National Trophy – cyclocross

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Alan Jarrett 3 weeks ago.

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  • #1522684

    Alan Jarrett
    Participant

    Great write-up Tim. Sounds exciting if not controlled chaos!

  • #1022314

    Neale Napier
    Participant

    Thanks. That’s a really interesting insight into the world of cyclocross. It does sound like fun, in a crazy sort of way 🙂

  • #1022313

    Tim Johnston
    Participant

    I thought i would write a few words about my experiences at round 3 of the National Trophy.

    I have been racing in the London and South East CX league for 4 seasons now but have never made the step up to national level. However, with a round of the National Trophy being held at Ardingly this year i thought it was time to get involved. Although i am usually in or around the top ten at a league race i was under no illusions about how i would do. It was more about the experience than where i finished.

    The atmosphere was very different to a league race and so was the course. Unfortunately i missed the e-mail telling us that the course could only be pre-ridden between 10:30am – 11:15am, so i went in to the race blind. This was the start of a sequence of failures. The grid was called, and to my surprise i was on the 5th row. For those that don’t follow cross, the closer to the front of the grid the better. This can be absolutely critical in some races. As the commissaire shouted 3 minutes to go i suddenly realised i had forgotten to put my timing chip on (we don’t do this at league races). Failure number 2. Andy had very kindly offered to take my outer clothing at the start line and pit for me. So he sprinted to my car to get my chip, however, even Usain Bolt couldn’t have got to my car, found the chip and got back to me in under 3 minutes. Not knowing what to do i decided to race and plead with the commissaires after. The whistle went and it was go time. Now, if you have never been in a cross race before it is very hard to explain what the start is like. Chaos doesn’t even come close! As usual though, after a lap of bumping, barging, cursing and crashing things lined out. The course was super fun. A mix of grass, gravel, steep downs, a big bank to run/grovel up, stairs and a tricky, muddy off camber section. Within one lap, the mud was so clogged in my shoes and pedals, i had already lost the ability to clip in to my pedal and it cost me a number of places. I have no idea how others were managing it?? Anyway, the race played out and i ended up a disappointing 41st (92 entered). Although where i finished was not why i entered, being a bit of a competitive so and so i was pretty gutted. It wasn’t until 20 minutes after the race, when cleaning my bike off, i realised that 4 spokes had come loose pulling my rear wheel over causing the tyre to rub on the chain stay. Failure 3. I have no idea how a true, stiff, non rubbing rear wheel would of improved my performance but it most certainly didn’t help! Anyway, frustrations to one side, it was an amazing day and a fantastic, though humbling, experience.

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