‘Cross diary 16: No sleep ’til Wakefield

September 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Posted in cycling | 6 Comments
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All week, Sunday’s forecast was RAIN. Proper ‘cross weather! We packed waterproofs and wellies. I tried (and failed) to source golf umbrellas. But on the day, it was bright and dry as we trundled round the perimeter of Thornes Park, asking car boot sale marshals if they knew where the race was. (They didn’t.)

The signing on table had run out of safety pins, so I did my bit for Yorkshire Cyclocross by donating most of my stash. Back out past the cake stall (which also featured a barbecue churning out bacon sandwiches, mesmerising the boys) and off to find the start of the kids’ race. Sheer numbers meant the under-8s got their own race, which was thrilling. Even more thrilling, they were allowed to go into the WOODS. Primo started slowly, then picked up the pace and started passing people, even sprinting for the line. We cheered him on like lunatics.


I rode round a kids’ football match to warm up, jumping on and off a few times in case I’d forgotten how to do it (you never know). The recce was fun; twisty stuff in the woods, an uphill drag, a steep bank, some grassy cornery bits, and a mad dash round the playing field. There were a lot of us on the start line this week; a bit of banter and a few nods and grins of recognition, then we were off. Going round on the flat, I remembered to Try Hard and passed a couple of people! Blimey! Then we were into the woods. I tackled a tree-rooty hairpin a bit too confidently, and fell off, instantly losing my hard-earned places. Bah! Back on the bike, I pursued a bloke with an unfortunately-placed mesh insert in the back of his shorts. (We ended up duelling throughout the race; I kept thinking ‘I’ve left him behind!’, only to find him mysteriously in front of me again.)

The long drag out of the woods led suddenly into DOWNabankandUPabank at speed. I got up the bank (HOORAY!) and charged off after Mesh Insert Man. The boys suddenly appeared on a corner, and yelled GO ON MUMMY! (This is why I’m grinning in the photo. I was doing #sufferface all the rest of the time, honest.) I undertook Mesh Insert Man on a corner (HA!) and held him off all round the playing field. Then into the woods again and, you guessed it, SPLAT. Noooooooo! Same corner. A kind spectator disentangled me from my bike while competitors bunnyhopped me. Mesh Insert Man disappeared with nary a backward glance.

I only managed another couple of laps before it was all over. The chap calling out the numbers said to me, ‘Did you enjoy that?’ It was BRILLIANT, I gushed. It was, too. Even though I’m still bumping along the bottom of the results list, I felt like I was racing properly. I got up a steep bank! I passed people! I tried really hard nearly all the time! Progress. And I have the bruises to prove it.

[British Cycling report and pictures here]

Thanks as ever to @spandelles for bike fettling, child wrangling and sausage sandwich distribution. You’re a hero.

Also lovely to meet @nik_tweet who STEAMED past me at about 617mph and came home First Lady. Excellent stuff!


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  1. This sounds so fun! Even the bruises bit. Maybe not the mesh insert bit, though. So glad you’re writing about you CX exploits. I’m having loads of fun reading about it.

    • Thank you for reading! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Hoping to provide a bit of a vicarious CX experience for you… 😉

  2. […] how *I’m* doing. That corner was quite good! Look, I got up that bank! I’m gonna get you, Mesh Insert Man! And so on. But bring people I actually know into the equation, and I become despondent. The […]

  3. […] Wakefield: Stop falling off on the DAMN singletrack. […]

  4. […] laps later, the chain jumped off for the third time and jammed solid. DNS. Never mind! I thought. Wakefield next week; I like Wakefield. But the Gods of Snot laughed at my mortal aspirations, and sent down a […]

  5. […] Here in Yorkshire, the women scare me more than the men do. In ‘cross races, I’m generally battling it out with Mesh Insert Man at the back of the field; my female competitors have left me for dead in the first lap. Going out […]

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