‘Cross diary 30: I plan my racing season

September 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Posted in cycling | 3 Comments
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So. This summer I’ve been Trying A Bit Harder, riding a (little) bit further and getting ever-so-slightly faster (downhill, at least). I’ve had 2-3 weeks of, er, tapering, due to a sudden bout of CBA*. But ‘cross season has started, so like all Proper Athletes, I’m formulating a structured, methodical plan of attack.

While I may have been busy PODIUMING over the summer, my sights are set somewhat more realistically for ‘cross. Last year, I was a newbie. My goals for the season were:

  1. Learn to remount (and, crucially, do it in an actual race);
  2. Come not-last at least once.

Avid readers will recall that I met both these goals, overhauling a 73-year-old in the final yards of one race and only getting my shorts caught on my saddle during one other. Therefore, throughout the season I set myself new, ongoing goals, including the following:

Rooty singletrack

  1. Overtake someone;
  2. Ride up steep banks without getting off;
  3. Get round corners without foot-dabbing;
  4. Stop falling off on the DAMN singletrack.

I’m still working on no. 4, but can report definite progress on the others. So this year my goals are more specific. I’m looking at the races I rode last year, and tailoring my plans to the individual courses. (I’ve provided handy links to the race reports from last year, so you can remind yourself of how utterly hopeless I was, for perspective.)

Keighley: Ride the water crossing instead of getting off. Ride up and down the banks without getting off. Ditto the steep descent with a 90 degree bend at the bottom. And the muddy bits. And the off-camber sections. Basically, try and stay on the bike more than 17% of the time.

Wakefield: Stop falling off on the DAMN singletrack.

Brighouse: Arrange lovely, relaxing family day trip to somewhere at the other end of the country.

Temple Newsam: Didn’t do this one last year. From looking at other people’s race reports, mostly SFOOTDS**. And get round the corners. And don’t knock anybody off.

Rapha Super Cross, Skipton: pray fervently that they have changed the course. If not, remember to remove clods of mud from back brakes while toiling over soggy grass. Try not to fall asleep on ground before having chance to hobnob with lovely delightful twitter people.

Alexandra PalaceRapha Super Cross, Ally Pally: Another new one. Steps: shoulder bike without concussing fellow competitors. Practise too-cool-for-school Laahndan raceface. See Skipton re. falling asleep.

Sheffield: Another new one. Find out where Sheffield is.

Heptonstall Fancy Dress: Never actually raced this one as always ill. Wash hands obsessively and refuse to breathe in for a week beforehand. Think up mind-blowingly ACE costume.

Todmorden: See Heptonstall, minus the fancy dress. No, sod it. I’ve missed this race 4 times due to illness (2 x winter, 2 x summer). If I actually get to race, I’ll wear the fancy dress to celebrate.

Sounds achievable, doesn’t it? Not too ambitious? True to form, I’m already hopelessly overexcited. This year I’ll be racing proudly in Here Come The Belgians colours, hoping I won’t be excommunicated for getting off and weeping on the cobbled climbs. The 8yo is an old hand, now, but this year marks the 5yo’s racing debut. @spandelles will reprise his role as pit crew-slash-supernanny-slash-psychotherapist. We’re going to smash it. Hup hup!

* Can’t Be Arsed

** Stop Falling Off On The Damn Singletrack

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3 Comments »

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  1. Entertaining, solid post! Let me(us) know about your costume choice. I need a good one for Spooky Cross…

    • Thanks for commenting (and reading)! Someone just suggested Prince, on twitter. Quite tempted…

  2. […] My ‘cross season didn’t exactly get off to a blistering start. Remember that water crossing at Keighley? I womanned right up and rode into it. My front wheel didn’t come out; I did a slow-mo faceplant, […]


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