My First trip to Kirkcaldy, For a new race on the cards. Beveridge Park Gand Pix.
Instead of the Cars and Bikes of the past, there will be the sounds of Cyclocross ripping up the park. What a park it is to rip up.
After a few wrong turns or missed signs posts, ending in the accumulation of coming over the wrong bridge I arrive into Beveridge Park.
Find a nice spot in the packed car park. Scare off a nice wee Granny and her fluffy wee dogs after jumping out the car in full Lycra.
Head around past the rugby club to the sign on tent, all I had to do was follow the sound of music to sign up area, like the Pied Piper of Cyclocross, play the tunes and we will come. Good set up I see before my eyes. There are quite a few people out on the course, having a go of the Grand Prix Circuit.
Spy the tea and coffee tent, well it was the cakes that were waving at me, give them a quick wink and tell then not to worry I’ll be back (Bet you just done an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice there).
Portage Cycling was our proud host today, with Jon McComisky and his band of Cross Imps dusting up a course that was set out to hurt 90% of the field.
Yup, you guessed it I was never going to be in that 10% band of Brothers and Sisters.
I have seen on the Facebook of life that Jon has been hard at work getting this event to the line, what a great job it was too.
After a few laps of bashing about getting a feel of what’s to come, it’s on to the race itself. We’re called off the course and the barrier tape is pulled across the start line.
All the big hitters are called forward to be gridded, so the Medium and Little fish squeeze into space behind them. There is not much of a run up to the first right-hand bend, so a fair bit of chatter about taking care etc, as we’re on the tarmac I think and hope everyone is on the same page here, don’t really want the tarmac to be used as a human cheese grater!
Get the call of 15 seconds to go, Heart starts to pump a little bit harder and faster now. Music gets switched to Formula 1 intro The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. Just had to be done.
Beeeeeeeppppppppp were off, as always the mad dash begins, I am going well, making some spaces up before the corner, I go to the outside losing positions I gained. We’re all around safe so all must have been listening to the chatter before the whistle.
Try to cruise up this long drag of a hill, trying not to get boxed in or into a hill climb battle. Get to the sharp right and a rider goes down in the gutter, automatic avoidance system tries to kick in but to no avail, Its to close can’t get out the road and end up in a little tangle of bikes but nothing major (shit happens)
Now it’s back on the bike and peddle downhill into quick left, then back up the hill this time on the grass, this was a sneaky wee bugger, you got to the top thinking you had it conquered, then there was another little incline with the grass getting softer, slowing you down to a gradual stop. The park is fighting back at this point.
This might well be the energy sapping part of the course, Double Hill Hell.
The rest of the course starts to get more technical from now on, lots of nice off-camber hairpins slowing you down, this area was where I began losing too much distance on people, need to work on this area of my cross. After Zig, Zag Zone you came to the first hurdle, little dismount and hop over heading up onto the left-hand bend, you were back in the saddle gaining speed heading down the small hill. This area would be the Grandstand Arena (McComisky Mound) Great to see so many people out to support us mad Cyclocrossers on this hill.
Next bit of delightfulness in-store was some long straight sections, good for overtaking or in my part for the first lap being overtook. Then came the little task of hurdles, hop the first one then back in the saddle to hang a sharp left then hop the second one, keeping to the right if you could or there was the possibility of hitting a dark and murky puddle that was waiting to suck your wheels off your bike if you ventured over onto the left-hand side. Calling this Double Dutch Ditch.
The final section of the course was a quick section between the trees then you were back on the Tarmac for a quick sprint through the line, Then hit the task of Double Hill Hell. Oh, Great!
Now to battle the course again.
After the first lap the park will always be known to me as Beverage Park, as I could have done with a drink, any drink would have done. As this was Summer Cross the sun decided to have a little watch of the race too if it was a normal Cross day I could have drunk the rain or wheel spray from a fellow racer. Not today Bryan just suffer in the heat!
I think I even seen the Wizard of the woods wave a Bidon at me with a chuckle of his cloaked shoulder.Try to forget about the arid conditions going on my mouth and try to get into a groove that will keep me moving forward gaining some places.
Start to claw back a few positions on hills but it is the zig-zag zone I am losing touch with people.
Just as I am feeling good I hear the words of “rider” Sir David Lines goes screaming past on his motorbike by the speed of him. He’s flying I hear on the PA that he’s up on second place by 50 seconds. Crazy stuff, I have to put myself through the wringer in the pain cave to get some higher positions me thinks.
After being lapped another once by David and Co. Chewing up miles of grass and a side portion of mud, the time and laps are ticking down. Still not handling the technical areas too great, hills seem to be my strong point today.
I catch my lucky break of the race, on the last corner David comes past me to hit the finishing straight and take the win, this meaning the race is over for me and no more laps. I could have gained one more place if I stayed on but as you’re staring into the eyes of Double Hill Hell I was glad for the checkered flag to wave.
So that was my race over for the day. When you finish racing, why do you think of that extra 10% effort you should have done to catch the rider in front? It’s a different story when the race is in full flight, you just want to plug on and see that flag waved at you as you crawl past the line.
With my 5th race now scored off and numbers collected, its good to see some familiar faces kicking about, putting faces to names off Facebook and Twitter, starting to feel more of the #CROSSLOVE this is my kind of race scene and what I want more of it.
Hang about for the presentation for the winners, then walk back to the car whilst ears are straining to hear if I have to do a mad dash up to collect my raffle prize, nope no number 59 pulled out so keep walking son.
Now would be the most feared bit, looking at the results to come online, I do this in the comfort of my sofa, after driving home over the correct bridge and getting the bike kit in the washing, time for a coffee and see where I placed, 63 is my final standing out of 113 racers. Not bad but a lot of work to be done if I want to climb that table.
Results are posted in link below
Well the next Race is At Balloch Castle for the Twowheelarmy
Glasgow United are the hosts of the park, on the 4th of October, hope to see some of the cross family again.