Here's John's report on the seventh round in the Central Cyclocross League.

The weather gods were kind again for my third foray into the world of Cyclocross at the good looking venue of Shuttleworth College, near Biggleswade (and Old Warden airfield – an occasional NBRC club run café stop).  Bright sunshine and a lack of rain for the days leading up to the event promised a course in healthy condition – it was a bit chilly though and the assembled riders were all positioning themselves in the sunny spots to bask while waiting for the grid to form!

Icknield Road Club (the round organisers) published the proposed course online ahead of the race so I’d spent some Google map time convincing myself that this wasn’t going to be my CX wake-up call.  Following good results in my first two Novice category races on ‘home turf’ at the MK Bowl where I felt familiar with the course (I’ve ridden the Bowl many times in MTB races - although some years ago), I was under no illusion that I had to treat this one with respect ….

Ducking under the tapes to get onto the course for some practice revealed a layout that worked really well to offer me some recovery during the race!  A reasonably long climb with some tough sharp ramps got my heart rate up, followed by a couple of shallower dips and ramps to roll up to the top from where there was a twisty descent into the arena again.

I kept my eyes peeled for my fellow racer Nathan as we assembled for the start but unfortunately he was unwell this week so couldn’t race.  As I moved forwards behind the other starters I felt the calming hand of ‘CX Grand Master Bailey’ on my shoulder and with his encouragement off we went.

My plan was simple – get a good start if possible then pedal a lot to start with so at least people had to make more effort to pass me and lastly try and recover where possible!

It went well.  I estimated I was Second place for Lap 1 and kept my head down as we went across the timing mat into the next circuit!  Lap 2 saw me passed by two riders who vanished into the distance and left me holding Fourth spot, so I focussed on trying to maintain my position - helped by the course layout which offered the chance to keep an eye on who was behind me.  I kept it up fortunately and crossed the finish line in a fantastic Fourth place with Tim shouting support!  Bike into car in big rush as I had to find a jet wash on the way to the bike shop in Daventry as my forks (fork?) were off to Cannondale on Monday for a recall and I needed to remove the copious and tenacious sheep nuggets clustered on my bike tyres on the way ….

But fate still had a card to play ... tipped off by a comment from Tim on Strava I checked when I got home and it turns out I was Third overall and due to my quick departure I missed my moment of podium glory!  D’oh! Another CX lesson learnt.  And my wife has not yet let me forget it.

Tim got another great result under his belt with a 7th in the Vets and his points tally is growing nicely – I’m determined to stay on next time to cheer him on and see the spectacle of a full on CX points category race. Adriana, Dave and Aaron didn't ride this round so no update on their result this time aroun