Cyclocross

A double weekend of racing

This weekend I was very excited to guest ride for UK cycling distributor Saddleback in the Elite invitational-only Rapha Super Cross race at Alexandra Palace.
This weekend I was very excited to guest ride for UK cycling distributor Saddleback in the Elite invitational-only Rapha Super Cross race at Alexandra Palace.

A jam-packed weekend of racing, first in the Elite race at the day long cyclocross festival otherwise known as Rapha Super Cross (Alexandra Palace, London) followed by the second round of the National Cyclocross Trophy Series in Southampton.

Jump to Southampton

Elite | Rapha Super Cross | 25th October 2014

  • Weather: sunny
  • Course: grassy, with one tussocky run-up
  • Highlight: elite, invitational only race
  • Strava activity

Jump to RSX results

I was fortunate enough to be asked to ride as part of Saddleback’s mixed team in the elite event this year. This would put me up against seven other girls, all of whom are racing at the very top of the UK cross scene!

Being in with the elite men meant the race started very fast (again I made a bit of mistake with my starting gear choice) but survived an entanglement with Louise Mahe as we sprinted into the first corner. Congestion on the narrow course meant the whole field was together for the majority of the first lap but quite soon the women were spaced out behind the men and we engaged in our own separate battle.

Over the first three laps or so I traded places with Emily Barnes (guesting for Charge) but finally Emily managed to get a good enough gap on me over the top section of the course and I wasn’t able to catch her back. The tussocky run-up soon forced me into a sad trot and it was thanks only to the encouraging cheering from onlookers that I was able to keep on pushing up that section, climb after climb after tortuous climb.

Photo by Huw  Williams
Suffering on the run-up
Photo by Huw Williams
Photo by Huw  Williams
Somehow the men (and Annie Simpson) were able to keep on running. Here they are in the first lap
Photo by Huw Williams

I might have been able to catch Emily back but I managed to wipe-out just before the barriers after my cleat failed to unclip. I slid right under the tape and almost into some onlookers. After getting back on the right side of the tape, hopping the barriers and getting my chain back on Emily was far away and so I just got my head down to finish the race and make sure the Saddleback/Felt team qualified.

After a recovery hot chocolate I was able to enjoy watching the fun race (an open entry race where competitors generally race in fancy dress, do tequila shortcuts and ride through a foam cannon!). My sister and I are contemplating entering on a tandem next year…

IMG_7472
There are always some great outfits in the fun race!

Despite finishing dead last(!) I am really positive about this race. I felt much stronger than when I raced here last year and my competitors were of a much higher calibre. Going into the race I knew realistically I would probably finish very close to the bottom of the field but Saddleback provided me a great opportunity to race at an elite level and in a great atmosphere. I was there for the experience (atmospheric and technical) and I got both. I’ve now raced on a course with a proper run-up (not quite Valkenburg etc, but certainly challenging!) and been in the exact same race as some of the UK’s top male riders – it’s amazing how fast and fearless they are!

Results

Position Name Club name Time
1 Jody Crawford HARGROVES 44:23.4
2 Steve James HARGROVES 44:23.0
3 Jack Clarkson HOPE 44:58.9
4 Dylan Kerfoot-Robson ROULEUR 45.20.9
5 Nic Barnes CHARGE 45:21.1
6 Rob Jebb HOPE 45:24.7
7 Alfie Moses YORKSHIRE 45:37.6
8 Ben Simmons CHARGE 46:13.5
9 D Barnes RAPHA 46:17.7
10 Dave Collins HOPE 46:26.8
11 Scott Chalmers FELT 46:31.8
12 Chris Metcalfe CHARGE 46:42.7
13 Rob Partridge YORKSHIRE 46:46.7
14 G Thompson RAPHA 47:02.4
15 Bruce Dalton ROULEUR 47:26.1
16 Richard Mardle FELT 47:44.0
17 Matt Hargroves HARGROVES 47:50.1
18 Chris Barnes YORKSHIRE 48:03.7
19 Tom Payton FELT 48:04.9
20 Chris Rathbone CHARGE 48:09.8
21 Andrew Hargroves HARGROVES 48:24.1
22 Scot Easter FELT 48:46.1
23 Alex Minting NEON VELO 49:07.0
24 Grant Leavy NEON VELO 49:57.9
25 Dieter Droger YORKSHIRE 44:16.6
26 Team Neon Velo NEON VELO 44:35.9
27 Rob Purcell NEON VELO 45:31.8
28 James Flury ROULEUR 46:06.0
29 Annie Simpson HOPE 47:00.7
30 Dan Craven RAPHA 47:07.4
31 Amira Mellor YORKSHIRE 47:09.6
32 Ruby Miller HARGROVES 48:0730
33 Sarah Murray RAPHA 49:48.9
34 Louise Mahe NEON VELO 49:47.4
35 Abi Van Twisk ROULEUR 45:09.9
36 Emily Barnes CHARGE 46:09.6
37 Alice Miller FELT 47:57.8

