Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Summer Cross Rounds 7, 9 and 10

I assume Summer Cross to be a dim and distant memory for most people by now, for whom prep’ing for the ‘cross season proper, and 3PCX etc. are probably main foci. However, for the sake of closure, please allow me the indulgence of posting brief résumés of the final three rounds I competed in.

Round 7 – Brooksbank School, Elland

On arrival to site, Belgians Rich and Nick were already in the throes of warming up, but, before even saying hello, the first thing that struck me was the ruddy great hill in the corner! I could see the tiger tape snaking its way across the hillside, suggesting a succession of gruellingly tightly packed ups and downs. The athletic duo assured me that once on the slope, the climbs were not too bad. I hoped they were right, and nodded anxiously in acknowledgement of their recently acquired practice lap knowledge. Although fully trusting their judgment, I felt sure that their experiences of powering a ‘full figured’ gentleman, such as me, around a cyclocross course, maybe somewhat limited?

Anyway, it’s not supposed to be easy, and I soon came to terms with the fact I was going to get a little out of breath on this one?? The course comprised grass playing fields, with the only respite from this surface covering being the thin white lines around the athletics track. Here the lime had scorched the grass and hardened the topsoil, allowing some speed to be achieved, and breath to be caught. Oh how I long for a bit of mud…..

Another massive field of competitors soon filled the course, with the open nature of the lap allowing plenty of room for everyone to go about their business unhindered. I rolled in 91st place – last on the course, due to the cruel trick of the bell, but with a big smile on my face.

Round 9 – Killinghall Moor Country Park, Harrogate

An excellent evening of pedalling about was on the cards. The sun came out, the venue was

picturesque, and the usual friendly crowd of likeminded individuals were amassed ready for some action.

“My kind of course” was my initial thought, after a quick scoot around prior to the start. The course was long, flattish, pretty easy going on the grass, and with some twisty rooty single track between trees to boot. “My forte – I’ll do well here” I muttered to myself on the start line!

However, for ‘my kind of course’ read ‘everybody’s kind of course’, and boy did I seem to suffer! The whistle went, and everyone buggered off! My usual duelling partners were nowhere to be

seen and, although I set to, attempting to reel them in, my lungs and legs were having none of it.

Round 10 – Newsome High School, Huddersfield

A metaphorical level playing field, amongst Belgians at least, was the story of the final round of the Summer Series at Newsome High School….. Oh and a small splattering of rarely seen mud too to boot!!

Belgians Nick and I - John P - lined up on a windswept and rain battered hillside in ‘CleckHuddersFax’, which resembled, in appearance at least, a mid-winter meet rather than mid-August!! ‘Blowing a hooley’ I believe is the correct meteorological term.

Unlucky Nick punctured on the first lap!! And I understand this resulted in him begging spectators for track pumps on ever other lap – to his credit he persevered and finished.

So, ultimately, Nick, with a slow puncture, and having to stop three times in the race vs a fully fit John P, is a fairly closely matched race pairing…. Poxer still beat me though!!

Roll on the Winter……

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