Sunday Morning, Getting Cross This Weekend.
This Sunday it’s a drive East through to Callender Park, Falkirk.
Great little location, haven’t been to the park before but have visited the Kelpies. Also done a brutal ride on my road bike along the cycle path from Glasgow to Falkirk Wheel. (Do not do this! the path has more craters on it than a teenagers face).
Do the usual drill – park car, hunt for the sign on area, get a timing chip. Number 437. Return to the car, administer acupuncture on my fingers while safety pinning my number onto the sleeve. Then usher little family in the right direction to the course. Though boys are happy to stop and visit the play park on the way.
There is a race on just now with the V40s hammering the course.
Watching closely as how the guys are riding the course. Haven’t been to this race before.
Try to get the lay of the land.
I have only raced a few Cross races so far. Always amazed at how the course builders and planners have the vision to turn a park into a race course, armed with only tape and some pins.
Callender Park is no exception, from what I see every rideable bit of grass will be in play today (well not all as it’s a big park). With a Photographic eye, there will be some amazing images captured in this location.
Once the battle of Grey Hair is done (sorry guys I will be there soon) the course is open for a little spin.
First up is to have a bash at the mighty Oak Tree Turn.
Tick, I can manage it. We’ll see how I get on when I have riders in front and hopefully a few behind. Next to have a go at is the stairs, they’re not massive steps probably could be taken two at a time. Until your legs are dead, then you have to drag them along with your bike up the four steps.
The Course is looking good and held up well with all the racing that it’s seen today. 477 riders I think I seen posted somewhere. From under 8s all the way to V50. An excellent number of riders show up. #CrossIsHere.
One thing I didn’t want to see after a terrible time of it at Battle Of Balloch is the switchbacks (Serpent). Yup, they have shown up again today. Ah well, just have to work on it before the race. Tyres are more deflated today, so hopefully will help with grip.
Warm up is done, Head for the Startline.
Sitting mid-pack, we are being held and giving the briefing from British Cycling (pushing, biting is forbidden, keep flirting to a minimum etc).
Start as usual. “Gladiators Ready, On my next whistle you shall scrap it out” Beepbeeeeeep! We’re off.
A nice long bit of path to get our speed up, then we dive into the right, onto the course. Love these mad dashes for the hole shot. I will never be in contention, but I love this frantic start to the race.
Best start to a race for ages, no issues with feet/pedals getting together. Taking positions too.
First time up Oak Tree Turn was tricky due to the volume of riders, just have to pick your line and hope it’s a good one. Made it unscathed and ride down the bank heading along then up a slight muddy incline. Hang a left, down a small lump into long section taking you up to Stairs. Still quite bunched so same again, pick a line that will work and stick with it. All seems to go well, up and over stairs keeping with guys in front.
Next came my favorite bit of the course. I could have ridden that bit all day. Fast downhill section, if you timed it right you could get a couple little jumps in if you had the balls and space.
Then you were taking in the climbs, up to the highest point in the park. Had to be careful on the left-hander, seen a few people deck it here as the grass was getting slippery (slippery slope). Next to come was a bash down through some trees with a cool little S bend, allowing you to keep some speed going along to my nemesis the Serpent. Manage to come down unscathed and never lost too much distance, Result. Hopefully, I can keep this up.
Now came the fast section of the course, pretty flat with a few fast bends if you got them right taking you along the front of Callender House. Turn right, onto a little slog up to the top of the Driveway of Callender House, 180° turn and fire back down the gravel path to scoot past the line and commentary team.
Lap 1 complete.
Turns out I have 9 more laps to complete until I see the checkered flag waved and the hour of racing complete. I am knackered but had a great race. Had a good old battle with someone from Forza Race Team, where we take a position on our strong part of the course then lose it on the weaker area, mine is the corners again. Battling back and forth one falling on one lap at Serpent, then it’s the others turn to fall on the next lap. We are toe to toe until I manage to pick up the pace in the last few laps and break the elastic. With my pace increased I manage to pick off a few people who are tiring.
Aero In A Cross Race
Hear that Davy Lines is about to come through and take the win, keep pushing and get through the line before him so I can stay on the course and try to improve my position, “Last Lap Bryan” look around to see I have gapped the people behind. It’s all about the people ahead. Chase them down, manage to gain a position heading into the Slippery slope, need to create a gap so I can take it a bit easier through switchbacks. The plan is going well, all I have to do is keep the pace up. I pedal around past the house, up and down the finishing area and will always be happy to see the black and white flag get waved.
Time to relax. Race complete. Great race today, also great encouragement all around the course with a good few people shouting for me. Cheers folks. Didn’t think I so many friends haha.
My first Scottish Cyclocross Series went well. Being in the Seniors race you would think that this was the hardest race of the day, that would be totally unfair on the rest of the categories. One thing I have noticed in the few races, doesn’t matter your age or gender there is always a good race to be had in Cyclocross. With me being beaten by a good few people in the other categories on previous races. So all categories are a tough old fight and have the claim to be the hardest race.
Once the mud and sweat had dried, it was time for the results. A quick hop on https://www.mylaps.com/en/events/1213814 to find out I was 51st. Not bad but not the best was hoping for top half of the field. More work on the cornering to be done.
Big thanks to all the set-up Monkeys and organizational Chimps, who take their time out to help put a race on. Davie Lines, Franco Porco with their team of helpers you have done a great job and have put a lot of pressure onto the rest of the series events I think. The only thing I feel it’s a bit shite for the winners. As by the time they go to collect prizes there seems to have been a mass exodus of the park.
A Relaxing Cycle
TwoWheelArmy will have a few weeks R&R until the next race at Strathclyde Park.
So will miss a couple of races, though I will be on the watt bike, also working on slow bike handling skills if I want to make my way up the rankings.
Look forward to the Facebook explosion of pictures from up and coming races.