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Elite S/J Women | National Trophy #2 | 26th October 2014

  • Weather: sunny
  • Course: grassy + fast
  • Highlight: felt competitive + part of the race
  • Strava activity

Jump to Round 2 results

Circling before the race start
Circling before the race start, following Hannay Payton and National Vet. Champ Tracey Fletcher
Photo by Richard Bennett

The very next day was the second round of the National Trophy series in Southampton and many of the riders that had raced at yesterday’s Rapha Super Cross were getting set-up in the car parks when we arrived.

I felt really ill with a head cold and spent a lot of the time leading up to the race wrapped up in a warm coat pretending to sleep. The weather was warm but fresh and once I was on the bike I immediately felt much better.

After signing on and sighting the course a couple of times all the juniors and various women’s categories congregated at the start ready for a 1.30 kick-off.

Everyone was excited as we had several competitors over from Europe for today’s race, including a couple of guys from the Belgian team Telenet Fidea and Hannah Payton (a british rider who has taken the step up to racing on the continent this season). Whilst warming up on the course I followed behind a Telenet guy as he practically flew over the barriers – so smooth!

On Abi's wheel
On Abi’s wheel

I was gridded quite near the back of the field but had a smooth start and made up some spaces. For the first couple of laps I was riding in 13th, comfortably following Abi van Twisk’s wheel. I was riding ‘on the rivet’ and there was no way I would be able to get any further ahead but I was very happy to be following Abi and resolved to stick on her wheel and let her pace me round to a very respectable placing.


Unfortunately for me I touched Abi’s wheel just as I crested the steep rise (See photos above) and had a slow-mo fall. Although I recovered pretty quickly and was soon chasing back on I used up valuable energy and never got back on Abi’s wheel. A lap later and Welwyn rider Sophia Chastell overtook me, bringing Emily Barnes up on my tail.

img_0005-e1414429211181
Sophia pulls away as Emily and I work hard to minimise the gap

img_0006-e1414429295302 In the final lap both Emily and Claire Beaumont made a big effort, coming past me in the final grassy swtichbacks pushing my final position down to 16th. This meant that in the end I finished pretty close to the back of the field, but, as with yesterday’s race at Ally Pally, I am very happy with my performance as this was a high level of racing with all the big UK players involved.

Writing this the day after after my cold has come back with a vengeance and I am full of the sniffles. Luckily there are no races for the next couple of weekends so I can just focus on getting some steady training in and make sure I’m fighting fit for Round 3 of the Nationals in Durham.

Results

Position Name Club name Time
1 Adela Carter Hope Factory Racing 00:42:58:000
2 Merce Pacios Pujadó Beeline Bicycles RT 00:43:40:000
3 Amira Mellor Paul Milnes Cycles/Bradford Ol… 00:43:32:000
4 Diane Lee Team Mulebar Girl – Sigma Spor… 00:43:54:000
5 Hannah Payton The Kinesis Morvelo Project 00:44:01:000
6 Tamina Oliver Endura Lady Force – WV Zeeuws … 00:44:29:000
7 Sarah Murray http://www.cxmagazine.com 00:45:14:000
8 Ruby Miller Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT 00:45:40:000
9 Verity Appleyard Brotherton Cycles 00:46:13:000
10 Sarah Lomas Nutcracker Racing 00:46:15:000
11 Joanna Rycroft http://www.cxmagazine.com 00:46:24:000
12 Abigail Van Twisk Cycle Lab 00:47:11:000
13 Sophia Chastell Welwyn Wheelers CC 00:47:27:000
14 Emily Barnes Team Mulebar Girl – Sigma Spor… 00:47:35:000
15 Claire Beaumont ViCiOUS VELO 00:47:44:000
16 Alice Miller Look Mum No Hands! 00:47:57:000
17 Charlotte Broughton Team Corley Cycles 00:48:44:000
18 Sarah Naylor Fossa Racing
DNF Annabel Simpson Hope Factory Racing
DNS Alexis Barnes WyndyMilla
DNS Corina Bennett Individual member

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