2014 == cyclocross!
So far, I’ve managed three races in three weekends – Callander Park, Strathclyde Country Park, and the Doonbank Trofee. They’ve each been very different.
As is usual, I didn’t manage terribly much in the way of pre-season training – a couple of longer 40 mile rides, but mostly just Arthurs Seat loops. Doing CX races is the best practise for CX races anyhow.
Callander Park was a fast and dry race – a lovely course. I seemed to gain on more technical secions and lose out on plain old ‘pedalling hard’ which was fine since its easier to gain fitness than skillz. My slowest lap was 25% longer than my best, so I didn’t manage the consistency that I’m aiming for, but at least I didn’t “blow up” like some previous races – mostly thanks to careful eating beforehand. Final result was 64th of 85 starters, 75th percentile.
Strathclyde Country Park was a damp squib. Punctured on lap two, having done 2 sighting laps and 1 race lap. I think I got a pinch flat on one the sleeping policeman. Regardless, DNF’ing for the first time was sobering and a let down. It made me realise that the upside of low tyre pressure (sligtly more grip) is not worth the cost (increased risk of puncturing) if puncturing spoils my whole day.
Yesterday was Doonbank Trofee race at Ayr. A grass, muddy course which reminded me of Strathclyde Country Park in 2011 – ie. a mudbath. I wasn’t feeling 100% so didn’t push too hard but still managed 20th out of 28 starters, 71st percentile. The course included some slippy downhill switchbacks which were challenging, and plenty of run ups. It was a good course, but unfortunately a bit too muddy for me to keep up any flow. I had to stop at one point to remove massive clumps of grass from the rear wheel – I wish I’d done that earlier because it