Just when you think you’re going well man-flu strikes and fucks with your chi…
Gunpowder Park should have been a relatively easy one – just flow the wheels, ride it like a road race, get some points and get a good grid position. Then on the Tuesday before the man-flu bites and I know I’m in trouble. Downing as much honey tea and eating as much fruit as I can, helped a little, but when race day came round I was still not right – oddly cold and distant!
Therefore I started at the front and quickly made my way backwards! After two laps I actually started to slip into a rhythm and began to overtake people, making my way back to Craig Joy (PMR) and Chris (Fruit4London). On lap five however, in my new found haste I took a ditch way too fast and blew out my front tyre, wrecking my race and my chances at a decent gridding in future.
A week later and I’d struggled to rid myself of the flu until the Friday before, slowing my training down but not stopping it completely – I’d got plenty of running in. On my practice laps I tried both the mountain bike and the cross bike and couldn’t really make up my mind, with hindsight I think the mountain bike would have worked well in the early stages of the race, where I got boxed in by a really slow group of ten or so riders. Each of the riders were attacking one another and slowing the whole group down.
After what seemed frustratingly like forever I and a few of the regular faces in the group made our way to the front and got on with working to move forward. Stuart Spies and I had suffered a big handicap, but we were now free to fight with Jonathan Dennis and Philip Lenney (Activ). I was now seriously suffering in the 20 degree heat and I owe a huge favour to Pete Lawence and Jo-Anne Perry for the water they kindly handed up (not normally permitted, but due to the heat the rule was relaxed).
After squeezing half a bottle over my head and then realizing I was wearing a Lazer Aeroshell, I made my way past both of the riders. Phil instantly came back at me and the three of us traded blows for the next four laps. Racing with these guys was completely different to the first half of the race – we were racing hard, but cleanly, so as not to slow each other at all. In the last lap Lenney accelerated away, but I was just hanging on. Dennis made his way past me and then dropped his chain – he then spent the last kilometer chasing after me.
I don’t really know if it were my technique over the planks or my lack of speed but somehow Dennis managed to get back onto my wheel and then stupidly I didn’t get the door closed before the final long bend – sprinting my way around the bumpy outside line was just too much and they both piped me to the post to leave me in down in 15th position. I was kicking myself for the last lap or so, but on the whole I’m happy with how I dealt with my poor start and grid position, which should now be improved for next week.
Ben Sumner (Beeline)
James Flury (Vicious Velo)
Tim O Reagan (Dunboyne)
67. Glen Whittington (SDW)
Matt Holmes (Arctic)
Liam Earl (Corridori)
Kristian Borbely (Cyclelab)
15. Glen Whittington (SDW)
Photos by John Mullineaux and Paul Burgoine.
Glen rides a pair of Boardman Elite ‘Cross bikes in the London CycloCross Association League. He rides a Colnago Master and races a Scott Addict at local road races, all of which are available via The Velo House. He races a KTM Aera Pro 27.5 hardtail in the UK National Points Series and the Eastern XC Series. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, KTM and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY. He’s also supported by Lazer helmets and Boardman Elite. The KTM team is supported by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.