WessexCX League Round 2 – Handsling Racing Report
Scott reports back from round 2 of the WessexCX League. Although it’s his second report, this was his first race of the season.
Wessex Cyclo-Cross League, Round 2. Romsey 10 September 2023.
After a week of swelteringly hot weather, the drive down to Romsey was worryingly wet, with reports of the heavens opening during some of the early races. The New Forest Outdoor Centre is a great, self-contained venue, with plenty of parking, and an excellent, flowing course.
The ground was hard as expected, with plenty of freshly-mown grass to contend with. In fact, by the end of the race, it looked like I’d gone to mow a meadow. Most riders stuck with dry/intermediate tyres, though a few went for mud tyres. It did stop raining for the v50 race.
And they’re off!
Now, I like a nice chat with my fellow protagonists on the starting grid. In fact, a couple of us were in hysterics over something or other when the commissaire must have whispered “30 seconds to go” as there was a flurry of clipping in, followed by a blast on the whistle. I managed to lose 7-8 places as I woke up, got going, missed my pedal and got going again. Made for a harder first lap as the field was huge (over 70 riders), and the course narrowed reasonably early on.
Still, I got past a few riders and then got into a nice little group. It’s always fun riding with 4-5 other riders as each has strengths and weaknesses. I quite like draggy climbs, some are faster round corners, and others are great at hopping the barriers. On lap three, the sun came out. With the humidity already high, I felt like my head was going to explode, so I backed off a lot. Looking back at the lap times, it seems that a lot of other riders must have felt the same.
Anyway, it cooled off a bit for the final two laps, so I got going again. Reeled in a couple more riders. Was just thinking that I might catch one more rider before the line, but felt a twinge of cramp and so took it easy for the final few hundred metres. Of course, if I’d overtaken that guy, I’d have bagged 20th place and an all-important BC point, but never mind.
WessexCX Rnd.2 done; what’s next?
This was my first race of the season and a benchmark for the rest of the year. I’m planning on riding a few of the National Trophy races in October and aiming to peak my fitness for then. I suspect that we’ll all be on mud tyres by then…
Read Scott’s second race report here.