Hemel in Essex

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Hemel in Essex

Postby Chrisbro » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:38 pm

A busy weekend with two events in Essex for Conall. First up the Eastern Region Cyclocross Round 1 at Basildon yesterday and then today the Mud, Sweat & Gears Series MTB XC Round 7.

Conall's reports for both below.

Eastern League Cyclo Cross Round 1: Basildon
Now, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my first proper race of the season so I was utterly thrilled the weekend was finally upon us. We arrived bright and early at Basildon Sporting Village and went out on the course asap. It was a strange old course with three ridiculously steep climbs that came one after the other with no respite. Personally this course lands near the top along with Ally Pally (SuperCross event) for cross course of the century as everyone loves a good hill.
The race itself was going to be all down to not just the climbing but the consistency and endurance. As this was my first ever Eastern cross race I wasn’t expected to be gridded, but somehow I managed to grasp a spot on the 3rd row of 5 ahead of some eastern riders!! :D The start itself was brilliant I squirmed my way through the pack and hit the lead just before the turn into the hardest climb of the race. For some reason I decided to utterly smash it up the climb and came over the top with a small gap over everyone else. At the foot of the second and ‘easiest’ climb I was still pulling away and couldn’t see the group at the top, though I was already losing my technique and starting to lean over the front wheel which is an absolute killer for my back.
Now the steepest hill comes bang in the middle of this course and I tore into it and almost spun out within a couple of feet of starting the climb, lost all my momentum and with that my lead and I fell to 3rd. I kept the two leaders in sight on the flat, annoyingly long straights at the bottom but was struggling to put any power down and I felt like I was just strolling around although I was catching the leaders!
Throughout the second and third laps all that really happened was that the eventual winner got a gap and rode well and the second place rider fell back and literally just sat on my wheel for two laps. He decided to stop being a roadie and come through on the penultimate lap but immediately slowed down. Anyway on the last lap I was feeling really strong and I was poised to launch a move on the final climb when a backmarker swerved in front of me and landed me in a bush, cut leg, brake hood twisted and a chain wedged into my crank. I finally got going again somehow still in third and just survived to the line to claim my third podium in a row.
So I’d learned a valuable lesson today as I’d finished with plenty in my legs as in latter laps Though the podiums always nice I’m looking forward to racing with these riders again!

Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB Cross Country Round 7:
After the mild frustration of the previous days racing we rolled up to Langdon Hills Country Park eagerly anticipating an hour of agony in the hills!
The course itself was absolutely terrifying with over 5 long, steep and just agonising climbs and the hardest three came one after the other. Anyways I was super motivated to finally get on the podium at one of the top Mtb XC races in the south but was up against some really good riders who are well placed nationally so a podium was a hard ask.
After the gridding I was sat second row just behind a rider who had come 4th at the last National race and who was in a class of his own at these events. Now I’m not sure what actually happened in the first few seconds of this race but two riders ended up on the floor and I was clipped hard on my right hip. After a moment of hesitation I was back on the power and turned into the first climb sitting in third I put the hammer down and moved into the second on this, a ‘shorter’ climb and crawled my way onto the wheel of the top rider here, in his second year at Youth. I didn’t stay there for long as at the foot of the next climb he turned around, looked at me, then just blew me off his wheel and went away immediately.
On this second climb I was passed by another leading rider from Eastern region but actually managed to keep with him thankfully. It was here where I realised we had a small gap on 4th, knowing this I randomly thought it would be a genius idea to try and pedal over some rocks and dropped my chain immediately. Though I managed to throw it back on and didn’t lose my placing.
When we came to the final lap I was hanging onto third by the skin of my teeth with a tiny gap to second and a smaller one to fourth. Now, after the lessons learnt yesterday I knew I just had to give my all as much as I could on the final lap so I was just absolutely slaying it, so much in fact I had a few small offs while pushing the laws of physics on a couple of corners. I climb the final, hardest, longest and steepest climb with no more than a handful of seconds to 2nd and 4th but I put in a huge effort to break off from fourth and close to almost a bike length to second. Unfortunately I was too tired to overtake but 4th was nowhere to be seen. It remained like this for the few hundred metres left and I finally claimed the long awaited podium finished in this very competitive series.

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Sam Williamson
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:23 am

Re: Hemel in Essex

Postby Sam Williamson » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:47 am

A fine 'brace' of race reports and podium finishes - many congrats on a splendid off-road double - loads more to come I'm sure 8)

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