North of England Championship 4/12/11A new venue to me near Barnard Castle which at first didn't look that interesting going on the preview video posted a few days before. Once there however thing picked up! Firstly it was obviously going to be quite muddy and secondly it had a bit more ascent/descent than appeared from the video. Oh and there was the weather!
|Nick over the barriers|
Keeping warm before the start was priority number one - the decision was made in consultation with Dave and Nick to ride just the one preview lap and warm up on the road a bit. Firstly though, not to leave the comfort of the warm car until absolutely necessary, as there was no way you were getting back in after a muddy lap out there! The preview lap revealed two areas that were particularly heavy, one regaining some tarmac on the far side of the course and a longer section that was initially ok but got progressively worse (or I got progressively more tired!) coming up past the big tree toward the finish. The start was on the tarmac and nearly proved a disaster with a foot/pedal clipping my wheel (or visa versa) but luckily resulted in just a stall rather than a fall. Lots of effort and a good choice of line through the first heavy section saw me back in roughly the 'right' position. The race definitely felt like a war of attrition with the heavy going sapping energy progressively through the race (unless you were Noel Clough, in which case you sailed on without any fall off in speed!). The final lap and a half were concluded appropriately enough in a semi blizzard. Excellent stuff!
|Blizzard to finish
Sheffield Stars Go-Cross 27/11/11Not the most inspiring of courses but a fun event and a proper 'Go-Cross' that is ideal as an introduction to the sport. Combining the race with a visit to see Lizzy, G and Rex and Winkie, Nats and Annie made the for a fun weekend even Ginger James even made it for the photo call! A twisty turny playing fields course with one section of banking and one wall/barrier meant a fast race. Unfortunately being a little to casual at the start meant not getting on the front row and getting a little caught up to begin with. Not much chance of last years surprise win with this year's field especially with Rob Partridge in as a bit of a ringer! Happy enough with 7th overall and 2nd Vet given the alcohol fuelled preparation the night before with G and his apicultural mentor's mead. Good to see G back racing and a shame that a cold virus prevented Winkie from lining up but hopefully the two Sheffield Belgians will soon be back to regular races and fitness.
|Fun for all the family (Photo Liz Walton)|