I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
Follow Me
Two wheels, both off road. What happen. Sad face

This book has been at the bottom of my drawer for months. Its quite nice. It might be the third by the author.
It is a collection of postcards with quotes from the subjects. Its by Horst A. Friedrichs and features a chum of mine Nick Clements (pic 2) who writes for Men's File.

Is this a fox? Where are its back legs?

this is going to be done to my cat. It will scratch me down to the bone but I will try my hardest.

I've decided out of boredom and no friends to play with, to catalogue by board game collection.
It all began with the discovery of Careers at my Grandma's. My mum and aunty showed me how to play, this now extinct game. We re-used game sheets, that had already been scribbled on by Susan and Janice.  But half the cards and money for the game was missing.
So about 15 years ago, my sister and I went on newly discovered ebay, and we found a 1960's game of Careers, we mixed the two games together.
Then we just started buy more retro board games off ebay. I like their typography, their simplicity and 1960/70's designs. I enjoy nothing refers to computers, the internet within the games. 

Careers (1st Edition) - Waddington's 'Careers', is the board game where players get the chance ro choose between fame, fortune and happiness. Each player decides on his own formula for success and then tries to be the first to accomplish his objective.
The careers one can complete on the way to winning the game are, Farming, Being the First to go to the Moon, Uranium Prospecting.

Scoop (1st Edition) - you work at a newspaper, you aim is to fill the front page (game board) with headlines and adverts before anyone else. When you get a story, you have to call the Editor and move this weird little card telephone (on our game, this is nearly broken). The editor will OK or reject your story. This is how you fill your game board.

Formula 1 (1962) - your a race car driver and you have to complete a certain number of laps of the board before everyone else. Go to fast through a corner and you could puncture of spin off etc.

Cluedo (1960 & Simpsons Ed. 2008)
My dad hates the Simpson's edition.

Totopoly (1970's, 3rd edition)
Originally created in the 1930's. We've never really understood how to play. It has a 2 sided board.
In the first part of the game players purchase and train their race horses. The final part of the game is the race itself. Its not for simple minds, its for adults. I'd rather learn how to play Poker and win money.

Sorry (1950's)
Played many times with my sister when I was under 10. The game sometimes ended with me walking off in a strop (as I felt I was being picked on) or all of the players falling about laughing yelling 'SOOOORRRRRYYYYY' at each other as luck created misfortune for others.
'Sorry' is a board game based on Ludo, but with a twist. Rather than movement being decided by a dice roll, it is determined by a deck of cards.

Games I'm searching for:
Play School - Pick a Pair
Go - The International Travel Game
Spy Ring

When I was at university and it would get to the end of the month and my funds would run low, rather than go into my free overdraft. I hate adverse credit, despite a free overdraft being at no negative affect to my finances, I tried my hardest to steer clear.
Ok, back to the point in hand, Risk. I played Risk, which was free fun entertainment rather than spend £30 at a pub in Brighton.
FYI - this didn't happen often. Like once, every three months in my final year. No one really went out as much at it got close to dissertation deadline.

I like the idea of Risk, and the longer I went without playing it, the more little strategies I would think up, for when I'd next play.
Then I'd actual get down to playing it, after an hour comes the realisation of the commitment needed to play it. Hence why it only had bi-monthly outings.

So I looked up purchasing the game and it turns out, like every board game, its be totally revamped and made to look like something for Xbox, and loads of new rules have been added.
OK I appreciate, they need to extend the product lifecycle and introduce new things to keep users interested.
But I want the fun Risk, that I remember.
So off onto Ebay I went.


Images Via Ben Ward.
A customary - an end of CX year round up (2010/11 season, 2009/10 season)

The ViCiOUS VELO photo stories serve as a great recap too...
Derby by Us
ViCiOUS VELO do a Herne Hill  Race by Gem Atkinson
National Champs by Cyclephotos.co.uk

My Best Ride:
Bradford - 6th
Full on sloppy mud carnage. I didn't fall off on the descent once.

Best National Course
Shrewbury - Sundon Sports Ground
Well, Shrewsbury is a newcomer and it has firmly knocked Bradford off its mighty thrown. Others that should be noted,Derby and Bradford was legendary, again!

Worst Course
Southampton - Rd 3
Not very interesting, not very hard. Just a playing field. This may not have been helped by my super fast start which then put my in the red before the end of lap 1.

Most Mud
Bradford - 6th. Fun though and I was jet wash duty. Go to the course it has the best atmosphere

Best B&B
Didn't stay at a B&B this year, there were lots of races within a 1hr 30mins drive. Booking in advance means you can get a room for just £19 with Premier Inn, they are spacious, good pillows and a great shower. Just don't buy it last minute for £80, thats just not worth it

Best Ride
Nick Craig at the Bradford Rd, he's still able to get on the podium. And for me Bradford and Derby I felt great. But I FINALLY got a medal (albeit a silver one) in the Regionals after plenty of years of misfortune.

