is one of me 3 years ago. I'd be doing cyclo cross in the local leagues and this was my first National Trophy. My approach and unclip is alot smoother. I just didn't pick my bike up.
On the remount I didn't launch myself into the air, my first jump with the left leg is quite weak.
I am the rider in blue.

Examples of what I trying to say.
Keeping the bike low on the hurdles

Greg Simcock - tilted the bike. He is driving his right leg over the hurdle. Look how the bike is quite low.
The rider in grey is lifting his bike too high. This might be because he's down the slope. Look how the elbow is nearly above his head.

The VCL rider should now just push with his left and hop on.
The rider in grey kit should now extend his arms and move the bike forward. He has dismounted on the wrong side, the course is on a camber, he will now have to work against the camber and up hill, he will also have to jump alot higher than the other rider.
I read in Simon Burney's CX book that one should lift your bike, as weight training, lift it in the same way as you would over a hurdle.

So I've been doing 20 min runs, coming back, nicely loosened up and bashing out 2 sets of 20 reps, each side.
I've been trying to keep the technique of the movement, working from a good solid core.
But unlike in a race, lifting the bike as high as a could. Just to work the muscles good time and trying to enable progression.

If I can handle 40 lifts, until my bike feels like a feather then a stupid hurdles every lap for 10 laps is a piece of cake.
I look like a flipping loser
When a decisive point at which one's future course is determined.


This isn't a particularly old phrase. The first citation I can find of the phrase in that form is from The Times, July 1960:

"Even the holders of Government bonds turn out to be chiefly philanthropic institutions and trade unions when it comes to the crunch."

What is 'the crunch' exactly? Crunch isn't commonly used as a noun, but it seems that the word was taken up by Winston Churchill, who was fond of using it to describe challenges; for example, he was reported in The Daily Telegraph as saying in 1939:

"Whether Spain will be allowed to find its way back to sanity and health ... depends upon the general adjustment or outcome of the European crunch."

Of course, Churchill was a widely reported and influential author and speaker and his use of language was much imitated. The phrase when it comes to the crunch directly followed from his earlier mode of speech.

@GemAtkinson was there in spirit, or at least page 44

Rarely do I write about things I do outside of riding my CX or road bike or going to a bike related event. All those design things I leave to Benedict Spurrier and his team of colouring monkeys or the Condor Blog as it mostly relevant to that.
However I've completed another thing on my list in life. A book. I'm hugely pleased with the result ( i know big head!), thank $%!£ it stayed on budget, thank-you to everyone that assisted with providing their personal stories and to the photographers who gave me their time. Wilson Hennessy, Roger Stilman, Joe McGorty, Andy Waterman, Gerard Brown and Philip Sinden.
It was a pleasure to work with each one of them, from spending an afternoon with Joe pulling down boxes of fresh campag in the warehouse and seeing Joe's eyes light up to watching Philip make all the staff feel at ease with their portraits. To Andy and Gerard who capture bike racing in their unique style and Wilson and Roger who have taken still life to the next level. I was unsure about the coloured background for the historic frames but once they they mixed Hasselblad with magic touch they look even more vibrant even after 50 years. And to Roger -  I have never more badly wanted an orange touring bike.
We blew up the covers to huge posters 2m x 3m for the London Condor store window. They look popping. Take a look if your in town.

These are my current goals, but I don't have time limit on them, somehow I've had a pretty good year;  actually go to the tour de france; see the paris-roubaix up close; have a good cycle show and not get sick; go on holiday but not cycle; try mussels; race CX in belgium and get on the podium at the National Trophy CX.
Went to the crunch today.
On the journey I listened to Herve x Kissy Sell Out Mash Up Mix but on Crunch FM channels there was also Jaguar Skills  (free downloads) and Electro Swing that I can recommend.
I got drenched in sodium, chlorides, ammonia, bit of glucose and some H2O
It took 42 minutes to get to the crunch. I didn't like the journey but I'd actually like to go again.

My directions to the crunch
Straight on a Tabata after the junction for Warm Up
8x 20sec - 100% effort, each effort followed by 10sec recovery
Go easy through the town of Zone 2 for about 5 minutes
Now do go to long interval lane and follow directions as below
2 min - at threshold
1 min - easy
90 sec - hard
1 min - easy
1 min - flat out
1 min - easy
30 sec - flat out
1 min - easy
1 min - flat out
1 min - easy
90 sec - hard
1 min - easy
1 min - flat out
Go easy through the town of Zone 2 for about 5 minutes
Turn left and do another tabata and really make it count
Have a 5 minute picnic
Repeat the long interval lane combo (as above) and nearly immediately after getting to the end of the lane, you'll arrive at the CRUNCH

The crunch looks different to everyone. This is what is looked like to an outsider putting their head around the door of my garage.

I rode my final road race of the season at Hillingdon. I only needed to get a point for 10th and I wasn't contesting the overall series win so this was just a see how it goes, get as much high energy work in as I could.
I went for an out of control long sprint from basically at the club house I wound the pace and opened a sprint on the bottom corner.
I started to fade at 100m to go. I always hold the sprint off until 200m to go.  Meh, but I had nothing to lose and in the end 3 riders came past me just at the line.

