It’s somehow fitting for the last race of the summer to be held at Herne Hill as it’s such an important part of our Winter – more than a couple of battles have taken place on the trails that loop in and out of the Velodrome over the years, as well as many other feature races like Muddy Hell that are firm fixtures in the cyclocross calendar.
For me, Monday night was all about relaxing into a pace – if that’s possible in ‘cross. Happy with my bike set-up and result at last week’s Bethlem shake down my focus was to settle into a rhythm at Herne Hill and enjoy the race – it would be my last chance before stepping my training up for when the ‘cross season starts for real.
The race started in true Herne Hill fashion with a big fight for the first corner and then for the first time that the race wove its way out of the velodrome. I managed to stay in a relatively good position as we looped around the infield and as we flew through the gates to the track for the first time I was on Dougie Fox’s wheel – Dougie got caught out in the soft off-camber section outside of the barrier and guess who followed him through the tape in a big cartwheelie mess!… Once we’d picked ourselves up it was time to get on with the racing.
The work that the Friends-of-the-Herne-Hill-Velodrome (FHHV) have done recently is impressive and the berms, steps and obstacles in the outer section are loads of fun, especially if you have a bit of mountain-bike technique in your back pocket. There were a few casualties (actual casualties) of the gravel kicker and in fairness it nearly took me by surprise too, but all in all it’s much improved over the old looping singletrack.
A few laps in and people had stopped crashing and were focussing upon puncturing as a combination of too much ambition and too low tyre pressures started to take there toll. I’d realised it was going to be dusty and so had stashed half a bottle of water in my jersey, which paid off. Feeling instantly refreshed I worked on catching up those eager first year juniors.
At about three laps to go I’d made good inroads into the bunch targeting the usual riders and being spurred on by passing some riders who are often just up the road from me. The course suited me well and I knew there were a lot of tired legs out there, but racing these last two Summer Cross Series races and a local TT in between them, feels like good preparation for the upcoming winter season. I’m happy with my bike and happy with the racing, so roll on the Winter!…
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details. He also runs the shop race team and club as well as racing ‘cross, road and cross-country nationally.
All views and opinions are personal and should be taken with a pinch of salt – This blog is not for cissies or cry-babies – Please always adhere to rules V and X.