CX Racing

The last time I blogged I’d just finished replacing a number of parts ready for the forthcoming cx season, happily the bike remained as one and I’ve summarised the first few rounds of the Central League:

Round 1 Sunday 30th September – Hillingdon

The day started promising with my daughter finishing 1st girl in the U10’s and 4th overall.

Come the start of the seniors shorts and SS jerseys were the order of the day.  The race began with a 100 yard tarmac dash onto the grass section and after the mandatory ‘feel like you’ve started to fast’ feeling I settled in to a steady rhythm.  After 25 mins of racing  my mind wandered at the most critical part of the course – approaching the short ascent to the hurdles.  I’d forgotten I needed to dismount and as a result, when I did re-engage my brain I made a hash of it and went down with my knee taking the full brunt from the pedal.  I instinctively jumped straight up (why do falls always occur in front of an audience!) but straight away there was pain from my knee.  I finished the remaining few hundred yards and then pulled out, with my knee bruised and swollen.

I was disappointed with the outcome but more so with the though of how long until I was back to being able to ride again as I don’t seem to be a fast healer.

To my surprise the next day the pain had subsided somewhat and whilst the swelling remained I was now more hopeful of being ok for next weeks round.

Round 2 Saturday 6th October – MK Bowl

Last weeks crash and subsequent knee injury had healed sufficiently during the week to not allow me the luxury of using it as an excuse after today’s race.  The overnight rain had made the off camber sections challenging with one section being named ‘death corner’.

As a result of my daughter announcing that she was hungry 5 mins before the start and me having to sort her out, I found myself on the start line with only about 5 riders behind me. This meant waiting at the first bottleneck and I spent most of the race trying to catch up with people who I should be racing with.

Finished 54th out of 100

Round 3 Sunday 14th October – Hemel Hempstead

Its funny how your mental state can have such an impact on a race.  With Hemel being my favourite round from 2011, I was up for this race as soon as I’d finished the MK Bowl race the previous week.

Luck was also on my side as the gridding was a bit of a let down and I found myself on around the 4th row in what was a field of almost 150.  Inevitably a number of riders came past me before we hit the first narrow section but I settled down and managed to fish in front of a number of riders who were ahead of me at the Bowl.

Finished 59 out of 150

Round 4 Sunday 21st October – Abingdon

Due to the time it was going to take to get to Abingdon I decided not to race, however this had a detrimental effect on my training as I slackened off and lost motivation.

Round 5 Saturday 27th October – Brackley

Having not really ridden much in the previous 2 weeks I wasn’t too hopeful for this race and was in a very negative state of mind – I don’t think the almost freezing temperature helped matters.  This somewhat changed after a couple of practice laps as I warmed up and found the course to my liking.

Once again I was slow off the start and it took me over 1 lap to catch a number of riders who were just behind me on the start line.  I spent the 2nd half of the race duelling with another rider who was faster than me on the straights but who I seemed to have the better of on the technical sections, particularly the hurdles.  With the hurdles being just 2 turns before the finish I knew if I could get in front of him on the hurdles on the last lap there would be insufficient time for him to pass me.  As we approached the hurdles for the final time I was ideally positioned on his wheel, unfortunately a lapped rider was also negotiating them and there was no where for me to pass.  I gave it my all but was half a wheel behind on the line.

Finished 47th out of 85

There is now 2 weeks of no racing which will hopefully give me time to regain my motivation and try and spend a few sessions improving my starts.

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In Bits

Decided that the CX bike deserved a bit of an overhaul before the racing started on 30th September as use it throughout the year with slicks as a general training bike.


  • BB
  • Chain & Cassette
  • Wheel bearings
  • brakes
  • Brake & gear cables
  • bar tape
  • Chain catcher (actually won this in Corley Cycles competition during TDF)

As ever it was left until the last minute and the plan was to fit all bits on the Monday afternoon of the week of the race.  However, all didn’t go to plan I wasted a good few hours on the BB as the driveside would not budge.

It actually got worse than this before it came out!

It eventually took until Wednesday until it was all fitted and followed wrapping, unwrapping and re-wrapping the bar tape more times than I care to remember.

That just left a few days to use the bike on the turbo trainer to check gears was spot on and 1 ride outside to ensure eveything else was fine and wasn’t about to fall in to 100 bits at the first race………………..we’ll wait and see.

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Heart Rate and Illness

Training has been going well for the past month and I have noticed the improvement in fitness.

