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Perfs Pedal, 10th February 2019

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Luke Gray's Cyclo-Cross Diary



December 16th was the 5th round of the British National Trophy series at Shrewsbury. A few days prior to the race there had been a lot of rain, but on the day there was even sun. The temperature was fairly warm for this time of year so there was no chance of the course hardening up, instead the mud dried and became sticky and very slippery and draggy. After just two practise laps of the course my bike was pretty clogged with mud and grass. The course was dead flat apart from a little hump near the start finish which were used quite rigorously, woods also made up a large part of the lap which was to my liking.

With my race starting at 14:30 there is always so much waiting around and killing time to do, although my dad was busy taking large quantities of water, brushes, bucket and a jet washer to the pits, plus my other Trek cross bikes number 2 and 3 which were inconveniently a very long way away.

There were a few new faces for this round, two of GB's top mountain bikers, Kenta Gallagher and Grant Ferguson. Also Ian Bibby who was the Senior National Cyclocross Champion a few years back.
I had a good start sitting in 2nd place down the start straight then shortly after the start came a set of blanks, which Kenta Gallagher who was riding right in front of me decided to bunnyhop them and got them wrong, I also bunnyhop them but with him laying in the track I didn't have anywhere to go but lay in the track as well. At least I did'nt stuff my face in the dirt like him, but I did lose some vital time as everyone is racing very rapid on the first lap trying to move up and gain places.

Over the course of the first few laps I lost a fair few places till time gaps appeared between riders then I just settled in and not much happened, apart from a whole lot of bike changes. I had to pit for a clean bike twice every lap, there was so much mud and grass. Not changing slows you down as well as potentially causing mechanical failures like broken rear mechs. My Dad said as soon as he had jet washed a bike I came straight in for a quick change with another muddy one. He said he went through over 80 litres of water and ran out on my last lap.

I finished in 17th place which was'nt a good result and I wasn't happy with it. I liked the course, because it was slippery, so it was good fun to ride but the draggy mud wasn't to my liking when you have to race in it.

My next race is at Essen in Belgium, a round of the Bpost Bank Troffee series. This particular race last year was the muddiest race I had ever done, but the course wasn't much cop either. So I've be very busy with cleaning and washing clothing and equipment ready for leaving in the next few days. I'll also be spending Christmas in Belgium (for the second year running) but my parents are making the trip over to spend Christmas in Belgium with me, but to also help me out at the Boxing day World Cup in Zolder, Belgium.

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