For the first time ever, I raced two cross races in two days last weekend. Day one was the Eastern Cross League in Wellwyn. I was hoping for some cheap points to help push me up the grid at the National Trophies, but this plan came unstuck when a bus load of Belgians turned up, en-route to the National Trophy in Derby the following day.
I started well (for me) without going too deep into the red, then did a really good second lap to move up to a quality group of four. We rode well together, if tactically, until two laps to go (of a 13 lap race) when the only Belgian in the group attacked.
I attacked on the next lap leaving my cohorts behind, which saw me cross the line in fourth place, and first Brit.
Euphoria quickly turned to discomfort when I got a hearty dose of cyclocross gut - crippling stomach cramps that only seem to come on after the one hour all-out effort that is a cross race.
Saturday night Ben Spurrier, Claire Beaumont and I travelled up to Derby for the National Trophy. It's fair to say we're a bit out of our depth at this level, but you won't improve staying at home in your comfort zone, right?
As I've still got no ranking points I was started on the back row of 60 riders, which meant it was going to be an uphill struggle. I managed to move up a bit on the first lap and was riding with guys like Darren Barclay (for a very short period) and Dave Haygarth (until he rolled a tub) which I was quite happy about. Anyway, it was all going well, and I was even beginning to think I'd escape getting lapped (a first in a Trophy), when it all came unstuck with two to go. I stacked hard on a descent, knocking my chain off, forcing me to run the next climb, losing a load of places in the process. Gutting.
I got lapped not long after, so just cruised round my last lap, trying not to get in people's way. Check out the full race report on British Cycling. The course in Derby didn't really suit me - too much braking, stop, start, sprint, brake etc etc - whereas I know what to expect at the next round in Ipswich, so I'm hoping for a better ride.