Sunday 13th December 2009 - 08.00hrs
Awoke with optimistic enthusiasm. Threw back the curtains to find Jack Frost had sprinkled his white powder all around. Frost! Proper winter cross racing conditions. I looked outside to check the thermometer - it was only 4 degrees C. Not a real frost then. A bowl of porage - the breakfast of champions - and then onward to Plymouth, our almost local race (all be it 70miles away).
After an hour and a half in the car we pulled up at the leisure centre at the edge of Central Park. Weaving through a the crowds there for the extreme Frisbee tournament, we signed on. (Hope they can read my handwriting this week and I’m not ????)
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 12.00hrs.
Course inspection. No frost, just mud and oh my, it’s very up and down and with really thick squidgey mud. I have a good feeling about this.
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 12.30hrs.
Honk honk! (That’s the sound of the horn!) Brimming with confidence team VeloCake nudged our way to just behind the seeded riders. Things were looking good. Ducked inside people on the first corner but then come the second I was forced wide and ended up stuck with my front wheel on the wrong side of a marker post. Shit! Freed the wheel and then immediately made up about ten places, sprinting through the field on adrenaline.
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 13.10hrs.
Last few laps. John soldiering on and holding his own, despite his bad back flaring up. I was on fire though, lapping back markers and taking a couple of places. I then held off the race leader for quarter of a lap before he finally lapped me.
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 13.15hrs.
Heckled by a marshall at bottom of a big descent. “Pin it. Go faster!” Shouldn’t have listened… 200metres further along I was going faster but lost front wheel on a root and knee to floor action ensued. Straight back up and running with the bike I took a fella from South Fork racing team.
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 13.30hrs.
Bell lap. (About time too.) Off the bike and running whilst scooping mud from the back end. Downhill sprint to the finish. Into the tricky last corner from deep mud and onto greasy tarmac, and it is very greasy ,but I managed to stay upright and cross the line.
Sunday 13th December 2009 - 13.35hrs.
That’s it. It’s all over. Racers milling around on the finish line and then back to signing on table to hand in numbers. Whilst flicking mud from shoes, SWCX organiser, Roy approached me announcing that he had a prize for me. I was shocked it’s been a long time since I have won anything at any bike race. “Come with me VeloCake, I have a present for you!” I followed him into the sports hall, past the tea urn where I was presented with my winning prize - a “finish line” mechanics apron (with a handy magnetic chest pad). My prize for having the winning raffle ticket at the last race. I was overjoyed. I told all you non-believers that I’M A WINNER!
(More pictures & results to follow)