Personal life apart, things are going well. Despite much trepidation, yesterday I loaded up the car with bike, kit and jet wash for a trip to the local Cross club championships. For the day, I was a member of a local club (to make numbers up) and pitched up on my MTB to what was a very well attended event at a local private school.
Firstly - my megastar friend Jen, who had never seen a cycle-race before said she would come along and offer moral support. 'Pitting' in cross is quite a big thing, but only really if you have a couple of bikes to swap between. I didn't and was determined to go without a drink so Jen just shouted 'Show me your War face' and other inspiring phrases to keep me from getting off and getting back in the car.
It was cold, BLOODY cold and whilst it didn't rain, the water logged course soon became a mud bath. Whilst I don't have a cross bike currently, with the course how it was it was very much swings and roundabouts as to whether I'd have benefitted or not. There was a fallen log type affair in the woods which I could clear but almost everyone else got off and ran over, followed by a pretty steep drop which again I could stay on for. On the flip side, there was a horrible gradual climb up a field, and then a wobbly rutted descent back down said field where I was definitely at a disadvantage. To try and get any sort of grip, I ran a fairly narrow spike on the front and ran really low pressures (20psi) which gave me about as much grip as I was going to get.
Anyway, after a frantic start I'd made up quite a few places from my lowly spot on the grid and held my own, swapping places over the course of the lap with a couple of lads on cross bikes. I lapped a few people which was nice and a definite improvement on my previous ride where I seemed to be dead last. One of the problems with riding an MTB is the accumulation of mud, and by halfway through there was enough welded to my frame and wheels to stop the rear mech working. I was reduced to two gears but in all fairness I only really needed two so no real hardship. Coming round to what I thought was the penultimate lap, I saw the flag hung out and realised that it was over. Bit disappointing because I'd been saving a bit for a final lap push, but at the same time relieved it was over - I was cold, wet and absolutely COVERED in mud. Think rice pudding made of mud and you wouldn't be far wrong. I didn't wait about to find out where I come and as of now they still haven't posted the full results - the thought of clean clothes and beating the rush out the carpark was far more tempting.
It made a huge difference having Jen there, much nicer going to an event with someone to cheer you on and chat through the race with afterwards rather than driving home on your own. Hell, two laps in I'd have got off and gone home had she not been there.
Dropping her off, I drove to the local Sainsburys to jet wash the bike (I know I know, bearing life...) and rolled home about 4pm. Stuff in the washing machine, I popped round some friends for dinner before coming home, having a huge argument with my girlfriend on the phone and going to bed with a cluster headache and eventually, migraine. Mint.
Today, head aside I feel ok. Back is a bit tight and my legs are quite heavy, but I'm in no way ruined. Maybe a session on the turbo later on might finish them off...