I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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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!