Tuesday 2 October 2012

Cyclo-Cross: Wessex League/Viaamse Industrieprijs Cross

Rob Gray reports from Wareham Forest...It was local lad Stu Bowers(Hargroves Cycles) who lead out the race on his first outing this cross this season. Leading the way through the trees flowing nicely over the very dry terrain which is quite sandy here. The big downhill through the trees seemed to be most peoples favourite part of the course, and was wide enough for riders to over take on before the turn at the bottom. Though it was also the part of the course which caused the most upset with puncture's and the odd tumble as James Cotty (Wheelbase /Cannondale) demonstrate breaking his helmet in the process.

Halfway round the first lap Mike Cotty (Wheelbase Cannondale) found himself in the middle of a Hargroves quartet sandwich. Mike said afterwards " I wanted to take it easy for the first couple of laps". Unfortunately he caught a loose stone or a root down the big hill on the second lap and puctured, and having just passed the second pit he had to run half a lap to the next pit for a bike change. With the absents of the winners from round one and two the pace was set by the Hargroves Quartet of Stu B, Steve James, Matt Mac Donald and Matt Hargroves in a procession at the head of the race.

Junior Matt Hargroves who had opted to ride the senior men's race this week was the first of the quartet to slip off the leading group. He had already took a bike change on the third lap due to a puncture a was now struggling to hold his team mates wheels. In the mean time it was the slower starting Chris Minter (PedalOn) with Peter Kench (Team GWR) leading the chase.

With the last lap belling ringing Chris Minter was now on full song reeling in the flagging Matt Hargroves, who took great delight passing him before the final hill. Matt Mac Donald was also feeling the pace as the leading duo of Steve James and Stu Bowers had now upped the pace, and it wasn't long before the elastic broke leaving Matt on his own.
Up the final hill climb it was Steve James in control at the front, with Stu B right behind. Both riders had to dismount and shoulder their bikes over the top of the steep climb, but once back in the saddle it was Steve who won the sprint to the chequer flag.

The vets/women/Junior race was won by Mike Simpson (GS Henley) who was never trouble all race. He was really charging around the forest and judging by the speed he would of been on the senior men's podium had he enter that race.

Once again Luke Gray will be basing himself in Belgium for the Winter cross season with the occaisional foray home for the odd race. Here is Lukes report on his first race……. "The course was all flat apart from some little banks and dips in the woods, very much like Wareham Forest and a bit sandy with some pine needles about. There was a steep man made bridge that must have bitten a lot of guys rims (he probably means a nasty lip going onto the bridge). It was a very fast course and was tough in the woods accelerating out of the corners because it was quite rough with lots roots on the race line that were easy to catch and slip on".

" I felt good on my warm up on the turbo and found it easy to turn over big watts warming up for the race".

"At the start of the race I went steady on the tarmac as I did not want to go down, but I was also held up by the people in front of me. You could see later on the TV I was cruising behind them as I'm stuck with riders all around. Then someone went down at the sandy hump section near the start, so I got held up again a bit."

"I just rode hard for the rest of the race. I caught and passed some riders but it was quite uneventful. I didn't fall off or have any major woopsies. I found I was fast running the short flights of stairs, or faster than the others I was close racing with. I finished 28th and felt fine and enjoy the race, but the last half a lap wasn't quite so nice for some reason, I think it was just a mental thing like the body getting ready to turn off as it's near the end".

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