So the Liv AWOL Cyclo-cross riders have been in action at two National Trophy rounds and various regional races over the last three weeks, and despite all appearances, last weekend threw the riders into “The Perfect Mud” at the Shrewsbury round of the National Trophy Series. But before that came round 2 of the series, in Abergavenny.
Conditions in Abergavenny were bright and clear, and Liv AWOL had all four Junior/U23 cross riders racing in alongside the Elite Women. There were a few crashes that split the race up, but some good strong performances from the team saw Sarah Lomas coming in 12th overall (5th U23), Lauren Higham 17th (6th Junior), Emily Bridson 28th (11th Junior) and Connie Hayes 37th (14th Junior). In the U16 race, only Charlotte McGreevy was racing for the team, putting in a great effort and finishing 8th.
It was back to regional racing the following weekend. On the Saturday, the rain came down on riders at the Eastern Cyclo-cross League round 8 at West Suffolk. The ground has quite a clay base, so although it wasn’t too muddy, it did become quite slippery. The Youth race kicked off first with Charlotte McGreevy making her Eastern debut taking the win from the league regulars, and Iona Moir fighting on to get 5th. In the women’s race, Lauren continued her domination of the Women’s (and Junior) category with her 5th win out of 5. Connie Hayes unfortunately did not finish.
Better weather on the Sunday but no rest for the Youth girls, with Iona Moir having a troubling double dropped chain at Shuttleworth for round 7 of Central League, but still finishing 4th. And at Northbourne for round 3 of East Kent League, Charlotte McGreevy ensured her double win weekend.
The weather certainly didn’t hold out for the following weekend, and light rain, vets races and plenty of riders in attendance on the Saturday for reccy rides, the course at Shrewsbury for round 3 of the National Trophy Series was already looking pretty cut up. But these are the conditions that cross riders live for! Sticky mud and a challenging course was not going to make the race easy, and prolonged rain overnight may have got the riders excited, but mechanics and parents manning the pits, there was not going to be much of an opportunity to watch the race.
Charlotte and Iona were first up in the Youth category, and were busy slogging their way around the course. Pits were busy with changes every lap or half lap at times. Charlotte continued her top 10 success from round 2 with another excellent 8th place finish, and 20th for Iona. A good effort from Iona in her first ever mud fest!
The Women were once again all riding together, and the race did not go well for Lauren Higham who crashed in the sprint from the start line. Her race ended there, and despite being attended to in the ambulance, Lauren is okay and now on the mend.
Emily, Connie and Sarah all fought on through the mud for Liv AWOL and again some good results were posted, along with some beaming smiles from the sick pleasure of racing in mud. Sarah improved on round 2, with a 11th place this time (9th U23), Emily 31st and just missing out on points (12th Junior) and Connie 33rd (14th Junior). These were really good performances in hard conditions.
Next National Trophy Series round will be at Gravesend Cyclopark in Kent on Sunday 26th November.
Featured photo by Huw Williams