Due to the unique way that Scotland seems to catch the weather, the 2012 Scottish Cyclocross Champs were held today (Sunday 10th) having been postponed due to ice back in December. Before i get into the report, i should say a huge thanks to Michael Martin and his team who have essentially organised 2 events now. Postponing the initial race was the right thing to do and they had to start again, so many thanks for pulling it all together.
Right! on to the racing. The weather was filthy. Just above freezing and switching from snow showers to rain. Strathclyde is a course renowned as a bit of a bike breaker, but the organisers had tweaked it a bit and assured us that there was more hard-pack and less swamp. But with the conditions it was clear that the latter races were still going to be a slog-fest. In the women’s race it was all Roe. Eileen stormed off at the start and didn’t look back. She led from start to finish. Behind her was Gen Whitson riding strongly after a great race out in the Worlds (she got 28th out in Louisville and did NZ and SCX proud). Gen was riding well but had lost the feeling in her feet before the start of the race, which is not ideal. In 3rd was Velo Club Moulin’s Maddy Robinson who had a great battle with Louise Borthwick (although not for position it is always good to have a “race”).
Senior men were last off, after a minutes silence to remember mtb and cross newbie Chris Bell who sadly died in an avalanche last month. I actually found myself having a wee as the minute started but given that Chris’ website was Scenic Pees, it is what he would have wanted. A slightly depleted field lined up in probably the best weather of the day. By this i mean it was not actually raining, snowing or sleeting. With a few big names missing (Davie Lines had made a schoolboy error and forgot his licence and couldnt race. Harsh but those is the rules and he was more p*ssed with himself i think)) i found myself on the front row between the two fastest guys Rab and Monty. Gulp. Bang. Pedal like mad and try to avoid McInally who unclipped and caused a bit of chaos. Everyone stayed rubber side down so no harm done. There was no way i could sustain the pace of the top boys and slid back into the pack on the first lap hoping that i could pick up places as the race went on.
By now the course was cutting up pretty badly, the climb was fine, but the top section traverse and the paddock area was a slog. Some riders ran sections, others pedalled slowly. I chose to run sections and try to nurse the mech to the end. It worked. I got into my stride and into the top 10. What i was not expecting was to be lapped at 40mins. Rab Wardell (Alpine Bikes) was flying. No sign of anyone around him and as we crossed the line he got a time check of 2mins to second place. Rab powered to the win with Gareth Montgomery(GT racing) in 2nd and Dave Henderson (GT racing) in 3rd. It was an impressive performance by Rab and a statement of intent for 2013 and the Commonwealth Games selectors.
So that is the end of the 2012 season in Scotland. The day was miserable, the racing was hard and the crowd was stoic in their support. Thanks to the army of helpers and the race organisers, not to forget the timing guys who got the results out super-fast. Thanks also to the sponsors, the Tri-Centre and Ridley. Who’s up for some summer racing then? Full results here.
In memory of Chris, some of his mates are raising cash for the mountain rescue teams. A worthy cause if ever there was one.