Cyclocross

Western Cyclocross League – Round 7 – The hills of Lockleaze

Anyone familiar with Bristol, especially if you commute, will know the large TV/comms aerial that sits on the hill above the M32 as you head into the city. Well, Round 7 of the Western League was run around the slopes under that aerial, so this course proved to be a war of attrition with my legs, with one long drag up from the bottom of the hill to the highest point in one stretch.

Western-CX-Round7-Tower

The bike maintenance is proving to be invaluable, although I did have a slightly manic session the night before the race when the rear freehub started to run a little stiffly and then decided to just spin freely at times. So rather than risk a major mechanical during the race, I whipped the Shimano RS30 off of my son’s bike (he’ll never know… maybe?).

Vittoria-XG-RS31-Cyclocross

Overall the course was quite fast, with the grass running surprisingly quickly. Again the course designers had put in a couple of ‘obstacles’ to stretch our bike handling skills a little further.

 

The first on the course was a dry ditch-like hump, which on first inspection looks like it needed to be done on foot, but second time round proved to be rideable – I was only hopefully that my energy stayed long enough for me to concentrate over this hump without crashing towards the end of the race.

 

The second was a really tight hairpin that you rode into downhill and was a little off-camber. This needed good gear selection to ride round and I only washed out the front wheel once, so that wasn’t too bad.

 

The dismount was a low stile and then a run up a short slope, so I probably did more running in this race than any one previously.

Western-CX-Round7-Bristol-View

Like I say, it was really a race of attrition on the hills, but that did mean that there were decent downhill stretches to catch a few breaths… and that’s shown in my heart monitor trace, which has much less in Zone 5 (the ‘red’) than previous races. I guess that means I should have been trying harder?

Western-CX-Round7-Heart

Only lesson learned, repeated from last week actually, was to get more riding into my legs before the start, as again it took a good ten or so minutes to settle into a decent race pace.

 

Oh, and the RS30 worked perfectly… although I think I bent the skewer slightly during the race, which is a hint to make sure that I use decent skewers in future.

Note – the old RS10’s are being replaced with Shimano RS61’s run tubeless, so more to follow on that.

Western-CX-Round7-Afterwards

The other noteable mention was Charlie, age 11, who came along to support me and wanted to try my bike up the course… it proved to be a little large, but he’s planning to tag along next week with his own bike.

Western-CX-Round7-Charlie

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