Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Angry Racing (by Lou)

So that season has come again; winter and with the weather comes cyclo x racing.

Despite my first few races being very different from my memories of cross from seasons past, with fast and dry conditions and sunshine for all three races I’ve done as opposed to the mud I’m much more accustomed to!

So my first race was held on a Wednesday evening at one of my favourite local course, Herne Hill. The course was as brilliant as usual with my team mate’s brother, Philip Glowinski, being the designer. As it was just a friendly race there was no gridding, so me and another girl, Corrine, made our way to start nice and early to get a front row start. The whistle went and the race was off, I managed to stay with Corrine for the opening lap but as soon as it got out of the technical stuff and onto the grass she was pouring on the power and got a gap on me, I sat tight and manged to pull her back on the technical stuff. Unfortunately I felt my tyre going squidgy and knowing it was a slow one hoped I’d have enough time before it went completely flat to get back to the grass in the track centre where I could borrow a wheel. As soon as we hit the grass Corrine was off again I tried to go with her but on one of the turns I almost came a cropper and realised if I wanted to keep racing I needed a new front wheel a few yells later a lovely man had a wheel for me, I put it in and as I jumped back on my trusty steed I felt the back rim hit the ground…I’d also got a rear flat. So that was race over for me, I had to go and repair one tube and put a new one in the other wheel so as I could ride home.

And so onto race 2, which was the first of the London League series held on the Sunday. I was really up for this race after not know exactly how I was going yet I wanted to really test myself. I got to the course nice and early and thought I’d have a recci before the youth race started, unluckily for me this was as the exact time the heavens decided to open and I got soaked!

By the time the race rolled round the sun was out and the course was nice and dry, this time there was gridding so I didn’t manage my front row start again. For the first lap I was first women but just as I came round the start/finish area Delia Beddis had caught me. However this was least of my worries as I had my old friend coming on, stomach cramps. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned these before but I used to get them all the time as a junior and I’m not exactly sure what they’re caused by. I couldn’t understand why I was getting them, I managed to come up with a pre race routine that I stopped me getting them, but obviosly this time I’d forgotten somethign from it. So as Delia passed me, despite knowing I should just slow up a bit let my stomach cramps die down, the racer in me came out and I fought to keep my lead. Unfortunately for me my stomach didn’t like this and before the end of the lap came round I was on my knees (actually crouched on the ground) by a bush trying to make the cramps subside…so there I was down from 40 something to virtually last (out of 90 or so riders) in the space of half a lap. Now this is why I don’t understand my stomach cramps, after I crouched there for a good 5/10 minutes until they subsided I was able to jump back on my bike and start beasting it again and this time they don’t return! I managed to make it back up to 67th and 4th Women…bleugh!

Onto to my final race to date, and as you can imagine I’m very frustrated I still hadn’t been able to truly see how I’m going and see what my race fitness is like. I rocked up to Hog Hill the next Sunday for the 2nd London League already in a grump after traffic and not in the mood to ride my bike, let alone race it. I went out to ride the course this put me in even more of a bad mood, it was hard…if the race wasn’t going uphill it was going down on really hardpacked, rutted mud.

I reluctantly signed on and then the time to race rolled round and the starters whistle went. It was like every cross race; manic from the start, with everyone wanting to get the best start possible. As all crit and cross racers know you can’t win a race from a good start but you can loose it with a bad one! All I know about the race, was I felt good and once I got settled I began to enjoy it trying every lap to get a little bit of air off the table top and push myself catch the guys in front. On top of actually enjoying my race with no problem I managed to bag first Women position in the race…always a bonus :)

So my next race will be the 4th round of the London League again at Herne Hill 2nd October and I’ll have added pressure as my girlfriend is gonna be watching :/ let hope I do well!