There’s a bit of a cyclocross lull in the South East during early November. I’d had a couple of good results at the end of October (including a win at Rapha Super X) and I was feeling ready for more racing, so I hoped that resting my legs for a few days wouldn’t prove to be a bad idea.

Unfortunately, rather than being a chance to recharge my batteries and focus on my training, it’s actually been a time of stubborn illness with a frustrating lack of quality bike-time, a recurring theme this season, it seems.

Things are finally improving, but my first race back after a three week break was a painful affair, although it ended better than I’d expected.

Redgrave is a new course to me, flat with a long tarmac out-and-back and some testing off-camber switchbacks. The conditions were good and I lined up alongside my usual rivals hoping that I hadn’t lost too much form.

I had to work hard to stay close to the early leaders (Ross Tricker of Elmy Cycles and Tim Guy of Iceni Velo) but after three or four laps I was feeling stronger and felt like I might be there until the finish…

The course was drying out as the race went on and the best line was changing every lap. It was now down to Ross and me, with Tim Guy a few seconds back. Ross, a former downhill racer was quick through the corners and it was this that proved decisive in the sprint for the finish, as he got the better of me on the final switchback before the line.
I gritted my teeth, but the strength and snap just wasn’t there and I reached the flag a couple of meters back, disappointed not to have got the win in the end, but fairly pleased to have been in contention after a few grotty weeks.

Some serious training scheduled now, so I’m ready for the last few crucial league races and the Regional Championships in two week’s time.

Wish me luck!

Photo credit: Bart Wallbank, Hackney GT