On Sunday 18th November I headed to Stourport for my 3rd CX race (and probably last race of my rather short 2018 season). 

By now I’m a bit more comfortable with the pre race routine so jumped on the course for a warm up lap as soon as I could. Immediately I felt that familiar wave of trepidation came over me but as quickly as it came it went and by lap 2 I was in the zone, ready to roll.  

The course wasn’t too technical, which suited me but it was very muddy in places and the boards seemed a lot higher than normal!? I’d finally mastered the dismount in training so this would be my first chance to put it into practice in a race. A few dreadfully slow attempts should’ve put me off but I was committed, PMA!

Overall, I was definitely feeling more confident this time and rather than politely joining the back of the gridding I nipped in to the second row as soon as I heard ‘ok and everyone else line up…’ 

The fast tarmac start was like a dream come true and I was right up there for.. um.. at least a minute, well until we hit the grass anyway. Then I watched the leaders glide away and it wasn’t long before I was on my own. 

First lap, cleared the boards, mastered the mud and feeling good!! Then on lap 2 disaster! The low sunlight meant I took a really bad line through the muddy section and hit a rut. I hit it hard. Cue a hysterical ‘you’ve been framed’ style somersault into the mud!!! First thought ‘nooooooo did anyone see that???’, second thought, ‘Ouch, my gammy arm’. Yep I bashed it up! It seemed to take me forever to straighten my bike and get back on but I did and I rode the next lap on angry adrenaline, unfortunately I’d lost time and lost a place but I rode every muddy section and I stayed upright.

The remaining laps were the usual blur. The boards felt higher and the mud muddier every single lap but the shouts of encouragement, lots by name, kept me pushing on. By my last lap there was no one around so I probably could’ve sat up and cruised but it was never going to happen with the words ‘go hard or go home’ still ringing in my head. I crossed the line in 10th place. Happy as a pig in poop even with an oozing arm. 

So it looks like that’s a wrap for my 2018 cyclocross debut and I’m chuffed to bits with 3 races in the bag. I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time. Amazing to think I’ve still only ridden my CX bike less than 10 times (and 3 of those have been races)!?! 

My hands are no longer red raw from gripping on for dear life and I’ve finally mastered the dismount so that must be progress right??

What an incredibly exhilarating (and bloomin hard) sport cyclocross is but it’s definitely got me hooked. I can’t wait to do it all again in 2019!

Thanks so much to Michelle and Mark for being the best CX buddies ever 🙂

Right then, I’d probably best go and clean my bike… 😜