Then I raced on Sunday. In a double header weekend. The cross was way more successful. But it was like an road race. The grass was hard and compact. I ran my pressure at about 38psi .
I got into a group on laps 2-4 but because it was flat the guys were just alittle bit more powerful and I was finding myself in and out of the saddle after every turn.
After lap 5 I had a good lead and I eased up, well could no longer hold the wheel of the group. My times went out from the 6.20 per lap to 6.42 and then I decided to knuckle down for the final lap and got a 6.33.

Having to dismount and sprint up stairs 21 times was good for the ol' technique though and my dismount to the steps I managed to refine to keep up the speed but not take more than a step before the stairs. 
She rode the Nocturne 2011 and various Tour Series races, National Road Races.
I've ridden cross against Miss Garner and she smashed me then. I cannot believe that I might one day turn up to a National Series race and ride next to somone that has a rainbow jersey. Such is the dumbness of the British Cycling scene for girls.
But at the same time, there is some serious talent, Armistead, Hannah Barnes and Garner. And they don't look like a horse, or an ugly butch boy under a helmet and glasses (if you know what I mean).
Chapeau to Miss Garner. May you lap me at a cross race whenever you want.

I have S-Work road shoes for racing and S-Works MTB shoes for cyclo cross. I train in Specialized Pro shoes to keep the race shoes crisp and white. I've spent alot of time in my training shoes and feel fine. I did two rides in my race shoes and now the lateral side left knee super aches even on my road bike.
My cleat on that foot for that shoe must be out a few mill or something.
I decided to use this roll of Garmin edition Rock Tape (a brand of elastic therapeutic tape) as an experiment. So I can keep on riding. Seems to be working out fine. Just look like a bit of an idiot walking around with an argyle pattern on my leg.

I'm no orthopedist, chiropractor, or physio but I have visited all three for a torn shoulder issue that has plagued my bike riding for the last five ish year due to an accident with a car (their fault). After an hour and 20 minutes of cycling I get this pain in my left shoulder. Usually painful numbness. From neck to the rotor cuff. I'm going to try the tape through the cyclo cross season and see how I get on.

Skoda gave me a Tour De France white watch when I went to watch some stages with them. I was going to post about all the loot I'd got my hands on but then I didn't. Yesterday I noticed the bezel fell off and it reminded me. 
I feel pretty euro with it on. Like I should go out and smash 50km of sunflower littered Franco countryside.

Took myfirst win of the Eastern Cross League for the season and hopefully I have started as I mean to go on.
Had a good start which took me up to 4th wheel going into the first bend. From here I wasn't really slowed down only lost ground to the faster vets. 
Punctured with a lap and a half to go. But it wasn't a spectacular blow up, cruised back to the pit and collected by other bike but the pressures were off. Noticeably harder to control the bike riding at 45psi when I have been on 30psi front and 35 psi rear. 
Thus lost a couple of places in those closing 8-10 minutes of the race. Just being gentle on the lap last through corners.
Note to self: prepare both bikes. I know this, but I won't forget every again.  

I'd really like to ride to a top ten overall in the Vets/Womens race in the Eastern League. 
Another good race and course. I do enjoy the league and how efficient they are with the results. 
Lap times: 6:426:526:576:487:087:34
I have made it a mission of mine to earn as much cycling related 'garb' as possible.
Amongst my collection I have a 'green jersey - esq Mark Cavendish balloon man' and an Eric Zarbel signed PMU foam hand.
Anyways that all pales to my aim to get a podium SKODA Yeti (a 3ft massive toy). I met a real big one today.

I saw this video ages ago and its a good race.Then I saw @crossjunkie's had written on his blog about womens raceing and reposted the video on his blog (http://crossjunkie.blogspot.com/). So I've been watching it, over and over and over again.

Firstly I like how Vos in the first lap sprints super hard from the front. Now that's how you start a race.
Secondly Vos comes out of the long descent onto the muddy climb and makes it look flat, while her competitors behind are already grinding away.

Vos, Kuppenagel and Ferrier-Bruneau then just solidly smash away and smash each other until they start to crack.
Done my first proper cross race. It was muddy and then the sun shone. I was hot and the mud went to sticky heavy gloop.

Made mistakes on laps 1-3 by running the short sharp climbs when I could have ridden them.
I was riding them in the second half of the race but that was too late.
The leaders were always just 30 seconds away. I saw them at exactly the same place and junctions where the course doubled back every single lap.
I rode a 44t and I couldn't get enough speed. I think my smashing around on a road bike means I need to upgrade to a 46t.
I was consistent lap after lap and finished 3rd. But I think I should have been with Nikki and Delia, trying to at least challenge for 2nd. Need to improve my fitness on smashing into the wind.

From the Garmin data, I wasted lap 1.  I let people get infront of me and slow me down, my heart rate never really trips above 180 not like the other laps. I should have been pushing through and taking risks, getting past these guys who think they are strong but can't handle a bit of twisty singletrack. Go head butt a tree.