Monday, December 9, 2013

Ted's North of England Championships | York | Sunday 08 Dec 2013

You know how the old saying goes..."Cyclo-Cross is a bit like life". And just like life you can make you own luck by being fit and technically well prepared but just like life, bad luck can strike at any time. Today I had another small spot of bad luck a la Kevin Pauwels, who I regard as the unluckiest guy in CX. Or is he? 

Back to the the racing. Today it was the North of England's Championships, a biggie by anyone's standards. Big enough to attract Sr. Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) himself. Nuff said. So it was with 80 odd other Vet 40s we set off for a half lap of York Sport's excellent new road race circuit and then onto the rough stuff. Another cracking start, I bridged the initial gap to the leaders and then hung in until the first turn off road. After that some of the 'I didn't get such a good start' crew started coming past and I had just started settling down when I get an almighty bellow from behind "CMON TED LETS GET GOING" from club mate Paul. He got going all right. I tried to hang on his wheel and gained a further place. 

As the race began to take shape I found myself in a cracking dogfight with another rider who seemed to have supporters all over the track. I could tell 'cos as he clung to my wheel everyone it seemed was giving him a cheer. Anyway we hit the tarmac headwind and he sticks solid to my wheel. I swerve violently to the other side of the track to invite him to come past (I've seen KP do this, so it must be OK) and he stubbornly refuses. Then he pulls the dirtiest, nastiest trick I've ever seen in 'cross. Now, I don't want to get anyone in any bother with the officials or even, god forbid, disqualified so for the sake of this blog lets just call him Phil Ingham (Pedalsport, for example).

What he did was, he was 'nice' to me. Yeah, nice. He did it by telling me he'd entered our new club 'cross Ripley Castle CX, then he told me he enjoyed reading these blogs. It was a clever and subtle trick, and one I fell for hook, line and sinker.  I was momentarily distracted and messed up the sharp left hander off the tarmac. But as I gave chase I couldn't help but admire the sheer genius of it as I set to catching this clever hare.
Photo courtesy of Neil Hendry

It took almost a full lap to latch onto and his wheel and then pass him through the mud. I knew though that he was riding the whole circuit, including the gnarly lump which needed top skills and guts. I ran the entire section, no time lost but I had to keep up a decent pace. Back onto the descent and that was when when Lady Luck played another part. Changing up onto the big ring my chain did a Pauwels and wrapped itself round my BB. By the time I'd pulled it out and changed bikes soon after, I'd dropped 3 or 4 places. Well I suppose it wasn't a rainbow jersey I was saying goodbye to, not like poor old Kevin.

Another very enjoyable day of racing, and as ever I'm super grateful for all the shouts and support. What was also really special was it was the first time all four of Racing Team were at the same event. So a final and special thanks to Andy Preston and Bridget Oliver for capturing this moment on film.

Race result 59 of 84.

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