Monday, 29 October 2012

cx western league round 6 - race report

yesterday's race was a disaster although the optimist in me says it could have been worse.  cutting straight to the chase there were 13 retirements due to snapped rear mech hangers including me, yes all in the same race!  one of the unfortunate victims told me in the car park after that last year there were 9 retirements due to the same reason!  i was struggling to figure out what it was that caused so many casualties, then as i was driving away from the course i pulled up along side james, a fellow racer, who I had met in stroud the previous week.  he pointed to the mix of mud with leaves which was certainly different to the previous weeks race that was predominantly made up of grass and mud.  these images taken by my sister only show some of the easier sections of the course.

leaves on the track in combination with deep mud may have been the problem although i was under the impression that is what cross is supposed to be all about?  the irony of this is that as i was racing through a wooded section made up of mud and leaves, i happened to shout to a spectactor 'damn leaves of the track!' in reference to the railways popular excuse for delayed trains.  turns out i was possibly identifying the source of mine and many others downfalls.  stroud the previous week had been nearly as muddy but there were a lot less leaves.  has anyone ever come across this phenomenon before?  to have 13 retirements from a field of roughly 40 riders, nearly a third of the starters, seems a freakishly large number of people to have come a cropper all for the same reason.

the race itself feels like a non-event.  i managed to race for 29 minutes until the point where the bike seized up causing me to stop abruptly on what was the end of a fast stretch of tarmaced road.  until that point i had been carefully grinding my way through plenty of deep mud where preferred lines were constantly changing.  i pushed hard through many areas where the rear wheel was spinning fast but i was not really moving far.  i also popped my cherry in terms of taking a tumble.  in the second half of lap one and with the race only just started my front wheel slid out as i turned a muddy corner, i came off and fell smearing my right leg in mud like a badge of honour.  with nothing damaged and with a smile of my face i remounted as quickly as possible thinking to myself that it was bound to happen sooner or later.

i did manage to stay upright after that until the point where my mech hanger sheered off.  there is not really much else to say about the race.  once i had untangled the broken rear mech and chain from around the wheel i got my stuff together and headed off.  the bike is now sat in my local bike shop cadence awaiting a new hanger, ultegra rear mech, chain, cables and a rear wheel true.  i am no mechanic so will leave this work to them and hope i manage to get through the remainder of the season without any more expensive mishaps.  if my bike gets fixed in time i might race in the western league round 7 in cheltenham this coming sunday.


James Britton said...

Hi Jason, not quite sure about my leaves theory... It was also quite clay like so that may have something to do with it?

It's amazing my rear mech didn't go also. After the race it was totally plastered.

I'm not sure if there is anything that could be done to stop it?

My tubs arrived today so I'll be racing on them next week. I'll be hoping I don't get another puncture.

See you next week hopefully.


Jason said...

hi james,

i agree, i'm not too sure about the leaves theory either judging by the amount of leaves that must currently be sat on most cx courses around the uk and yes the mud was very clay like so maybe that was the problem. anyhow, i am going to skip this course in the future if it is wet. cheers