On a windy and cold-ish day where the sun was noticeably absent, Gary trucked us and our bikes to the outskirts of Cambridge, where in a slightly grim setting we were set to take part in the last race of our CX season.
Although the motivation was initially not the highest, particularly given the dampness of the course, we were happily surprised to see that the organisers had prepared what was an absolutely brilliant course. Inside a very compact, 1km square, riders would have to bob and weave through plenty of slight, but sudden, ups and downs, with a tiny ridge providing most of the elevation in the form of very short, off-camber, steep climbs. The finishing straight was the only section of the course that did not feature turns or climbs for more than 100mt, and that had more than one obvious line, something I was particularly pleased with. At the same time, the relatively firm ground had taken on the previous precipitations well, leaving the course slick, but relatively quick and very much rideable.
In the Youth categories the boys put down very solid performances in the U16s , with Jack Emerson in in 23rd, Oli Griggs in 16th and Alessandro Sella in 12th. Serafino Sella managed a 14th in the U14s too!
As for me, the race was brilliant, albeit marred by mishaps. After a very good start, I was caught in a bottleneck in one of the many singletrack sections, got overly excited trying to move up and ended up going backwards, thanks to a long streak of silly mistakes. My comeback towards the front was halted by a slide in one of the run-ups, and from then on I rode a solid and slightly less exciting race. The results sheet would read 25th for me, out of 72 starters: with a result in line with what I’ve done for most of the season, this was one of the most enjoyable courses I raced on, and marked a definite high note to close the season on. It also allowed me to cement my 10th position in the overall Senior standing for the league.
Gary had a slightly more troubled race, with a rear puncture not helping him navigate the numerous treacherous sections. With the mind already set on the first TT of the year, only two weeks from now, he went on to finish 69th. The mishaps caused him to slip one position in the overall classification, where the consistency of showing up and racing almost every round rewarded him with a 26th position.
Greeted at the finish line by Oli – who picked our jackets at the start line all season, and probably deserves a statue for that – and his mom – who once again delighted us with a splendid piece of cake – it was time for a quick chat, a change of clothes and a relatively easy drive back home.
It is almost becoming trite to say that the HV support has been incredible all season, from fixing last minute bike issues, to driving us to the races, to people tagging along to cheer and help, to the jacket collection and cake distribution: however, it’s still worth mentioning, and I hope that it will help convince people to join the party for next season!
Cross is over, for now, but it will be upon us before we know it!