SRAM Notts and Derby CX Round 6
24th October 2009, Bramcote Hills Park | Report and Images: Joolze Dymond
Notts & Derby CX - R6 Bramcote Hills Park
On the last day before we officially plunged into winter, hundreds of riders poured into Bramcote Hills Park to take part in R6 of the popular Notts & Derby Cyclo cross league.
It was definitely a day of two halves as early conditions facing the younger competitors erred on the extremely damp side. As the day progressed the dull miserable conditions blossomed into a stunning myriad of golden hues as the sun poked from behind the dark foreboding clouds.
The course looked innocuous enough but for those in the know, each lap held a number of challenges that would give each and every competitor a thorough workout. The 3 km circuit strung the riders out on long straights before heading for skirmishes up in the woods. A series of short uphill efforts and descents followed by more straights, coupled with a dead turn or two and a couple of hurdles made it a tough and competitive circuit. Despite the rain, conditions under tyre were pretty firm, with just the occasional greasy section of grass throwing a spanner or two in the works.
A good turnout of keen youngsters got proceedings underway, with the under 10s & under 12s first to hit the course. Despite the thoroughly wet start, enthusiasm was high and next up were the youth riders, which saw Jake Ledger storm confidently round the 4 laps to take the win, with Kieron Tennyson coming in for 2nd just 20secs behind.
Catching up with Jake after his race he explained who it went:
"That was a very hard race, at the start there were the 3 of us, which quickly whittled down to just the two and then when we climbed into the woods, I thought I could get a gap, so went for it and gave it my all and it worked. I then spent the rest of my race just concentrating on getting round and keeping that gap, hard work all the way round!
The run up had to be the trickiest section it got quite slippery towards the end and it just took it out of you. Despite all the rain there's no mud, just wet so you had to be careful going round the corners".
First under 14 was James Shaw, taking 3rd in the overall race on his way to his age group victory, while Rosie Blount romped home in 6th overall the first girl over the line. Meanwhile Sarah Lemas scooped the under 14 win.
With the youth race done and dusted, the rain eased and it was soon time for the seniors, juniors & vets to get stuck in. 109 riders squeezed into the start grid, marked into 3 boxes, and soon a procession of brightly coloured riders flooded onto the equally colourful course. Autumnal colours, clashed and collided with a myriad of assorted club kits as the eager competitors headed off. The field quickly strung out, with ribbons of riders repeating patterns of sprinting, overtaking, climbing, descending and of course hopping off occasionally and running - all in pursuit of personal goals and for some the ultimate accolade of the win. After nearly 53 minutes and over 7 hard fought laps that pleasure went to Chris Metcalfe, who early on made his intentions clear and went for gold, leaving the rest of the field playing catch up as he dug in deeply:
"That was hard work, especially as I didn't mean to go off so hard at the start, but there was a gap at the beginning so I went for it. I thought Rob Parkin was with me, but turned out he wasn't, anyway once I got the gap I just had to keep pushing, there's no places for rest anywhere here so it just hurt all the way round. I could just see Matt Barrett out of the corner of my eye and I thought that maybe he and Rob were starting to get organised and were getting back to me, so I just had to dig in even more and just get on with it.
The tough bit was just keeping momentum on the steep bits. There were two run ups and jumping off and getting back on without losing that momentum was getting tougher and tougher as the race progressed, by the end it was enough to just keep putting one foot in front of the other! 50 mins enough? To be honest 30 minutes would have been enough!!!
I might have a go at the inter area's next week though to be honest I also like the idea of the Halloween cross, I think maybe it's the beer tent that attracts me to that one!"
Over 70 secs later Matt Barrett, holding off fast finishing Jamie Harris, came in to bag 2nd, while Harris scooped 3rd, as well as taking the honours in the under 23s. D. Cook coming home in 8th spot, claimed victory in the over 40s, with Dave Banks, taking his win in the over 45s. Aaron Marshall picked up the win in the junior race despite a tumble in the closing metres of the race.
Taking a confident win in the women's race was International mountain biker Kate Potter. Making her first ever foray into cyclo cross racing, having only just received a solid day of advice from Nick Craig the previous week, she declared her experience of the sport a big hit.
"For my first experience that was pretty good fun. I didn't really know what to expect, so I guess I was more concerned with concentrating on staying on the bike, especially round some of those slippery bends and trying to get a good workout. I gotta say I don't feel to great at the moment but I'm really pleased how I got on especially as I've never ridden a cyclo cross or a cyclo cross bike before. It was really good fun out there today and I reckon I'll have a few more goes now.
Hopefully I'll be using ‘cross to compliment my mountain biking. I have a few weaknesses that I need to work on and I'm hoping to use ‘cross to help iron some of those out. It's great being in the thick of the racing with all the guys, it's just like a World Cup, just chasing down riders in front. Great training for what's ahead of me next year on the WC circuit. So yeah I have to admit that today was great fun in a painful way, I'm more than delighted to have got through my first outing unscathed. Can't wait to get stuck in again!"
Wave after wave of riders sprinted for that final flag, as the race ebbed to it's conclusion, pools of riders cheered and clapped those coming in and all were eager to chat about the race and how they'd all fared. Next it was off for a hot cuppa to check the results and chat some more!
Many thanks to everyone involved with the running of this cracking series and thanks too for being every so helpful and lastly thanks to all the riders who provided some exciting racing!
Jake Ledger - Youth Winner - U16 - 4 laps
Kieron Tennyson - 2nd - 20secs
James Shaw - 1st under 14 3rd overall
Rosie Blount - 1st girl - 6th overall
Sarah Lemas - 1st under 14
Chris Metcalfe - 1st senior - 7 laps 52mins 59secs
Matt Barrett - 2nd - 1min 15sec
Jamie Harris - 3rd - 1st under 23 - 1min 20sec
D. Cook - 1st vet - 8th
Kyle Burleigh - 2nd u23
Oliver Watson - 3rd u23
Dave Banks - 1st V45
Chris Lecly - 2ndV45
Peter Turner - 1st - V50
Carl McDonag - 1st V55
Kate Potter - 1st Woman
Aaron Marshall - Junior Winner