Round Drie (3) Of Super Quaich Series.
Alarm beeps away, awaken to the sight of heavy rain and strong winds. Another fine morning in Scotland, Sunday 7th February. Say a little prayer to the cycling gods, ask for the weather to turn down a notch for the race in Kirkaldy today.
Arrive at Beveridge Park, after ninety minutes of battling the rain and surface water on the M8. Forth Road Bridge is still intact and open for cars, no luck HGV dudes you have to find an alternative route today.
Don the waterproofs and cycle up to sign on, arrive at the tent as the “B” racers are just coming over the line. I replied to Kevin Pugh on facebook and said he should be in with a great chance for a podium today. Low and behold I hear that the second rider to cross the line is, in fact, Kevin Bloody Pugh! Great result Kev.
First rider home in “B” race was David Murdoch, followed by Kev P then third place went to Marin Steele, good result lads. Great race for the ladies, Erika Allen with the top step on the podium, Lindsay Branston in the second spot with third being taken by Mireille Captieux.
“A” Racers Get Stripped Your UP!
After getting halfway to the start line, I remember I have left my bloody helmet in the car, DOH! Mad dash back to the car, mad dash to catch up with my personal Photographer/ Fanclub/ Team Manager Victoria. Last race was on the white stuff, this race is on the brown stuff.
Manage to make it to the start grid in time. Adjust my tyre pressure, while fiddling with the front tyre, the front of the race is off and sprinting. Shit, shit, shit!. The sixth attempt later I get left foot clipped in. Now to catch up with the bunch while they tackle the road climb. Make up a few places, then off the bike, run with the bunch around the first right bend taking us onto the mud/grass. Continue running downhill, hang a long left taking you back up the hill we all just waddled down. Yip more running on the cards, run the hill. It’s like a bloody cross-country race. Taking a few places as I run, get to the top of the hill and I am sure I am blocking people behind me with my bike still on my shoulder (race tactics or just being a twat?) After four hundred metres of running up/down hills, I eventually get on the bike.
Next section was rather good, nice big open straights looking for some firm ground making things slightly easier on the tiring body. This took you downhill, around a long right-hand bend, under the canopy of a group of trees. Hanging on the edge of control for 90% of the downhill section, back off the bike and run up to McComisky Mound. This was the main area for spectators as you probably could see 95% of the course from this vantage point. Onto another slippery off-camber section, ending with a tight left-hander shooting you downhill into some of the softest parts of the course.
Sludge Straight, took you to the hurdles, the hop just before each hurdle was very deep mud, (tried to steal my shoes every lap I swear). It was always a bit of a relief to come away with a pair of shoes still covering my ever soggy socks. Head for the tall tree, turn right and then it was to tackle the snaking S bends, look for some green grass to get you out of the ever deepening mud as you wind through the trees. With the hardest part yet to come, dismount the bike, run 50-60 meters in 2-3 inches of thick mud, hang an 180-degree turn, run the same distance in the even deeper mud. Fair play to Katie Carmichael, I was having a little battle with her for most the race, she managed to ride all these parts I ran, superb effort.
Eventually, the mud was done, back onto the solid tarmac. Cross the line for an utter tough first lap, start the hill climb and it feels so good, one of the only places weirdly you feel you’re getting it easy.
One more lap, I’m dying. Small, horrible voice in my head is laughing and telling me to pull over and discard my timing chip. I start to listen, the closer I get to the line the louder the voice gets and makes sense. Cross the line, I pull over. Gather my thoughts, shut the little horrible voice out. Throw my leg back over the bike and I’m back in the race. The first battle won, now to take it one mucky lap at a time.
58 minutes and 7 laps of mud, running in mud and two falls in the mud I take the flag and cross the line. Absolutely drained and pleased at the same time as I managed to fight back against the part of me wanting to chuck it. To have another DNF for the second race in a row, one being my own fault would have been utter crap.
Final placing was 67th. I was 63rd in September when it was a more or less the same route but a different beast altogether. Both races organised by Jon McComisky and his band of mud monster have been super slick, he has excelled again with this race.
Davie Lines being consistent again and taking the win, Sean Flynn second and Struan Pryde bringing home third. Anne Ewing taking the win for the woman, Elizabeth Adams coming over the line in second. With Katie Carmichael taking third. Excellent results folks.
Having worked, organised and set up all sorts of National and International sporting events, I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into planning, setups and de-rigs. Working from dawn till dusk mostly in crap weather. The Super Quaich series has been really well thought through. Small things like the added scrim, makes us amateurs feel a bit more like a Pro for an hour. Massive thanks to all that have worked their butts off, so we riders can turn up and wreak havoc on their local parks.
Next up is Final Round at Dig In At The Doc.
Thanks to the Scottish Cyclocross Fickr page as used a few from their pool of pictures, Click the flickr image to go check out more of the race.