Over the winter I have opted not to endeavour in Track cycling despite living a mere 20 minutes from my local velodrome. Instead I have decided to partake in the wonderful winter sport that is cyclocross.
Round 1 – Callander Park Falkirk
Unfortunately I was suffering from the aftermath of a throat infection for this race and I had just taken my annual end of season break from cycling. However I decided to ride the race anyways as it didn’t really matter what the outcome was as its only winter, but a race is a race so it isn’t always that simple to think that way once you’re in the race.
Despite going into the race with low expectations I still managed to bag a podium. However during the race It was safe to say I was dying. Luckily the course was a mud bath which meant that I could use my technical skills to keep in front and pass riders because I was definitely not using my fitness!
Due to my low-level of fitness from lack of training the first half of the course I really struggles as it was tarmac and then a windy uphill, so this was where I was distanced but I managed to catch up when the course got tight twisty and technical, where most people were slipping and sliding I was motoring through and trying to get the biggest gap I could for the uphill.
In the end it came down to a sprint for 2nd place and evidently I lost. Still a great day on the bike considering the circumstances and It was great fun!
Thanks to David Lines for putting on a great event with a great course
Round 2 – Irvine Beach
Ah the infamous Irvine beach course. As ever the sand was a nightmare for most yet the traditional Scottish weather was not, more like tropical for this round of the series. The warm, dry and dusty conditions made for a very fast and interesting race.
At the start I made the mistake of trying to hang on to a couple of ex pro road racers and about half a lap in I blew. Considering this race was only one week after the frist I should have been more smart and realised that training does not happen over night.
On the bright side I only slipped in the sand once and managed to pick off riders right u to the end which resulted in a respectable 4th for me, as an extra bonus I was able to beat some of the people who beat me the week before, yas.
Thanks to Walkers Cycling Club for putting on an outstanding race
Round 4 – Lochore Meadows
Unfortunately I missed round three as I was on holiday in sunny Turkey as part of my end of season break.
This round was by far my favourite of the series and was the best I felt form wise in the series aswell. The conditions were icy but by the end of the race the course began to become muddy which meant for some interesting racing.
After having a poor start and missing the split I begun to find my rhythm and managed to move my way up to third place and hold it till the end of the race comfortably which I hadn’t been able to do before.
There was a lot of criticism regarding the course at Lochore but in my opinion i thought it was great as much as there was no steep ups or steep downs i found the course was very interesting with some stairs to run up and technical tight corners aswell as some pretty massive hurdles, well massive for me only being 5 ft 1, and of course the infamous Lochore spiral which seemed bigger than ever.
Big thanks to the organisers for putting on such an amazing event!
Round 5 – Knockburn Loch ( National Championships)
Firstly a big thanks to the guys at Billy Bilsland cycles for lending me a sweet demo Kysrium Elite UST wheel set to ride from Mavic. They ran super smooth.
However despite some awesome kit today wasnt what I would have hoped for, even though I was only riding the cyclocross series as training its hard not to want the results, never the less i still finished the race in third place.
The conditions were very muddy, despite the course being covered in snow just one day prior to the race and freezing cold. I think that was my issue, I let myself get too cold before the start of the race therefor meaning that I felt very stiff and just generally rubbish for the first half of the race which mean I was distance by the leading riders at the beginning.
For the majority of the race I really wanted to quit my legs were screaming at me even though I felt like I wasn’t going very fast, I felt like I had nothing in my legs at all and it was frustrating me massively.
Although after driving three hours to get to the event and with the fear of letting people down I kept going and im glad i did.
Somehow the race timing was messed up and our race ended up being an hour-long instead of 40 minutes but that actually played into my favour. In those last 20 mins I started to come into my own and began to catch the rider in third place and in the last half lap I managed to overtake her and just hold on to the finish line.
This race was by far the hardest for me out of the series, it just wasn’t my day in the saddle but still enjoyed sliding around in the mud and sand to some extent.
Massive thank you to Deside Thistle and the Pryde family for running a really great race for another year.
That marks the end of the cyclocross season for me and the end of the 2017 race season. I have learnt a lot this year and enjoyed finally being out of the youth ranks and getting stuck into some racing on the open roads.
I would like to say a big thank you to my family for helping me get to races and with some of the funf=ding as I couldn’t do it with out you.
I would also like to thank my sponsors, Billy Bilsland Cycles for all the support with equipment and funds and also Sports aid for helping me with the funds for racing.
Finally I would like to say thank you to Colin Batchelor for being a great team manager at Team 22 and I cannot wait for next year.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Photos from Isabel Mcgorum, Barry Primrose, Paul Noble