9th November – North West CX League Round 8 – Geoff Bewley Classic @ Otterspool Park , Liverpool.
A return to Otterspool park for round 8 of the NW league. This event is ran by a different promoter and held in Memory of Geoff Bewley who was the main man at Liverpool Century Cycling club.
Every year it attracts the top riders from the area and they put on a great course using all the features of the park and add some more with a good Showground and added boards etc.
This had cobbles, steps, off camber banks, wooded singletrack and steep run ups, a true test of all Cyclocross skills.
I had a good start and from a few rows back and go to the top 15 quickly, the course was sent into the woods straight away and I managed to find a great line on the first descent and overtook about 6 or 7 people in one move to get into the top 6 riders.
I concentrated on keeping the pace high and a saving enough to be smooth on the technical sections as I knew from 2 weeks ago this is where I can make time. For 2 Laps I was battling with Matt Braimer the Irish Road champion. His speed on the straights was crazy but I could hold him off in the turns and off cambers...I heard him crash behind me so I kept the power down to distance him. In 5th place with some great riders behind me I started to feel confident and find energy for the running sections. I was caught by another rider Martin Woffinden (one of my team mates for tomorrow), and I settled in behind him at a comfortable pace thinking that I could out sprint him at the end if needed...however with 1 lap to go my rear mech blew off on one of the climbs...my race was over and totally gutted not to finish this and to have beaten some classy riders like Matt and Jonny McEvoy. Roll on Tomorrow.
10th November – Inter Area Championships – Prissick Base, Middlesborough.
After yesterday I was hoping for a good race, but knew it would be difficult as the lack of training would show its self with 2 races back to back. The venue was great for this event but the course was not to my liking. Totally flat, all on grass and no technical sections at all. It would however provide close racing between the riders. We had 6 riders in our North West team, Giles Drake, Jack Humphreys, Martin Woffinden, Matt Lawton, Scot Wilson and myself. Four of us had raced yesterday with Jack and Matt resting up. I was on a borrowed bike as I didn’t have time to fix mine. We were hoping that Jack and Giles would make the top 10 with Giles a good contender to win and the rest of us who are quite close in ability would group together within the top 20. This should get us on the podium.
The other teams to look out for were the North East team and the Yorkshire teams.
The race started and I got boxed in a little but was still in the top 20, the pace was really high as the course was flat with very little rest, I knew this was going to hurt a lot as my recovery from yesterday was nowhere near complete. As predicted, myself, Martin , Scott and Matt were close together and managed to share the work for a few laps but I started to suffer and lost the group a little. Jack had a slow start but was on a charge and came past me, I was holding on but then over shifted and put my chain over the cassette and into the wheel. (having never uses SRAM before and on my friends bike). I tried to fix it but it took too much time to remove the chain and put the wheel back, that I was really at the back. I rode 2 more laps with the juniors and then quit with a lap to go. Again my second DNF of the weekend. I was not loving CX at this point. Giles managed to get 2nd place and Jack charged his way up to 9th. The others in the top 20. So a massive thanks to them for making it into 3rd place over all. I got to stand on the podium and collect my Bronze medal for being part of the team. Beers are on me guys
Dan is going to take a break for a few weeks now to get some training done and fix his bike and come out hard in December for the last races of the year.