We’ve been lucky this year to have had just about every kind of weather (apart from snow, yet), but that didn’t stop me feeling under it!…
Colds and Christmas go together like sprouts and turkey, but I’ve never raced at Footscray before so I figured I’d come along anyway. I never really know if I should back my riding and racing off if I’m not feeling great but I decided that as long as I didn’t go into the red it would be fine.
Obviously, we then went straight into the red! The long start straight set the tone for the race – the damp grass wasn’t muddy as such, but really sucked the power out of your legs. A crash split the group up and I found myself somewhere in the top twenty as we went into the tight first section. A couple of laps in these corners became super slick and the short run-up was perfect to test your ‘cross ability.
The long drag back toward the start was the toughest bit of the whole loop. Mole hills on the first bit had to be attacked out of the saddle and then the second bit once again just drained the power from your legs. On the last two laps I’d begun to get into the right rhythm and this was the section that you could really make some time up on.
After this the lap twisted around some beech trees before heading toward the woods. On the first lap I misjudged the corner on the entrance to the wood and gave another rider far too much space – the front wheel washed out from me and I hit the deck, loosing several places, but I was straight back up again and making those places back through the twisty wooded section.
This was my favourite bit of all and throughout the whole race I made up at least one place per lap each time through it. I think that coming from a mountain bike background I don’t necessarily find these sections easier, I just feel more comfortable and that allows you to attack, especially at the end of this particular section when it opened up onto a fireroad.
On the last lap, I was working hard to catch two riders, both wearing red and white kit and I caught them a little faster than I dared to hope. A third one came into view in the woods and I attacked up the hill and into the off camber section before the pits. He hesitated slightly and I never looked back. Sprinting it home I started to catch Wilf, who’d gone with a much faster group at the start. I managed to come home a few seconds down on him to secure 13th place.
Big thanks to John, Lexi and everyone who spurred me on after a slow start. Nice to finish my second race on the trot without a puncture too!
- Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven)
- Michael Butler (Bowlfish Bontrager)
- John Dennis (Control CC)
13. Glen Whittington (SDW)
Photos by Alexis Couchman and John Molyneaux.
Glen rides a pair of Boardman Elite ‘Cross bikes in the London CycloCross Association League. He rides a Colnago Master and races a Scott Addict at local road races, all of which are available via The Velo House. He races a KTM Aera Pro 27.5 hardtail in the UK National Points Series and the Eastern XC Series. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, KTM and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY. He’s also supported by Lazer helmets and Boardman Elite.