CCXL Round 2 – Handsling Racing Report
CCXL Round 2. Blackpit Brewery, Silverstone 23 September 2023
Another new venue added to the ever-growing list of Central Cyclocross League (CCXL) courses. And what a fantastic place this is. Yes, it’s a brewery, yes they had lots of food and cycle stalls, and yes they had proper loos. All of those are important at different times; and important to visit them in the correct order on race day. The race circuit for CCXL Round 2 was a good mix of grassland, woods and some tarmac.
After crashing out the previous week, and being ‘awarded’ 61st place for my pains, I was gridded 61st this week. Felt like I’d been doubly punished! Still, blast from the whistle by the commissaire and I had to wait a good few seconds for the seven rows of riders in front of me to get going. Overtook a few on the start straight, a few more in the first switchbacks (mostly by getting off and running around the knots of riders) and a few more still as the race got going. In fact I probably gained 30 places by the end of the first full lap. Then the mechanical gremlin struck.
CCXL Round 2 sees the return of the mechanical
Well, actually the guy behind me struck my back wheel on a turn and my tub rolled half off. Pushed it back on and limped back to the pits half a lap later, losing around twenty places in all. So, off I went again, and made up a bunch more places. Came in 34th in the end, a net gain of 27 places. Pleased enough with that as I had good legs and generally picked good lines.
Hopefully I’ll get a better gridding next time out, and I won’t crash or lose a tyre. I do prefer riding with tubs (tubular tyres), and I’m normally fastidious when it comes to checking that they’re glued on properly. Of course, the one time I didn’t check was the one time they failed. I did have some dry-ground tyres on, but a rider from an earlier race told me that intermediates or pumped-hard muds would be better, so I pulled some wheels with those tyres out of their wheel bag. I remembered later that I probably hadn’t ridden those wheels since last season’s National Champs, which were axle deep in water in several places.
A new venue, how was it?
Great venue, great organisation and great facilities. In fact, the only complaint I heard was from someone trudging back to the car park, moaning about how the queue at one of the trade tents was “over 50 people long”. When asked what they were queuing for, our hero said, “the free beer”. As mine was the last race off, I hope that most of that queue was filled with the volunteers and helpers. Cheers to you all, whether you drink beer or not.
Look out for another report soon from Scott as he battles mechanical gremlins, others riders and soon, mud. Scott rides a brace of Handsling CEXevo bikes for Handsling Racing.