Well after the disappointment of missing out on Boggart Hole Clough due to illness I was looking forward to Bradley Woods. My cold was all but gone however almost a week off the bike left the legs and lungs feeling under prepared. I did
do a little skills training with Mark on the Saturday but this was interrupted when he decided to ride into the only set of goal posts in an otherwise empty field - I was paralysed with laughter for several minutes!
The course was excellent, technical with a little bit of everything; steps, tight and rooty, soft loamy/muddy, uphill, barely ride-able uphill, fast descents, a bomb hole, trees, in fact the only thing it lacked was flat sections!
Despite being gridded I had a poor start (need to work on that!) which was further hampered when I decided to go wide to pass a rider and collided with the rather obvious large tree - I shouldn't have laughed so much at Mark! The rest of the race was thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing - especially the bomb hole which was perfectly ride-able providing a) you carried your speed b) the rider in front didn't stall... The technical nature of the course was a reminder that there's always lots to work on in cross, I was well down compared to recent races maybe because of post viral malaise or a lack of flow/fitness, something that was emphasised as I crossed the line by a couple of fellow competitors asking "What happened to you?" If only I had had the wit/breath to reply! Still it was a very enjoyable race. Elsewhere on the course Mark and Nick had both taken different diversions to lengthen the lap, two of the leaders had had a 'heated exchange' following a collision resulting in a long run to the pits for one (no names, no pack drill) and Chipps had rolled a tub (I feel a crossjunkie tutorial coming on!) altogether a grand day out! There were no Belgian representatives in the seniors race though Tom Jolly (Jonathon and Flandrian Nicole's son) riding for Pedalsport won the Juniors - top effort! Jo captured some excellent photos again, check them out on http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanglebads/sets/72157625238625164/