Another weekend another cross race. Season is kicking off fully now with most people having dusted their bikes off and getting them covered in mud all over again.
Sunday saw a long drive up to Carrickfergus for the second round of the Ulster Cyclocross League, first round also being the Supercross Cup the weekend before in Lurgan. 2 hours 45 mins later we finally arrived in a field in the middle of nowhere. Wind blowing, rain tanking down, and what looked like a sodden field beside the playing pitches. Thankfully we found out that we were going to get showers after the event so the mood was cheered up a little....despite the obvious standing water in the field.
Only 34 riders turned up due to weather, roadworks, and general apathy. On top of that only 5 riders from down South, poor show lads. Gridding up after a pointless two lap warmup, which ment that 30 mins were spent cleaning the bike before warming up on the road again, had me sitting on the second row with a direct line at the holeshot.
10 seconds, clip in, check the gearing. GO. Gun it up the hill and get into the first corner in 6th place. Hold it through the first few corners until the second hill. Drop a place to Fergus and so the fight began. 5 laps back and forth each of us fighting for every inch in the corners and hills. Every descent I'd take him, only to loose it on the hill. 5th lap and I put in a big effort, get a gap of 4m going into the hill and just kept going, needed to drop him! Top of the hill and he's blown, keep it going on the descent and by the end of the lap I have maybe 10seconds on him and he's slowing.
7th lap and disaster; chain pops off as i hit it with my heel pedaling through a tight right hand corner. By the time i have it back on and get moving again Fergus has caught me and gone past. Doing my best for a lap to get back onto him but not a chance, he's motoring and i cant get back.
7th place, just outside the prize money. But good points in the league non the less.
Lots of photos from Andy Potts at : http://mitzelphoto.fotopic.net/c1773205.html