Last Tuesday I was out riding some hill reps with the aim of building my heart rate up to over 90% max as I hit the end of the 2 minute effort (this was done on the lower part of the 3 Locks climb for anyone than knows MK/Leighton).  For me this was 166bpm but as hard as I tried, by the end of the 6 reps I hadn’t got any higher than 162bpm.  I’d done the same workout (albeit only 5 reps) the week before and had no problem going over 166bpm.  I put it down to not having recovered enough from Sunday’s ride which was hard and very hot.

The following Thursday I had planned an anaerobic endurance session which again would see me trying to build to 166bpm, this time over a 4 minute period and on the flat.  There would be 4 minute recoveries and this would be done 5 times.  Once again I couldn’t raise my HR high enough and after 3 reps called it a day.  I felt perfectly fine within myself and wondered if I’d over trained, although I’d built up gradually so was sure this wasn’t the cause.

I decided not to do any exercise on Friday and on Saturday did a weights session in the morning and an easy xc run in the evening (Thunder and heavy rain but that’s another story!).

On awaking Sunday I didn’t feel 100% but as I’d agreed to meet friends for a group ride decided to ride nonetheless.  The ride was steady with a few efforts and a fast last 10 miles after my 1st cafe stop in 2 years!  I felt perfectly fine and had noticed on a couple of occasions that my HR had been high when racing for signs/hills.

Come Monday though I felt pretty rough, sore throat and aching muscles.  By Tuesday I was feeling much worse and left work at lunchtime.

Sitting here on Tuesday evening it would appear that the signs were there a week ago.  I’ve read various articles about how heart rate can be used to indicate illness but never really given it much thought……………until now.

Of course, I’ll never know if taking it easy after last Tuesday’s session would have meant I avoided being ill and I’ll therefore wait with anticipation for the time I’m unable to raise my heart rate to test it out!

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The medals keep coming

Runners up medals in mtb, Time Trial & Road Racing

Last race of Team MK Youth Challenge Summer series and medal preantation.  New bike too.

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Wind, Rain and a (little) bit of Sun

Since returning from Holiday in June training has gone well, although as most people have experienced of late most rides seem to be greeted with rain or/and wind.  Thankfully and most unusually this hasn’t put me off and actually thinking back to the past few weeks I haven’t got too wet.  The few occasions I’ve gone out in the rain, the temperature has meant I’ve left the waterproof where it belongs at this time of year.

Damp and windy morning in Winterton

I’ve also continued with a bit of running, not going further than 6-7 miles but have increased the intensity in line with what I’ve been doing on the bike.  Not entirely sure where the running will lead to yet but it breaks up the cycling.
Had my 1st ride of the year with LBRCC on 1st July which made for a fastish 55 miles, with a more leisurely 10-15 miles either side to meet up/ride home.  Plan to join them most weeks where possible.
No new purchases to speak of, other than the boring stuff (energy bars/drink, lube).  Although have won a couple of prizes so far in the Phil Corley Cycles daily TDF competition – a rotor chain catcher which will be fitted on a rainy day (so prob tomorrow) and a Cateye Micro Wireless computer that my daughter (Molli) will use.
Molli is also starting to look slightly big on her road bike so will need to look at replacing soon – she probably deserves as is beating me 15-0 in races so far this year!
I’m off now to see if any of the future Phil Corley competition prizes happens to be a junior road bike.
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June in Numbers

  • No. of Rides = 13
  • Miles Ridden = 376
  • Longest Ride = 78.64
  • No. of Runs = 7
  • Miles Run = 51.59
  • Days away on holiday with no bike = 7
  • Amount of rain = lots
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Doesn’t time fly…………………..

Just noticed that it’s approaching 2 months since I posted on here.

Since then I’ve completed the Evans MK sportive – unofficially as it sold out a few days before the event and ………………………………that’s about it.

Whilst still recuperating from my damaged ribs I had a mouth ulcer at the back of my throat for around 2 weeks.  I’ve had ulcers before but on the sides of my mouth and it’s then fairly easy to avoid the pain by eating on the opposite side.  However, with one by my throat it was impossible to avoid – eating, drinking and just swallowing was painful.  Whilst this obviously didn’t physically prevent me from riding I felt pretty miserable so for a 2 week period I rode twice, a total of 24 miles!

I then took a step back and have spent the last month building back up and am once again happy with my riding.  Got back on the mtb for the 1st time in 8 weeks last weekend, forgot how much  of an upper body workout you get!!  Also been doing a bit of running – am up to 7 miles and don’t plan to increase it by much, although I’ll be away for a week without a bike so will go running a few times to get the exercise fix.

I have also marshalled a few times at the LVRC crit road races which has helped bring back enthusiasm for riding.

The plan for the next few months is to build up fitness ready for the cx season, the 1st race is 30th September.  During this time I may have a go at a TT and a crit race in August in preparation for the CX.

Until then………………….

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