Central CX League – Rd 11 – Hillingdon

Having been out the night before, enjoying the ‘off season’,Paul and I dragged ourselves out of bed to do Round 11 of the Central Cyclo-cross league. This seemed like a good way to get rid of the vodka based fuzzy head at the time.

On the drive over, I think I must’ve turned a nice shade of green; by the time we got to registration I had to go have a tactical chunder in the loos to make myself feel half human, and followed it up with a bag of salty crisps. #dietofanathlete :p

I watched Paul off, and walked around to get a few pics of him and scope out the course a little. Didn’t look tooooo bad, but then it’s difficult to tell with cross until you’re actually doing it. Flat bits can be deceptively slippy, and manageable short inclines become a bit of a nightmare when you stick a sharp turn at the top of it. Still, I like the challenge of my core strength and bike handling skills.

As Paul finishes his penultimate lap, he shouts to me to inflate my tyres more – letting too much air out, he has struggled with the mud. He has all but lost his voice and sounds a bit like he probably shouldn’t have raced!

So now the women go off at 13.03, as usual just after the 50+ Vet men. I’m towards the back of the pack (races are seeded), but I survey the competition and there seem to be a few relative newbies, so I fancy my chances not to come last. The gun goes, and I’m off to a reasonable start, managing to cling on to the back of the main pack. That is, until about 3 minutes in, when disaster strikes. I badly misjudge going from grass to gravel path and catch the wheel on the lip of the path. The next thing I know I’m off, hitting my head hard on the path and sliding along the path, under my bike. Thankfully there is a spectator nearby who comes over to check I am OK. He points out that my chain has jammed, and so I spend a few minutes fumbling to free it before taking a really, really deep breath and deciding to get back on. I’m shaking and possibly crying a little bit, and in less than 30 seconds I’m off again in a very unspectacular low-speed crash onto the other side – thankfully into a soft mud bank. I pick myself up, talk myself out of quitting, and get back on again. This time I take it slowly, having settled on the fact that my race is over but I can still get a decent work-out out of it. 

I continue about another 15 minutes of the course (cross races are 40 minutes long), even managing to catch a couple of the slower girls. However, the final nail is in the coffin, and I realise I have punctured. Paul has seen me get off, so I head over to him and duck under the tape, signalling the end of my race.

We leave without the homemade cheese butty I’ve been eyeing up in the tuck shop, despite Paul’s protests, as I definitely haven’t earnt it!

So not my day, but punctures happen, and if I will let my hair down and enjoy the off season… ;p At least I showed myself that I have the mental strength to get up and carry on, even when I’ve fallen hard. Just have to think of it as another war wound to add to the leg scar collection 🙂

Next CX race is in Milton Keynes in January, so here’s hoping that I fair better in that one!