Here is Tim Bailey's report on the weekend's cyclocross action

Being the only representative of the North Bucks at this round it falls on me to report on the latest round of the Central cyclo-cross league.

GC Henley hosted the eighth race of the league at Dinton pastures near Wokingham, a venue seventy odd miles from home. The week running up to this race I did no training because of a stinker of a cold that I picked up the previous week, it had moved from my head and settled in my chest in for the duration. I had snapped my chain riding to the station on Thursday morning (requiring me to shoulder my 10 kg fixie and run the last quarter mile to catch my train) on top of this I had also managed to strain a muscle in my back, somehow, in my sleep. Not feeling good about much, I had dragged myself to work all week so I figured if I could drag myself to the race it would cheer me up a little.

Although I wasn’t expecting too much, I wanted to race there again anyway as Dinton pastures was part of the calendar last season and I enjoyed racing there. Dinton is a disused golf course with an interesting variety of terrain. Arriving at the venue I realised I didn’t have enough change for the parking and had to resort to making an automated payment via mobile. This took so much time I missed the start and finish of the novice race (as it turns out John and Nathan didn’t race anyway) so I rolled out for a couple of sighting laps before the vet 40-49 race. The course rolled nicely over the former golf course and had a couple of quite technical sections, including two proper sand traps and a deep ditch. One section was particularly heavy, ankle deep mud all the way through it making it very hard going.

For the first time this season I had a front row grid position in a field of 42 grand vets (plus the womens’ field behind). The start straight was short and led to ramp up to an abrupt right hand turn onto the course proper then through a very narrow undulating section until the course widened. From the whistle four of broke away and quickly gapped the field. I had a really good start and was in third place half way round the opening lap before a messy dismount in the mud put me into 4th.

By lap three Dave McMullen (Cotswold Veldrijden) and Roy Chamberlain (Team Corley Drops) started to pull away, as did Grant Hughes-Dowdle (Team MK), I was caught and passed by Mark Booth (Team Club Corley) who had managed to bridge the gap. I didn’t have the legs (or lungs) this week to have a real dig so I followed Boothy, closely enough to keep him honest and hoping to capitalise if he made a mistake. I crossed the line in 5th place, nine seconds behind Boothy and around a minute off a spot on the podium. All in all, a fairly good result for me given I would have taken gladly a top ten finish before the start of the race.