Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team

London Cyclo Cross League Rnd 7 08/11/09

Graeme Spreadbury

After the fun of the last “Cross” race I done down in East Grinstead, I though it’d be fun to head down to Fowlmead Country Park near Sandwich; Kent to tackle another one.

This time it was round 7 of the London Cyclo Cross League. Dad came along again to support. This time however, unlike last, it was gonna be wet and muddy.

I registered in the visitor centre, now I’ve joined British Cycling I now have a race license and used it. 1st time in 15 years since I last used one. I got my number and went back to the car to wait. It was pretty cold down there but still warm enough for shorts. Quick change under a blanket in the car and it was time for a recee lap.

The course wasn’t that fast and had a thin film of slippery grey/black mud over the top of it. Not surprising as this place used to be a colliery. I came back to the start covered in mud, great another hour of this!

I lined up near the back at the start, looking around I think I was the only MTB on the grid. The start was along some concrete road, up round a corner and onto the grass. Someone went man down here and everyone bunched which made the next steep down hill section a bit tricky with everyone jockeying for position. I went for the outside which turned into the inside at the bottom of the hill, so just had to hold and hope the Nobby Nics stuck.

Next was a drag up the hill through some trees and over the tarmac track at the top. This was quite muddy on the grass and got worse as the race went on. A short but steep drop into the wood then some slipping and sliding through the double track out onto a tarmac section at the back of the course. I tried to slipstream people along here, but seeing as I was on the MTB it was hard to get low enough. At the end of this section there was a bump onto the rough muddy stuff through some puddles and a sharp left turn into some singletrack that was quite grippy and hard packed considering the rest of the course. The MTB was ace through here as it came into its own. Soon after this it was into another muddy section and back out onto the tarmac track.

At the end of this there was a large mound with a steep entry that was at a 90o right angle to the course. On the recee lap I sessioned this and decide fast entry and a low gear was the way top go. The 1st couple of laps there were always people around me, jumping off and walking it so I had nowhere to go, however on lap 4 I managed to clean it. Down the other side was slippy with a tight right then left hand turn. I made loads of time up on the obstacle and every time I looked back had easily dropped the racers I was with by 50m or so.

Next section was a drag along to a short drop then back up some steps. I tried to do this on the recee lap, but only managed 4 of the steps, so decided to run it and shoulder the bike for the race. More racing along the flat with a dip or 2 then a steep drop with a left hander at the bottom, slippy but doable. Drag through deep mud next back up to where the mound was. Next was downhill through the trees with some tricky right left handers, which led to some bruised shoulders. Out onto the open field with a tight left hander and the bottom, let the back end of the bike step out and drift it round here onto the final straight.

Race was good and it looked like I’d be on for 6 laps til I went through at 6 laps on got the bell for the last lap. About 50m behind me the winner came through, blast another lap if only I’d been a tiny bit slower. I did manage to take 2 people on the last lap so it was worth it.

By the end I was covered in black mud, the gears on the bike started clogging within 2 laps and both me and the bike were in sorry state. Was great fun though and looking forward to the next one. Nobby Nics actually work on the Maxlight compared to when I had them on the S-Works so will carry on with them. Cheers again to Dad for coming all that way to support.


47/70 Laps 7