Most improved
David Barnes & Delia Beddis
For David he had to compete against his nemesis and truly talented Dan Tullet. David was consistent and always 2nd. He picked up alot of medals along the way.
Delia has turned into a Top 5 super star, if she doesn't fall off and keeps her head (according to Andy). She battled twice this season for a 3rd place and podium. In the end, consistency at the sharp end of the field meant she was 2nd in the series overall.

Best Piece of Kit
Disc Brakes
You will stop, they are the future

Best Accessory
Rugby Studs in MTB shoes
Not easy to run on tarmac in but they grip in hard, in hard mud or gloopy stuff.

Worst kit
Any other brand of tyre
Sorry - I really do believe that Dugast Rhino's even on FMB carcusses are the best tread around.
Don't put thick clown make up on your face and race. You will end up with stinging eyes and mashed up skin

Best Rider
Ian Field
Finally he's got the jersey he's always wanted.And he's going to take the National Champs jersey to Belgium.

Worst thing about cross this year
It stayed too warm and there wasn't enough mud, but that's cross. You got to be able to cope with hot weather in September. That's not that bad is it, really. Warm weather is nice.

Best thing
Being in a great team of people who have the same aims and want to help and shout at you.
Plus a photographer doing a feature on the team.

Moment I remember
Liam Killen falling off on the final corners, in the final lap, of the National Champ
Playing CX in the dark park and a old man shouting at Ben.
ViCiOUS VELO riders racing £2,000 for charityby cutting their hair into shapes.

Next year
I promise to race in Belgium.
I will get into the top 5 more than once
I will continue to race the Eastern League
I will train during Christmas and not just eat chocolate. I'll eat chocolate and cycle

What worked
Tabata Tuesdays
Morning runs with 20 bikes lifts and afternoon rides
Bikram Yoga - 2 times a week.

The Results:
Muddy Hell - Herne Hill - 2nd dressed as a clown ( 2nd from the top right)
Rapha Super Cross 1 - 2nd
Rapha Super Cross 2 - 3rd
Rapha Super Cross 3 - 5th (too much hill)
Regional Championship - 2nd

National Trophy Newcastle - Did not attend
National Trophy Leicester - 6th
National Trophy Southampton - 11th - did a silly start, learnt to control that!
National Trophy Derby - 8th
National Trophy Bradford - 6th
National Trophy Shrewsbury - 9th (broke rear mech on last lap)

National Champs Ipswich - 17th (not very pleased with that.)
Tried to play it cool at the start of the race and not lead them all up the finish straight, as we turned onto Dave Mellor Off Camber Alley it descended into madness and all sorts of kids got in front of me, Delia fell over etc etc.
Got through that and back onto the tarmac to head into the back section of the course with Imogen Buick for company, just like at last weeks Champs.

Into the wooded section and the course had signifcantly deterioated from the mornings rock hard frozen landscape, we were no longer sliding our tyres on ice but through slushy mud.  I felt better, falling off in mud is a slower process, it feels more predictable and it hurts less as the ground is softer.

I love the wooded single track section, that went on for what felt like ages, on the Dugast I was cornering on rails. I rode up to Emily Barnes, tried to get her to jump on my wheel but she'd disappeared went I came out of the next corner, (turns out she was on fast treads and had no grip). Through the singletrack and out the other side with a whole heap of time on my side and not feeling too shabby.
Onto the tarmac to return to the main part of the course. This was the hardest part for everyone, a series of banks, covered in what felt like grease and various turns along those banks.

Running it, was the best option, and I did. After 2 laps I saw Hannah Payton, up ahead and pressed on to catch her after 3 I was there, up into 6th. I had her wheel going over the Finish Straight and we got the bell. Then crunch and twange, oh dear, I thought I might have dropped my chain, I pedalled and more crunching. Looking down there is was, a mech wrapped around the cassette and the chain lost somewhere.
I remember saying "oh no" in this quiet whinning voice.
In front of the crowd there was no where to hide, I grabbed the bike and ran for it. Covered in mud it was so heavy and running with long studs in the front of my shoe is tricky.
After what seemed like forever I got back to the pits and passed me flew Imogen Buick, now I'm right back where I started, into the pits and onto the second bike, the back tyre then flatted somewhere and I was sliding about in the wooded section, I had previously enjoyed.
Back into the main grass arena, Imogen was up ahead and I tried to catch her before the line, just 4 seconds too slow.
Dave Mellor's Mud Alley

Despite the drama, it was a course I really enjoyed, despite the unrideable banks and all the mud. I would really like to take a trip there again.
The 9th could have been a 5th or 6th and that would have meant 6th overall in the series standings, instead I ended up 7th overall in the Trophy Standings with the first round missed.
Photo Cred: Stuart Nisbett. A strong start

