Snow and Mud

The cyclo-cross season is coming to a climax, and the race for titles is hotting up, while the weather is getting distinctly colder and wetter, resulting in muddier courses, bikes, and riders. Adding to the mix, snow descended on the UK for the weekend of the penultimate round of the Cyclocross Trophy Series in Bradford, just to ensure that riders had to face every challenge possible during the 6 rounds.

With injuries, travel problems and other cycling related activities on, only Connie Hayes and Charlotte-Louise McGreevy were competing in the respective races, although Hannah Bayes was there to cheer the Liv AWOL riders on.

Bradford course - all quiet on pre-race day (photo: Phil Moir)
Bradford course – all quiet on pre-race day (photo: Phil Moir)

With plunging temperatures, a great deal of mud, and steep contours, the course was very challenging, and bike changes were frequent. Quoting Pat Hayes (DS), “Huge respect to our two riders at Bradford today Charlotte McGreevy and Connie Hayes, and big thanks to Hannah Bayes for coming to support her teammates on a horrible day. Well done to Charlotte, 13th in the U16 girl’s race. Good ride in demanding conditions“.

In response, Charlotte tweeted “What can I say, muddy! Cold! Not my day! Always another race“. Despite the self-criticism, this was a good ride, when many would have preferred to stay in bed. Taking to the field afterward in the women’s race was Connie Hayes, and again put in a strong effort, with a lot of carrying, running and steep climbing, finally finishing 22nd overall, 12th Junior.

Meanwhile, unable to get away to National CX, Emily Bridson described it as “luckily there was still a Jersey MTB XC race on this weekend“. The commitment of Liv AWOL riders to race in all conditions is impressive. She went on to recount the race.

Very, very windy and extremely slippery conditions due to overnight rain left an already challenging and hilly course very technical. I got taken out at the start and was on the floor within 5 seconds of the whistle blowing and had my bars twisted, but managed to get back on and make it round to the finish area where I got my bars straightened and started the job of catching up. I managed to chase all the way up to 9th overall (including elite men), finishing 1st Woman & 1st Junior. Without the crash, I could’ve been pushing up into 6th/7th place as my average speed was 0.001 mph slower than that of 7th. Really pleased with how I managed to control my effort to push on and capitalise where I knew I was strong and not get carried away with trying to move up too much too quickly as it was a long race over 1hr 20. Legs feeling good, now off to the Isle of Man for 2 weeks of cold, hard training!

Great race Emily! Hope you have a great time training on the Isle of Man.

Lauren Higham in Men's race at Stow Scramble (photo: Rab Austen)
Lauren Higham in Men’s race at Stow Scramble (photo: Rab Austen)

Also, Lauren Higham, unable to make it to Bradford, made every attempt to reach Ipswich for the Eastern League Round 12. And she did eventually! From her post on Facebook, Lauren said “Not the weekend I was expecting, but felt a bit better on Sunday and wanted to make the most of it. 4 hours to get to the Stow Scramble. Missed my race, but got to race with the Senior/Junior men – it was such fun and came 18th overall.” Actually Lauren was 5th Junior, and still got a BC point for her efforts!

Back to Regional Racing.. and 3 wins out of 3!

The weekend just past saw our cyclo-cross riders returning to local duty, attending three separate regional events. And each of them went on to win their respective races.

At Junior/Women level, Lauren Higham was at Push Sport Cross in Newmarket, maintaining her 8-streak 100% win record in the Women’s category (including Juniors).

Lauren Higham at Push Sport Cross (photo: Rachel Higham)
Lauren Higham at Push Sport Cross (photo: Rachel Higham)

Lauren reported, “After a delayed start due to an unfortunate incident at the end of the youth race, the Vet 50 men finally got underway shortly followed by the women and junior women. Regardless of the delay, I managed to keep warm on the rollers and was raring to go when the whistle came. My start was as good as I hoped it could be and before the first corner I had already pulled out a significant lead. Unfortunately, just after the first corner I misjudged the track conditions and lost my front wheel on a patch of ice, pitching myself into a nearby thorn bush! Before I could untangle myself, most of the women had gone past and I found myself at the back of the group. Luckily I was not hurt and my bike seemed undamaged so I hopped back on and began chasing. I maneuvered my way through most of the back markers very quickly but was only in fifth place (Thanks Dad for letting me know as I passed the pits!) as I neared the end of the lap. Just before the lap end, there were a set of steps that I knew I could take advantage of and as I drew near I could see the leading group of women. I left my dismount late and sprinted up the steps to regain third place and then made use of a couple of the vet 50 men to weave my way past the two lead women around the outside of the last corner. Louise Foley wasn’t going to let me get away though and she managed to squeeze through due to my nervous approach to the corner that I had fallen off on the lap before. I decided to take stock and follow her wheel for a while and to let myself get my breath back. Luck was with me when Louise had a backmarker ride into her back wheel, causing her to get stuck on a hill. I put in an effort and pulled away and from there I settled into my rhythm and didn’t have any further mishaps. In the end, it was a good race and it was great fun to race with the other women who I’d like to thank for checking I was alright after my off. A great course and an enjoyable event.

Charlotte McGreevy at Ford Manor Farm Cross
Charlotte McGreevy at Ford Manor Farm Cross

Meanwhile, Charlotte-Louise McGreevy was racing at Ford Manor Farm Cross in the East Kent League. After her win, she tweeted, “Great fun ride today at EK. Feeling much better. Not so fatigued. 3rd Junior 1st Girl“.

Iona Moir Lovelo Crossmas U16 winner (photo: John Orbea)
Iona Moir Lovelo Crossmas U16 winner (photo: John Orbea)

And lastly, Iona Moir was competing in Central League’s Round 13, the Lovelo Crossmas event, which saw many riders decked in tinsel and even several Santa beards, costumes and carrying toys attached to helmets! As if snow, mud, bridges, sand, gravel wasn’t enough of an obstacle! Despite a bike change that actually slowed her down rather than boost her speed, she held on to win by a comfortable margin.

Featured photo by Chris Kendall of Chris Kendall Photography and you can view all his Flickr photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/22117213@N05/

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