Southend Crits, my second race of the Bank Holiday weekend, the last weekend of Summer. I didn't expect to get anything other than a good workout and when the likes of Dan Patten, James Millard and a back from Italy, back from winning a premiere calendar by 2.5mins, Alex Dowsett showed up, I knew a workout was absolutely the best I could hope for.
photo by Phil Jones
So it proved when the race split to pieces on lap one. Lap two was the fastest lap of Hog Hill I've ever done - 2mins 41secs, which equates to an average speed of 45kph. It hurt, bad, and only the best survived. Needless to say, I slunk my way round the course at back of the bunch.
I felt stronger as the race went on (at least, in comparison to the other riders off the back with me) and had a few gos to escape but none came to anything. There goes a glorious 25th place!
Check out Phil Jone's photos of the race on Flickr, he's been playing with off camera flash and the results are a pretty spectacular step up from his earlier stuff. Lovely stuff.
Yesterday was a nicer day. Me, Ben Spurrier (manager of Prologue Bikes in Sheen) and Claire Beaumont (marketing manager at Evans Cycles) went out on the cross bikes. I didn't realise we were going off-road, so put my standard road wheels in, complete with 23mm race tyres inflated to 120psi, which ended up feeling pretty sketchy when we hit Wimbledon Common and then the dirt trail that goes around Richmond Park. It was frightening for a bit, but then the sketchiness became fun and I was able to make the most of it. I didn't even puncture, unlike Ben! It was my first ride on the new Cannondale crosser and it felt great. It's a little bit shorter than last year's Focus which adds a bit more control in the technical stuff over the old bike.
Riding off-road on what is essentially a totally unsuitable tool for the job was actually pretty cool. The speed you can get a cross bike up to in a really short period of time is amazing - ridiculous in fact. Why didn't I ride my cross bike all summmer?
First cross race of the autumn is this Wednesday at Herne Hill. Assuming I can stick some tubs on my wheels in time of course.