Well, it didn't really go to plan and its not really because of any other reason than fitness. My form dipped because I just didn't do my racing, turbo and cross. Unlike Delia Beddis who slung in, 3 hard cross races of the festive week.
Photo Cred: Paul Sheers. I don't have a mullet

A good start with Beddis put up up at the front, the three contiental pros had slipped away and we weren't about to chase. Half way through the lap the strong Trophy riders started to move past, Robinson, Rowntree, etc. Beddis lept on the back. I think I spent too much energy in my start.
After the first lap, took a big gulp of air and wanted it to stop. Emily Barnes flew past me with a group of seven in tow and I hopped on the back and fought hard to stay there.
Photo cred: Stuart Nisbett. Working with Emily

Felt better and moved up to the front to keep the pace up, hoping to burn off a few riders from the group, which we did and also got attacked as well.
The group became Emily, Myself and the Buick sisters who were riding hard. We mixed it up with everyone taking a turn but into the final two laps something hit me (not actually hit me) and I really started to struggle, yo-yoing off the back. I just wanted to be out of the wind. The back is the worst place to be as you are the slowest out of every corner.
Thinking back, nothing was going through my mind, no thought of a plan or attacking, just sticking with them.
I should have attacked and perhaps had a mini burst which would have made everyone chase then we could have a rest.

On the final lap Imogen Buick attacked after the start, Emily reacted and I just couldn't. Then into the finish straight for the bell it really just ended, up the next short climb and I was in turmoil, I looked up and the gap was several bike lengths and then I just conceeded.
They left me and I continued to ride the final part of the course, knowing I couldn't contest for top 15 which annoyed me.
Emily did stick with it and as I entered the final 3 turns I saw her burst of speed and powerful sprint. Emily finished at the victor of the group.
Delia's ride was very strong placing her safely inside the top 10, in 8th position.

The Good:
A strong start
Fast over the hurdles, I made up several lengths on riders
Leading the group to give Emily a bit of recovery
Technical - e.g. I didn't fall off or make a mistake
My bike is working fine
Cyclephotos.co.uk Vicious Velo Photo Story

The Bad:
The freezing weather meant I couldn't get warm, even in my warm up, even with warm up cream
The lack of technical - I like technical because where others lose ground, I make it up. But when its not there my fitness or lack off shows up more
Not getting into the top 10 for the 3rd year running

Making it perfect:
Bring back the bridge at Ipswich
Add a dash of rain to make it alittle slippy.
Giving up and not attacking
Better British Cycling video that has more than 45 seconds worth of footage of the women's race

1 Helen Wyman Kona / FSA Factory Team 43 m 45 s
2 Nikki Harris Telenet Fidea Cycling Team @ 1 m 2 s
3 Annie Last Milka-Brentjens Mountain Bike RT @ 1 m 2 s
4 Gabriella Day The Chainstay - Renner @ 2 m 14 s
5 Louise Robinson (v) Stourbridge CC @ 3 m 11 s
6 Isla Rowntree (v) Stourbridge CC @ 3 m 49 s
7 Hannah Payton (j) The Kinesis Morvelo Project @ 4 m 37 s
8 Delia Beddis Vicious Velo @ 4 m 44 s
9 Diane Lee www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG @ 4 m 55 s
10 Bethany Crumpton (J) Halesowen A & CC @ 5 m 18 s
11 Rebecca Preece (J) Red Rose Olympic CC @ 6 m 16 s
12 Leona Kadir La Fuga - Sigma Sport @ 6 m 18 s
13 Sarah Naylor Ashfield RC @ 6 m 40 s
14 Emily Barnes (J) Rapha Condor CC @ 6 m 52 s
15 Imogen Buick (J) Moda-Diablo Racing @ 6 m 52 s
16 Anna Buick University of Manchester CC @ 6 m 56 s
17 Claire Beaumont Rapha Condor CC @ 7 m 29 s
18 Keira McVitty (J) www.buzzcycles.co.uk/Forme @ 7 m 55 s
19 Nikola Butler Inverse RT/Cyclaim.co.uk @ 7 m 55 s
20 Joanne McRae Look Mum No Hands ! @ 7 m 58 s
21 Nicola Hamilton Look Mum No Hands ! @ 8 m 13 s
22 Helen Clayton Lichfield City CC @ 8 m 30 s
23 Jessica Stone Malvern Cyclesport @ 8 m 34 s
24 Helen MacGregor (V) VC Lincoln/Pygott& Crone/B&O/SPS @ 9 m 7 s
25 Elizabeth Clayton (V) Lichfield City CC @ 9 m 23 s
26 Verity Appleyard XCRacer.com @ 9 m 45 s
27 Emma Johnson X RT/Elmy Cycles @ 9 m 52 s
28 Phoebe Sneddon Mulebar Girl @ 9 m 52 s
29 Sarah Woods (V) Wight Mountain @ 10 m 4 s
30 Louise Mahe Mulebar Girl @ 1 lap
31 Lynn Bland (V) Norton Wheelers @ 1 lap
32 Rebecca Keogh Solihull CC @ 1 lap
33 Louise Rickard (V) X RT/Elmy Cycles @ 1 lap
Predictions are all about opinion and we all know that a predictor will try to pick something left of the field. I'm going to do that but not with the 1st placed riders, they are all too experienced to be phased but a National Champs. Lower down it's the overall and silver and bronze medals that will mix it u.

