Play Mistley for me
My Eastern League adventures continue, with some more typical cyclocross conditions adding to the excitement.
Last weekend’s race at Mistley in Essex was one of the most technical on the calendar, with a wooded hillside providing the setting for one of the few local races that is probably better tackled on a mountain bike.
The disc-equipped Major Jake really came into its own on this testing course, and took a lot of the sting out of the steep drops and hairpin turns. The legs weren’t quite so convincing, though, and a poor start meant I spent the race trying to make up time on current series leader, Arctic SRAM’s Matt Holmes, who stormed to a convincing win, his fourth of the season. Second place for me.
This weekend saw us travelling up the rain-lashed A1 to Grafham Water, one of my favourite circuits, and the first really muddy race of the season.
I made up for my poor start of last week and led this one almost from the whistle, finding a good rhythm early on and managing to eke out a decent gap by the end of the first lap.
Ultra-low tyre pressure helped me pick my way round a course that was very sloppy in places and very bumpy in others, although nothing quite prepared me for an encounter with a dog-walker as I was making my way through the singletrack at high speed.
Disaster avoided, I pushed on as hard as I could, swapping bikes towards the end in an effort to avoid the kind of rear-mech mishap that plagued me last season and that put one of my club-mates out of his race earlier in the day.
A smooth last lap, steering clear of back markers and any further canine intervention and I crossed the line with my second open category win of the season.
I’ve got some catching up to do if I want to get back on terms with Mr Holmes, but this was a step in the right direction.
Double-header next weekend. Watch this space.