Now, in full winter-mode the Cyclocross season heats up with three London League races and a National Trophy…
My first set of races went so well that I went into my second block of racing and training in a slightly over confident state – Leeds Castle was a proper reality check. From the moment we opened the car door the freezing winter wind hit us, chilling me to the bone regardless of the warm-up gear I had on. Reaching into the kit bag it was definitely a day for the insulation layer before Cameron and I set out for a sighting lap to set our tyre pressures.
The race itself was bonkers quick from the get go and I really struggled to find a rhythm – last year everyone was complaining about how rutted and bumpy the course was, but I didn’t feel that – this time it was causing havoc with my concentration. Eventually a few laps in I got my head into the right place and started to enjoy it. I managed to roll over the line in 14th place which wasn’t a complete disaster, but hopefully it’ll be one of my weaker results!
With a lot more concentration and a new tyre I headed to Cyclopark for one of my favourite course in the whole calendar – made more important this year because the upcoming round of the National Trophy is due one week later. I had everything sorted this time and immediately felt comfortable on the beautifully prepared course. Lots of good riders had turned up to try the course out so the first lap in the lead group was pretty intense.So intense that I really messed up a corner and lost about 10 places before I could get back on – I settled down and refocused!
I was running well in the sections that demanded it and despite lots of mud I was just about clipping back in each time! As the sun began to set the race sped up and I focussed on staying un-lapped after last week’s disappointment – after a fast last two laps I came home in 13th which in the present company was a cracking result – the fire was back and I got my head down to training and eating correctly before Penshurst on the following Saturday.
A Saturday race was a bit of a treat really – Penshurst is great fun and a new course was bonkers tough. Coming from a mountain bike background I was pretty much at home in the slop of Sussex clay that had worsened through the day. On the final lap I struggled to hold off an attack and unfortunately lost contention for 10th place, but a very solid 11th was a good start to the double header weekend – time to get home, wash the bikes and sleep!
The following day was the big one – a day to roll the dice. I pulled my foot out of the pedal on the first sprint which was a right balls up, but I stayed concentrated and worked my way through the back of the pack before too many of the fast lads went – being a part of the snake that was working its way around Cyclopark was amazing – a constant stream of 60 riders riding at such a high pace…it’ll be one of the things I really remember about this season. The Belgian’s that turned up showed everyone just how it’s done and the rest of us went home with an education!
London League Rd.8 – 14th Glen Whittington – 01:03:40 at plus 1 lap.
London League Rd.9 – 13th Glen Whittington – 00:59:45 at plus 5:51”.
London League Rd.10 – 11th Glen Whittington – 01:01:14 at plus 6:43”.
National Trophy Rd.4 – 48th Glen Whittington.
Photos by Glen Whittington, Cameron Preece and Pip Jenkins, Chris Lanaway and Dave Haywood and Richard Howes.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Wildside Cycles, Four4th Lights, Vee Tire Co, Praxis Works and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany.