Sidelined at Round 12 of the Central Cyclocross League by injury and a broken bike, Tim has sent in this review of cyclocross:

Having to sit out the last Ccxl race of the season after a training ride crash means no race report from me. Instead I have listed…

Ten things I have (re)learned this season…

 

  1. If you want to compete for the top 10, you need a pit bike.
  2. If you want to finish a race when it gets muddy, you need a pit bike.
  3. You need a pit bike.
  4. Waterproof trousers are great. So are wellies. You can’t have a big enough bucket (to dump muddy kit into after the race). A sheet of tarpaulin lining the boot/back seat of your car is very handy, gangsters know this. I think you are unlikely to come across many gangsters at a cyclo-cross race. That’s much more likely at a road race; Bruce Reynolds, mastermind of the Great Train Robbery, was a decent TT rider. Pretty much every soul I’ve met at a cross race has been lovely, that cannot be said of all cycle races.
  5. Don’t do a recce of the course on your race bike, especially if you don’t time to clean it before the race starts (see 1-3).
  6. Good tubular tyres are best for racing. They may well be a pain in the arse, but they are worth the money and the hassle. My training crash was a result of a front wheel pinch flat in a clincher. A tubular won’t come off the rim when it punctures, as long as it’s glued on properly. Two layers of glue on the rim, two layers of glue on the tub, tub tape on rim with another layer of glue on top, layer of glue on tub. Seat tyre and inflate. Belt and braces.
  7. You get really good at cleaning and lubing a bike quickly after a race. Really good. If you don’t do this, pretty much every moving part will seize and you will have to strip down the bike and rebuild it before your next race.
  8. At some point you will turn up to a social event fresh from the shower but still with mud in your ear. You will likely have some sort of wound dressing under your clothes. The beer will taste amazing.
  9. It relies on the dedication of many people, who volunteer their time and energy to make the race day possible. They do all this (and then some) without receiving payment or expecting thanks, their work is frequently carried out in ankle deep mud and in cold pissing rain (see 4). Competition between riders is fierce, but after the chequered flag you are more likely to see people shaking hands than having a punch up.
  10. Despite the many frustrating mechanical issues I’ve had during the season, I like it even more than I did last year.