My calendar is telling me that today’s cyclocross race is the last one for me in 2011. A diary clash takes out my ‘local’ race at Meadowmill, the championship race at Auchentoshan requires a full race license (£36) which is too pricey, and the final race is on Mull in December – not an attractive proposition, given the weather last December.
I’ve had a good time in my first season of cyclocross. I completed all four races I entered – 3 rounds of SCX plus the Hallocross race. I’ve learned lots about racing – momentum, pacing, fuelling. I got plenty of practise stripping down my bike and rebuilding it in between races. I built my wheels from scratch and raced on them. And last, but not least, no injuries!
The limiting factor was always race fitness. Sure, technique and bike make some difference. But ultimately I struggled to maintain pace across the whole hour. I’d set out trying to conserve energy and be sensible, but would always fade in the last quarter of the race.
It’s mindblowing to see how fast the top guys are. They’re fast everywhere. And they’re as fast on the final lap as they are on the first. Given the not-insignificant amount of training I did this year between Alpe d’Huez and SCX, it’s sobering to see people delivering racing laps 50% faster than I can do.
Still, I definitely did a lot of fun cycling in 2011. Alpe d’Huez: done. Cyclocross: done.