1st  Overall
Who: Helen Wyman
Why: More experienced, more talent in her little finger than most, nice long legs to jump freely over the up hill hurdles. She's fast and this year while she let her other ex pat Brits beat her a few times, she was always ahead when it counted in world cups.

1st Vet
Who: Louise Robinson
Why: Previous silver medallist at the World Champs, Sydney Olympic Games MTB rider and former National Champ. This year the two National Trophy races she rode, she won and finished 2nd in the other. A simple walk in the park for the Stourbridge CC rider.

1st Junior
Who: Lucy Garner
Why: Earning the right to wear a rainbow gives one a huge confidence boost. Her first race back to cyclo cross in 2011, she chose a National to do it at and won it. Moving clear of the current Junior Champ, Payton. This is just another junior title for the World RR Champ.

So who else where else?
1st - Wyman
2nd - Annie Last
3rd - Nikki Harris
4th - Louise Robinson
5th  - Gabby Day

Day, always a strong finisher in National Champs has alot to contend with this year, her World Cup results have seen her figure at the sharp end of the top 20. She did crack the top 10 at the very difficult Koksidje course but top 10 placings haven't followed. Robinson looks to be fired up and ready to go and will take on Day.
The other Ex Pat Brit, Nikki Harris has plenty of form to be pleased about.  A 5th place at the Euro's, a couple of World Cup top 10s and podium finishes in the GVA races. She's is very hot on Wyman's heels over in Belgium but when there aren't the same competitors around and riding in groups, out on her own Wyman will motor away.
Last, is a mountain biker, who found victory in extreme mud at the Bradford round of the trophy, her first National CX of the season.
Last has placed 11th in the CX Worlds in 2010 (a first lap crash, curtailed Wyman's performance). Last placed 2nd in the World and European MTB champs, that's a lot of calibre. The hottest MTB of her generation but one who is focusing on the 2012 games XC training not CX victories.

Lower down
6th - Lucy Garner
7th - Isla Rowntree
8th - Hannah Payton
9th -
10th - Delia Beddis

The rest of the top 10 is made up of the usual suspects from the National Trophy plus the addition of Lucy Garner finding 6th. Garner hasn't been seen at many races this year but she's has buckets of CX bike riding experience. Isla Rowntree, Payton in a three in previous races with Adela Carter (not entered) and that doesn't look like it will change, but with Carter not seen at recent races. 9th spot is open.
Beddis, a surprise contender to the podium in Bradford and regular to the top 5 at National Trophy level. She must keep her head and avoid an outright sprint for the line against a competitor and she'll safely conclude the top 10.

I note that Stybar's Crux isn't using a front brake cable stop attached via the fork crown but the standard headset mounted, does mean the fork is not the standard Crux. Or is this just personal preference or lack of his team mechanics knowledge?

Nice to see he isn't rocking a carbon frame, I thoroughly disagree with carbon frame for CX (sorry Sheerso). 

Opting for canti's, rather than a disc or cable disc frame. But that's really got to be down to Stybar running Dugast on Zipps and Zipp not making a disc hubs. But with Avid making cable discs and Avid part of Sram I'd have like to have seen something.

I don't think he cares too much about that because there are rather lively rainbow stripes on the cotton side walls. Nice.

No SRAM Red chainset but Specialized priority OSBB system.
That said, I've got a pair of those babies and I like them. I'm sure my power output compares well to Stybar so he'll have a good experience...

There is a wee bit of bubbling at the top of the World Champ stripe on the seat stay. Therefore its all a load of stickers on a pink bike. I'm not saying its a resprayed Ridley. That is dumb, just noticing tiny insignificant things.

Pictures via Pez and CyclePhotos.co.uk 
Sandqvist £100

T Level - Roll Top £171

Mission Workshop - Advanced Project VX with Arkiv® closure


Brooks Islington

Phillosopy - Morrison Backpack
I've discovered a blog which I quite like reading.
It has nothing to do with cycling.
I found it when I was googling the enigma that is Mark-Francis Vandelli from the reality TV show Made In Chelsea.