Hemel is still fresh in my mind from last season…..the physiological scaring still quite raw from a hugeous crash and major hurdle-bluffing smash up making me look like a proper cock-womble right in front of my daughter:
But push this to the back of my mind I did as I struggled on knowing this would not happen again….obviously due to the high jump sized regulatory installed sponsored hurdle clothing….did I mention these….
Hemel is a great venue, some serious climbing and the inclusion of the infamous carousel…..think Nurbergring but without the Schnitzel and black bitch but more course tape and unpadded wooden stakes. Perfect opportunity to hone the cornering skills as when this kiddy gets moist….it livens things up a little.
Off the back of Round 3, the flat-A-thon lung buster at Leighton, I came with a plan…well not really a plan, basically just to be a little more mindful of the people I’m actually racing. After a few decent starts I’ve tended to make up a fair few places and be in the mix with the top 20. These certainly are not the riders i’m racing therefore need to consider the long game and let them go and not try and hit the red out the park and keep up. This destroyed me at Round 3.
Course: Very similar to previous years, climbing shortly after the start, get dizzy at the carousel then some twisties and recovery downhill through to the hurdles then sweep down fast to the finish
Gridding: Thommo 38 / Kevvo 60
Results: Thommo 35th / Kevvo 38th
Bants: 4/5 – Awesome support from Team Payne / Findlay
FYI: Shoe game was strong in this round. Kevvo smashed out Gire Blue Steel mo-fos….Thommo rocked the In-Yor-Face Orangle fluro. Maximus Kicks !!!
So off to round 3. Location was Leighton Buzzard, Cedars school to be precise, hosted by LBRCC. LBRCC are a local club that have only been around maybe 5 years in strength, as you can imagine to host a venue for the CX league is a pretty impressive.
I wasn’t really looking forward to Round 3, last year I was away for this race, but rumours / stories of the condition and lack of hills certainly made it unappealing to me. But rock up we did in full force. Thats a blatant lie as it was simply Kevvo and Thommo, still no sign from the other VB contingent (CrashyGuy / Keeno and McManus-O) Story to come ref Scottish contingent racing – clicky clicky.
- Facility / Location – Good, ample parking, toilets and all good registration
- Course – Flat……maybe totalling 10 metres of elevation
- Hurdles – Still fecking high….two sets…yep 4 hurdles !
- BPM – Fecking high
- Gridding – Thommo 38 / Kevvo 68
- Performance – Thommo – poor – average (48th) / Kevvo – exceptional (44th)
- Keeno / CrashyGuy / McManuso – DNS
The league was off and running…..literally running…..no jumping those gargantuan hurdles. Ergo-ipso-facto came Round 2, hosted by Luton CC at the MK Bowl.
Still with fresh ground in muscle fatigue from Round 1 (I still coudn’t work out if Round 1 was HARD or it was simply due to the fact that I hadn’t average 184 BPM for 40 minutes since Feb and it was generally just a shock to the lungs) we moved to our local venue: the MK Bowl. (I’ve actually seen some quality bands at the MK Bowl, Robbie Williams, M People, Paul Young to name none of them) but its a great venue for MTB / Crit and CX.
Hosted by Luton CC, it was 1 o3 3 rounds to be held at the popular pain cavern, and it didn’t disappoint. The start was long, on gravel, which immediately invited the over zealous to dig in and lay a smack down with a wattage bazooka from the whistle. It was fast. Then as with every path in the bowl is shortly went steep, straight up the sides of the bowl where many a scotch egg laden picnic had been consumed watching some of the fantastic groups hosted at the venue.
The course then winds back down the off camber embankment, and up and down the narrow forest area which hugs the circumference of the bowl. The climbs are short but brutal, many opting for dismount and run, others opting for power grind up the dirt ascents to pop out in to the bowl area itself.
It was a good track, I’ve raced there maybe 8 times but still don’t think I’ve raced the same CX twice. Round 2 saw the first race for Kevvo, fellow VB rider due to an awful case of haemorrhoids for Round 1. He came out fighting, due to a distinct lack of previous positions Kevvo’s gridding was awful, virtually starting from the middle of Caldelcote Lake. But a great start saw him eating up the field…..and course. 24ft of course tape to be exact wrapped around his rear mech on Lap 3.
However decent finishes to Thommo and Kevvo in 34th & 60th respectively. Great first round for Kevvo. Some great images below.
Also we saw the first introduction of the VB Passion Wagon and Dolly…and a rare sighting of JK….not racing though ;o(
- Location – Great
- Course – Good mix of uppy and downy plus technical tree dodging
- Gridding Thommo 39 / Kevvo 80
- Results: Thommo 34th / Kevvo 60th
- Bants 3/5 – Mainly due to dolly !
With a summer hangover of semi-serious racing in the Oxford Summer league the post back-to-school holiday blues only means one thing….start of the CX season. Our local league is one of the best in the country; the Central CX League. It consists of circa 15 races across a 3.5 months season, with a variety of venues as far north as Corby and South as Heathrow. The league is mostly organised by a chap called Keith Perry who drives his heart and sole into it to make it what it is. (Most of the images used from the races are from Keith), who in addition to organises and manages the league….rides in it….and also takes piccies. Thanks to Keith Perry for the images
Historically the league always kicks off Round 1 at RAF Halton, this brings an immediate smile to your muddy face with the inclusion of brass bands, beer tents and short bibs and jerseys. However 2017 mixed things up a little, the first round was Letchworth. The venue was good, a decent PA system, efficient sign on and good parking. Summary points below:
- Course: Equal amounts of climbing, descending, long straights and a few twisties.
- Hurdles: Fucking huge – 2017 season saw the introduction of Nazi style regulation height (40cm) hurdles
- Bants – 2/5
- FYI: Equipe Velo turned up in full force which was disappointing….another 6 gridding places lost
- Gridding: Thommo 28 (yes I was a little surprised at 28 / 102)
Thanks to Keith Perry for the images