RACE 4: Westmorland

I had hoped to start getting these blogs done a bit quicker by getting up early on the Sunday after and start hammering the keyboard, but following a birthday party on Saturday night, and one too many brandy’s, it’s lucky I’m able to get it done this quickly!


After the last race in which I found out exactly where I was fitness wise, I knew I had to get a good 2 weeks of training in to progress and get closer to where I want to be.

I’m one of those who hates the turbo, it serves a purpose yes, but I would prefer a specific tool for the job, like a Wattbike.  I’ve been looking at the new Atom and it is very tempting, but then so is a new bike!  Speaking of new bikes, one of the lads in the club has just had a custom built one finished and that’s got me wanting one even more now.  I don’t like buying something that everyone else has, I like different.  I won’t spend any money on a Specialized or Canyon for that reason, as they are the probably 2 of the most popular bike manufacturers out there.  I also remember saying a few months back to the lads over a few drinks that my next bike is going to be something more bling, and one that never sees a road race.  The reason being is that around the same time one of the lads crashed in a road race on his brand new road bike.  The bike and he was fine, but some poor lads brand new £5k Specialised and clavicle were not.  So with already having a bike that is more than capable of keeping up in races if my legs can turn the cranks hard enough, I don’t see the point in trying to save 20 seconds over 40km in a CAT 3/4 race around the Pimbo Velodrome only to have some chopper help me break it!!  Everyone should have a good race bike and a better summer café bike in my opinion.  You can ride your special bike in the summer knowing full well that you do in fact pin numbers on your jersey, and you deserve to enjoy a ridiculously expensive bike without the risk of crashing!


Anyway back to the race, I do tend to go off tangent!


Again it’s looking like a nice day, and I’ve just bought an NWCCA bobble hat as well, gutted!  I had one sunny race last year, and I’ve already doubled it with back to back races.  Actually that’s the 3rd sunny CX race in a row I’ve done, if you include the Liverpool Century summer race back in July.  Who’d have thought you’d be at risk of heat stroke in a CX race!

So not to put a jinx on it, but maybe I’m the one who brings the sun to this sport now, whether that’s a good thing I don’t know, but what I do know is I take cash payments for future events……#JUSTSAYIN


Even after the previous races there is still very much a green tinge to the course, which is blowing my mind, cos that really is a first.  We start doing a recon lap and I realise I’ve forgotten my transponder, it’s sat glaring out of the windscreen of the team car.  All the times I’ve thought why the commissaire asks the question before the race if everyone has their transponder….I think it’s a good question!  So I shoot back, get tagged up and head to the race.


The start is right in the middle of the course itself up a long, wide gravel path.  Fortunately the field of riders isn’t that big because there is the potential crash scenario, something that happened at the Chipping race last year if I remember, but thankfully all goes well.

I find myself isolated and racing myself for the most part, I’ve already spotted my nemesis behind so I’m feeling good.  I see a guy up ahead and know I’m catching him, it’s only a matter of time.  I’ll make time on him up the drags and failing that I’ll get him on the long fast descent on the back field.  That’s when it goes a bit wrong.  My chain comes off on said descent.  No idea how and with the clutched rear derailleur, I’m confused.  So I have to get off to put it back on and when I get going again I see my target has got some distance on me again.  So I start clawing him back and then the exact same thing happens in the exact same place.  It’s a bit disheartening knowing I’ve got even more time to try and make up, but I get off put the chain back on and get going again.  Next lap, same thing in the same place!!  I know its bumpy going down, but nothing too bad, and it’s not happening to any other riders that I can tell.  I can only think it’s because I’m trying to go faster each time by pedalling in the biggest gear I’ve got.  Maybe the movement is causing that slight disengagement with the chain ring teeth??  Something I need to have looked at by the Picton Cycles lads.


By now I’ve given up trying to catch the guy in front, I’m a bit annoyed but that’s racing.  At least I’m starting to get some fitness back.

There’s a right ding dong going on between about 5 riders, luckily for them they come past me when the course is at one of its widest points, because I’m not in the mood to have to deviate from my cornering lines!


Last corner and I can here that someone is behind from the shouting, so I put one last effort in to make sure I get over the line first, which I do.


The post-race sitting on the top tube commences and I’m not coughing my head off or wanting to be sick, so that’s a positive.  But I am disappointed overall, I was definitely going to catch the guy in front only to be stopped by my first ever mechanical in a race!


Overall the race was pretty uneventful for a change.  And I have to say, without disrespect to all the other races I’ve done this was one of the best courses so far.  It was fast, technical and hard with a bit of running involved, which could have turned into a lot of running if it was raining!  That long fast descent would have been even better if it was muddy and with the long steep climb immediately after, it could been a much different race.  But it wasn’t raining, it was sunny again, and the next race at Heaton Park is looking sunny as well, although I’m not there, and the forecast the previous couple of days looks like rain, so I reckon it might be a bit soggy in places!


Another positive is the fact that there is no mud to have to wipe off, we are all ready to load up and get going which the long drive back would have been made longer if we were covered in mud!  Although it did take Ste about 15 mins to find the car key which went missing whilst the car was open!!


Thanks again to the volunteers for all the work done on the day.


If anyone needs any sports therapy throughout the season, don’t forget to give me a shout, GVSPORTSMASSAGE.com

Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the photos – Find more of her great pics by clicking here


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