‘Cross diary 20: And there let us Waddow…December 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Posted in cycling | 1 Comment
Tags: beginner, biking, cross, csp, cycle sport pendle, cycling, cyclocross, diary, north west cyclocross, nwcca, race, racing, waddow hall, women
I’d been worrying all week about the ice. But Friday was wet and warm, and everything started to thaw. Saturday brought Cycle Sport Pendle’s CX event at Waddow Hall: much-anticipated as it included a women-only race. Our OWN race! Just for US. I was so excited, I even had a dream about it:
We were out of the house at a hitherto uncharted time, to get there for the women’s race at 10am. The satnav looked like it was dumping us in the middle of nowhere, but – uncharacteristically for ‘cross – the entrance to the venue was signalled with two enormous orange CSP flags. We parked and immediately found @trio25, @nosila107, @waterrat77, @millsphysio and @makepiece, all in good spirits (apart from @makepiece, who was ill but riding anyway #badass). The course recce sobered us up a bit, though: a long push up an endless hill, zigzags round the tape, a singletrack climb and KER-RAZY descent, a bit more zigzagging and downhilling, and an uphill drag of a finishing strait complete with soft mud and plenty of leaves. Ooh. No resting up, then. I took off most of my layers, ate half a sandwich and went to line up.
According to event sponsor Cheryl King’s blogpost, there were 21 of us on the start line. Wow. You should have seen us, going up the long hill the first time! We were dead enthusiastic. I was running in and out of competitors, trying to make up places. @waterrat77 even shouldered her bike! Naturally, subsequent ascents got slower and slower. I managed a bit of a jog for the @SportSunday photographer, once. Blimey.
It was a tough course, even before it had got all churned up (the main race was a fearsome grind through deep, cloggy mud: @spandelles described it as ‘the Somme’). Having no faith in my bike handling ability, I ran down the singletrack every time (despite @crossjunkie yelling RIDE IT at me. Sorry…). Downhills were leaps of faith, as my brakes had pretty much given up by the second lap; afterwards I realised that I’d hauled on them so hard, I’d pulled the straddle cables right through the adjusters.
On the final lap, I tried in vain to hold off @waterrat77 and @trio25, who were gaining on me, inexorably, like the truck in Duel). They lapped me going up the finishing strait. NOOOO! In a final, desperate burst of effort, I unlapped myself, managing to pass @trio25 just before the line. I got off and couldn’t talk for about five minutes. How it should be, I guess.
We hung around washing bikes, pushing Segundo on the swing and chatting to people before Primo’s race. It was a bit later than we’d expected, and quite a long time since breakfast, looking back… He set off in high spirits and rode really well: running up the hills, passing people, getting back on quickly, cornering like a pro.
I chased him round the field in true #CXMum style, yelling encouragement, grinning from ear to ear at my brilliant boy. When I caught up with him, to my astonishment, he was crying with rage. I HATE THIS! THEY MADE IT ALL MUDDY ON PURPOSE! I’M GOING TO COME LAST! He made it up the finishing strait, pushing the bike (like most of his competitors). As he went over the line, the bell rang. Me: Come on Primo! That means there’s only one more lap! You can do that! You’ve been riding so brilliantly! I’ve never seen you ride this well! Everyone’s pushing! Everyone’s struggling! Him: I HATE CYCLOCROSS! I’M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN, EVER! But he carried on… and he ran up the hill, and got back on, and zigzagged down with aplomb, looking MURDEROUS the whole time.
It took a good fifteen minutes for him to calm down afterwards. The bonk: of course. Should have realised. We force fed him isotonic drink and Shot Blox (the only thing he would eat: I’M NOT HUNGRY!). By the time we got down to the sign-on to give in his number, he was looking happier. Woman collecting numbers: Did you enjoy that? Him: Yes! Well, more or less… He was really chuffed with his prize (a Hope bottle). The Girl Guides were doing an amazing job producing hot food for next to no money. Primo inhaled a baked potato and a chip butty, and normal service was resumed.
Hat tip and enormous thanks to @sparkieturner , @crossjunkie and all at CSP for putting on a brilliant day of racing. Best ‘cross event we have been to, bar none. And thanks for your vision and faith in putting on a women-only race; really hope this will pave the way for other organisers to take this route.
- Terrific pictures of the women’s race and main race from C King Images on Flickr
- Comprehensive writeup with pictures and results on the North West Cyclocross Association blog
- Enormous set of great pictures from all races on SportSunday’s site