Tymon Park was where i popped my cyclocross cherry all those years ago. I'd done a race or two on a mountain bike but had never raced proper on a CX bike. I managed to scrounge together a beater of a bike in the form of an old Flanders CX frame. It was heavy, i was heavy, and the course was a nationals that went down in history for being over within 20m when a crash occurred into the first section of singletrack. Suffice to say i got my ass handed to me and finished +3 laps. It was a birth by fire for me.
4 years on and allot has changed. Gone are the singletrack sections, gone is the crazy start, and gone is the mud and tears of being a fat bloke carting a 12kg bike about the course. 3 years later and this is a course i love returning to and this year it was perfection. 3m wide the whole way round, UCI standard for 99%, and fast as you could make it.
Race was going to be stacked from the start, all the big names were out and looked like a great race with was in store. Personally i was feeling ok. Had just recovered from a chest cold, but after being struck with a case of the 'stop training Greg' in the form of a trapped ulnar nerve and a stress fracture in my leg i pretty much should have just hung up the wheels. However being gridded always has a bit more behind it and its great to get called up to a race. Makes you feel like you've achieved something...or such.
Either way i opted to race, for good or bad i don't know. First few laps were ok, then it all went wrong. The course was a top end course, you needed raw V02 power and mine was still covered in phlegm and it made its way up on more than one occasion. 4 laps in and i started to realise i was going to be lucky to get through this in the top 20 let alone 30. Recovery mode and just ride to maintain places. 3 laps later and it wasn't getting better. Keith from Sundrive passed me noting that i looked like shit and should pull over. In a nice way. But Karma had other ideas and i punctured my front tub. Right before the techy off camber bits. Cock.
Ran a bit, realised this was bad for my leg, then just finished the lap and pulled in. Pissed off, but then i found out that 15 people suffered the same. Me thinks that people in the UK will be getting muchos money from Irish riders looking for new tubs!