Two reports this week. First up, Tim Bailey's report:

My second cross race of the season and I felt badly prepared for it. After a fourteen day spell working (and staying) in London with just one race and no training over that time I wasn’t expecting too much. Still getting used to a new category (grand vet 50+), tired from work and carrying the bottle of 10yr old single malt (mostly in my liver) that was a gift from Kate’s parents to celebrate my 50th birthday the previous week, I was just so happy to be part of the day having already missed two rounds out of four of the Central Cyclo-Cross League.

All the things that I love about cross racing were there to be appreciated, a peck on the cheek from a competitor’s wife, handshakes and warm greetings from guys I raced against for the last couple of years. Racers staying around to heckle/encourage others. The earthy smell of a muddy course. The sight of Nathan Gallavan blowing out of his arse and cursing my name. All good.

The NBRC had another good turnout, Nathan racing in the Novice, Aaron in the 40-49, Adrianna in the Womens’ and me in the 50+ (Dave G was there but carrying a chest infection so not racing-it is noteworthy than he looked in rude health and I didn’t hear him cough once- what a trooper!). Having said that, at least Dave turned up to make his excuses, unlike club Captain Neil Boddington who having recently purchased a cyclo-cross bike couldn’t attend this race because he’s taking pictures of his holiday in Spain and complaining that he feels ‘a bit tired’ from cycling. I expect the sun ‘is a bit too hot’ as well.

The weather was cold/wet or warm/sunny and changed by the minute to further muck up any pre planned tyre or clothing choices. The course was pan flat but technical and I decided to start on the Trek Crockett I had built up over the summer, it handled nicely on my course sighter and I hadn’t yet raced it.  Having a second bike (or pit bike) gave me confidence I could finish the race whatever happened and having not raced that set up I figured I would give it a go. I bought the frameset second hand for £200 and built it up from stuff in my shed. Cyclo-cross doesn’t have to be expensive, but I can’t think of a better way to convert cash into enjoyment (Pricey has his own guidelines on this matter- and frequently has the receipts to prove it. He is currently in Spain, taking pictures of his socks and shoes. The sun will never be ‘a bit too hot’ for him.

I made a good start, and was running up the front for the first lap in about 4th place and feeling okay. A couple of messy dismounts followed and I had a problem with my pedals clogging and had some trouble clipping in with my left foot and started to lose a fair few places. Towards the end I  pulled back some time but the clogging issue proved to be consistent throughout the race and cost me a higher finish.

I would like to say a big thank you to Nathan who did a great job in the pits passing me bikes (like he’s done it before- in fact like a total boss) and sorting out (like a pro) the one I had dropped off and thanks to him I was still in the running for a top ten finish at the end of the race. Cheers Stybar!

And here's Nathan Gallavan's report:

Seems to be a paragraph missing about riding into a bush Tim.... I was looking forward to that... :-)

Probably the worst/toughest race so far for me, which was annoying as I felt like i was carrying some good form after skipping last weeks event in favour of the NBRC hill climb and achieving a good result.

I arrived at the course in the middle of what appeared to be monsoon season, thankfully i'd thought ahead and had remembered to bring waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket.I managed to get about half a lap in on the course before being kicked off as one of the junior races was starting, which was enough to realise my tyre pressures were too high. I made my way back to the car park, and found Tim being moaned at about his car parking. Thankfully his bike handling is better (usually).

Realising I had about 20 minutes before the race start, I made my way back to the car, changed out of my soaking waterproof clothing and made my way to the start. I managed to get myself on the front again, but I didn't get the best of starts sitting in around 8th for the first lap. The technical nature of the course and the wet mud made it difficult to stay upright, and I lost time in a few sections I would normally have ridden more aggressively. I also had a number of problems clipping in as my pedals and cleats became clogged, on a course as technical as this not getting a cleat in straight away was far from ideal, especially when the banking and off camber bends came into play. I ended up doing much more running with the bike than i'd planned to. Both of these factors cost me a few positions over the course of the race, again irritating because i felt i had the legs to do better.

I eventually rolled in a disappointed 17th. The next round takes us back to the bowl on Saturday 22nd, hopefully that will be a better showing.

After my race, I stuck around to spectate and fulfill pit duties with Dave G. Almost immediately we did a wheel change for Aaron after he rolled a tub in the Vets 40 race. We got him off and going again, and he managed to pull back some places through the course of the race. 

For Tim's race, the Vets 50, we were on bike change duty. If you've never done a bike change in a cross race, it can only be described as terrifying. You need to be able to hold up the new bike whilst at the same time catch the one that's being dismounted. Get it wrong and you'll either get hit by the oncoming bike, or worse, mess up your club mate's race by not releasing or dropping the new bike as they run through the pit area. Fortunately the changes were smooth, and in between we had time to de-clog the old bike ready again, helping Tim to finish 11th overall.

The women's race ran concurrently with the V50. The field was strong, and Adrianna looked to have had a good race riding into 13th place completing a good day for NBRC in tough, testing conditions.

To sum up today, cross is hard, but I am still bloody loving it.

Tim's summary of the event results:

Novice- Nathan. 17th

Vet 40-49- Aaron who was looking strong but rolled his rear tub costing him a lot of time, 40th

Womens- Adrianna, 13th

Tim- Vet 50+, 11th