I've got modest ambitions for the 2010-11 cyclocross season — to stop getting lapped, and to start finishing in the top 30.
No 13 — unlucky for some —British Cycling National Trophy 2010 Round 1, originally uploaded by Dave Haygarth.
I'm pleased to say I achieved both those goals in the first National Trophy at Abergavenny, finishing in 30th position, 6mins and 47secs behind the winner Paul Oldham. That's a big time gap, but crucially, it was less than a lap.
Racing at this level is so much harder than local league stuff and every corner, ever straight and everything in between is a battleground where you're either trying to overtake or being overtaken. It's brutal, but so much fun. I had a good first lap: starting from sixth row on the grid, I narrowly avoided a start straight pile-up that brought down Nick Craig, and moved up a load of positions by being an absolute git on the first few corners. By the end of lap one I was toast though and it took me another two or three laps to recover, by which time I'd lost another few places. I then set about reeling people in, eventually catching the guy who was in 30th at the bell. I didn't know where I was at the time, so I just buried myself trying to catch the next rider, 10secs ahead.
I crossed the line more exhausted than I've been all season, a good workout. I only found out the result this morning — a great start to a Monday. Top 30 is important as that is where you start getting points, and points mean a better gridding position next time. So instead of starting on the sixth row, I should be on the fourth row, making that first lap slightly easier, meaning I won't have to go so deep into the red, meaning I'll be able to maintain the effort for longer. That's the theory at least. Roll on Ipswich and round two, I can't wait!
Both photos here are by Dave Haygarth who has moved up to the Vets this year — I'm pleased as it means he's stopped beating me, and started getting some great photos of me racing. There are more on ukcyclocross.com