A little late but here’s a couple of race reports from Gloucester. A lot of great efforts from everybody in very difficult conditions, esp MKR with a win and 2nd and Noah who just missed the podium on Saturday. Also thanks to Tom Doucette for helping with the tent.
Adam Walton – Sunday Cat 4 35+
The Gran Prix of Gloucester lived up to expectations, the best all-round course I’ve ridden with many challenging features including the beach, run-ups, off-cambers and short, sharp climbs. I rode the warm-up in the relative dry but between then and the start, the heavens opened and the course quickly turned very muddy. Fortunately, I had upgraded my wheels/tires during the week, thanks to the generosity and guidance of Mike Rowell, and was running on Tufo Cubus tubulars. Compared to my Mud 2 clinchers these tires are tank tracks – my front wheel never slid out once and the rear wheel didn’t spin on even the slippiest climb – the traction was incredible. This helped me to my second consecutive race without falling off the bike and led to my best placing so far. I did lose my chain on lap 1 (for reasons I still don’t understand) and I lost around 12 places at that time, so the chain catcher I have on order can’t arrive soon enough. During the clinic with Helen Wyman in the week I finally learnt the ‘flying’ remount and was able to use this to my advantage during the race because there are numerous remounts on the Gloucester course. I didn’t master the beach section but managed to muddle through. Overall, Gloucester was my favorite race yet despite the weather.
David Green – Saturday Cat 4 35+
There’s a true saying that you get out what you put in, so after a summer mostly off the bike and only a few CX training rides I knew Gloucster was a tough first CX race of the year. But its Gloucester. So I was there early on Saturday in the wet and expecting to suffer. I rode the course early, slowly and still fell off, so it wasn’t looking good. I watched the 4’s make the mud even worse but Noah put in a great ride with the lead bunch and just missed the podium. So off to staging and lined up just behind Pete H and with John B and a few familiar faces. It was wet and cold, but not as cold as sometimes at Gloucester. Start was good, I made up several places and safely onto the course for real. First bit went OK, got passed by a few people and passed some of them back, the grupetto at the back is still competitive among each other. Steps, barriers and run up all safely negociated. Then bang, big crash down the small muddy drop not far after the run up when I hit the exposed rock. I knew it was there but was in traffic and missed the line. I was annoyed as I’d had problems there the year before when they had the flyover at the bottom so should have known better. Nothing hurt other than pride but bike bits twisted, put back in place but by then was well gapped and knew I had a long solo ride. The mud cut up and I struggled with traction as well as keeping upright so had a lot of running, or walking as the fatigue set in. I had a couple more minor spills when I tried to ride bits that were too much, but completed the course safely. One plus for the weather – the sand pit was easy. HR monitor said I’d worked really hard, but the result reflected the lack of prep.