I would like to take these first few words to pay tribute to a truly outstanding cyclo-cross rider; Amy Dombroski, who sadly lost her life earlier this week. Before the start of the Senior race a moments silence was held in remembrance of Amy who died whilst training in Belgium. Although I didn’t know Amy personally I have seen her race on many occasions whilst out racing in Belgium myself, it is for sure a huge loss to the to cycling world and my thoughts go out to her family and friends. RIP Amy.
I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and it was straight down to the kitchen to put the kettle on for a brew.
I awoke at 8am to the buzzing of my alarm clock, although that did include a few presses of the snooze button to get those all important extra race day minutes of sleep in. I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and it was straight down to the kitchen to put the kettle on for a brew. Whilst the kettle was boiling I had time to get the golden syrup porridge in the microwave. A good breakfast is essential on race day, to start your metabolism and to give you the fuel you need to get your day started.
Once I’d finished my breakfast and chilled out on the sofa for an hour it was time to load the car up with all the bikes and tools ready to set off to Allestree park for round 5 of the SRAM NDCXL. I even packed the jet wash! A little optimistic I know but us cross riders can but dream for mud this early in the season.
I like to get there nice and early and warm up with the Veterans and Women as it gives me plenty of time to check the course out. Ashfield also had several riders in that race: Paul, Ian and Mandie so I like to cheer them on whilst also being on pit duty for them. Both Paul and Ian had brilliant rides in their race. Mandie also came through the field strongly after having mechanical trouble on the start line.
Once I’d finished cheering on and pitting for my team mates it was time for me to get back out on the course and see if the conditions out on the track had changed at all. They had quite dramatically considering how hard and fast the course was earlier it had now become quite greasy in places but I decided to stick with the same tyre pressures as earlier as I didn’t feel as if there was much to be gained be lowering the pressures slightly for increased grip.
As the race came to a start, I found myself lining up on the front row of the grid in, which is always a great tactic to get the best start possible. I got off to an average start and found myself in around 20th position going in to the first corner and worked my way up during the first lap.
After the lap one, I found myself sitting in group with two other riders: Bruce and Joe both who are also under 23’s. It was stuck like that with us three sitting in 10th, 11th and 12th respectively and we worked well together throughout the entire race.
We stayed together until the last lap where the pace started to rise slightly. We came round to the wooded section of the course which was marked with several slippery roots poking out of the ground. This is where I made a big mistake, my wheel lost traction on one of the roots and I crashed hard on the ground.
I found myself battling to hold on to 12th place
I got up as swiftly as possible gave the bike a quick check over and off I went. I found myself battling to hold on to 12th place with two other riders who had come up from behind me. I eventually lost out and ended up finishing in 14th place.
I crossed the line then pulled over to the side of the course, collapsed and lay down on the grass totally pooped! I had truly emptied the tank in today’s race.
I was slightly disappointed with my finishing position as I know I could have finished higher.
On reflection though, I have to be pleased with how I rode throughout the race, I gave a very strong performance and battled hard until I made the mistake. We will always learn from our mistakes. Without them we won’t become stronger and better riders.
Next weekend I wont be riding the National Trophy in Abergavenny, instead I will be staying local and racing the NDCXL at Alfreton Park on the Saturday.