Direction today is Eastwards, For round 4 of Scottish Cyclocross Series.
Another Dirty weekend for me. All alone today as pit crew not feeling well. So they told me, think they were not wanting to stand in the mud and cold today. From what I have heard I am going to have a manky time.
Heading along to sign up area, I spotted four broken rear mech’s from the V50 and Woman’s race heading to their cars. Sign my life away and get my number 430, head back to the car. Get my number pinned and bike sorted. Spot another two broken bikes being pushed to the carpark.
Seeing the bikes being chewed up and spat out of the mud machine of the course, I am slightly worried at what’s to come. So for my warm up I will be sticking to the road away from the mud, I am sure I will see enough of it when racing.
Little warm up done, head round to the course with Kevin Pugh he’s on a single speed so no worries for him and his bike losing a rear mech. Though I don’t think he’s keen on getting new bike Dirty.
Head into a little pen at the start area, do a few loops keeping legs turning. Will be riding this course blind again, don’t really want to have a warm up lap and get stuck in the mud.
We are brought to the start line, This is where you think “What have I got myself into this time”.
Gladiators READY! Contenders READY! In the next 30 seconds, you will start on the whistle.
Bbbbbeeeeeeerrrreeeepp we are off.
Off to a belter, making great pace in first few pedal strokes, eat up some places. Hit the first muddy corner about 25th or so. Result! It’s a tight little left with a lot of body’s squeezing through, a lot of mud waiting to make you come off your bike if you chose the wrong line. A bit of a challenge.
Still moving up and feeling good, come through where the barriers will be placed after the first lap, funnel into another tight mud packed path through the trees, bringing you round to some switchbacks.
This is how the day would pan out. A lot of mud, a lot of switchbacks and lots of falls. Well for me I would be rolling around in the mud a few times during the race, my first being on the corner coming round past the results van, giving the guys some entertainment. A slight oversteer you were down, next it was up and running ankle deep in mud.
My strong point in last races was off the bike and over hurdles carrying the speed all the way through. Today was a different story! The Hurdle’s felt massive in height and the mud was trying to suck your shoes off before you hopped over them. (lost two studs during the race)
I was starting to dip in form, feeling my energy being slowly sucked out of me. 4th lap in and I’m going backwards. I have no speed at hoping the hurdles, the mud is taking its toll as I pass the pit area. The ground is getting really churned up, turning into a mud soup in this area. Arms are starting to ache with all the steering trying to find a clean line and fighting the ruts in the mudbath.
Try and remember GCN Youtube video “Green is good Brown is bad”. Try to ride as many blades of grass as possible.
There were only a few places on the course to get some rest bite from the mud, on these areas you tried to get some speed up, before surfing the mud once again. So not really a place to rest up and recover.
There was a great little singletrack through the trees, nice and tight. Had to keep your line correct as were some nasty roots waiting to knock you off course and bring you down in a heap.
Manage to battle around and do 7 laps, being lapped twice by eventual winner Davie Lines. Second place went to Gary MacDonald and Neil Walker taking Third spot. 43rd place for me.
The last two laps for me were sheer survival, had the onset of the dreaded BONK!
The last two hurdles I just walked over them as I had zero energy. One final bend to the left, take the flag and now try to recover before I deck it.
Another lesson learned, have to eat more before my race. Though I had my pre-race breakfast sorted. (maybe more rolls & sausage) Conditions took more out of me than I expected.
All in all was a good experience and another great venue. As my cross course experiences grow I will know what to expect and how to ride certain conditions. Felt like a good course to ride, yeah a bit on the muddy side but it was relatively flat and no massive inclines to slog up. I enjoyed this course. Although could not shake the visions of broken bikes out my mind, I didn’t want to join them. So when I felt a few weird knocks and bangs from the rear of the bike I didn’t enjoy that. Maybe making me ease off a tad. Big thanks to Paul Zarb and his team of Mud Monsters for setting up a great race.
Had a good hard ride, the bike didn’t break so happy Bryan.