With two feel good rounds under our chamois, it was time to head to Irvine Beach for Joksijde. The Walkers Cycling race is now part of SCX folklore, it’s a course like no other and one that always delivers. I shouldn’t need to tell anyone reading this about the course but in case you need to, please refer to last years review of this race here or alternatively here. And like last year, I would reiterate the point, “yep, I could race that course every week”
|Stevo in full flight and smiling (pic by the Press Room)|
After the balmy heat of the first two rounds we could be forgiven for speculating a lovely sunny day beside the seaside. Mother nature had other plans though and as the weekend got ever closer the weather warnings got ever more severe. Wind and cyclists have a peculiar relationship, it is very much like that slightly creepy, heavily fragranced aunty who demands a kiss at Christmas but then slips you a tenner when your mum isn’t looking. Today the wind was demanding a lot of kissing and in fact some heavy petting in a strictly one way relationship.
I’m getting into the earlier start of the V50 race, it gets it out the way and the courses are generally in better shape because they haven’t been hammered by all those fat V40’s. I did however get myself into a bit of a flap and it all became a mad rush for the line in the end. Now as we all know the start is a pretty crucial element of cross racing, you certainly don’t win from the start but you can very easily lose. Bizarrely it was announced that we would all start together (J/50/W) and if that wasn’t odd enough the gridded women were put in behind the gridded V50, this added another layer to getting a decent start and was a real blow for the un-gridded women more than the old blokes as they had to hustle for position amidst grumpy old men. The resulting start was messy, we all charged into the switchbacks and farcically attempted to find our place. I may have swore here and said some unpleasant things, I’m sorry if I offended anyone.
|Ainsley, calm collecting some more points (pic by the Press Room)|
I love this course as I think I have mentioned on numerous occasions. The off camber sections, the big dipper, the sand, the bumpy lumpy singletrack, its got it all. Today it also had a brutal wind that tore away any rest you might have got on the descents and pummeled you with sand and sea at every opportunity. I tried to get into a rhythm but it was so fucking hard to keep momentum going at times that my head went up and down like a demented yoyo. After a couple of laps out on the furthest of the off camber section I thought I felt my rear tub roll, I pedaled on and looked down it seemed to be rolling fine, I then forgot all about it. A wee group had got together and it was hard to shake riders off with the weather, Billy McCord snuck past and pulled one of the Angus Bike Chain guys with him but they were still within clear sight for the duration of the race as I did battle with another couple of dudes, whose names I haven’t worked out yet.
Last lap and at that same place I got the squirm from the rear tub only this time it wrapped itself around the wheel and I ground to a halt, fuck fuck, fuckity fuck. I floundered around attempting to pry it back onto the rim, this was a big mistake as I wasted way too much time, I attempted to run it back but by now my legs were fried and my run resembled a death march, slowly riders of every age and shape passed me as I hauled myself to the pits, grabbed a bike and finished the last couple of hundred metres. I was disappointed I wont pretend. In other news, first time crosser Campbell Hall managed to get round one of the toughest rounds in one piece which is mighty impressive, I think he may have got the bug. .
|Steady does it for Addy (pic by the Press Room)|
A quick change and reloading of the car and I was out to watch the V40 cavalry charge, damn there are so many of them, I missed the start but can only imagine what it was like. Our guys seem to be doing battle mostly with each other in this category; we were missing Gavin May and Simon Muir who are usually the fastest of our 40’s so it was up to the rest. Everyone finished (except another first timer Bikelove Carl) and speculated the glory of the mid pack hustle.
No sooner had they finished than the seniors were off, another packed field and they were blessed with probably the worst of the weather. Our seniors are having a great run this year and this race was no different, Stevo, Graeme, Ian, Addy, Simon, Steven and Gareth all turned up for this one and made there presence felt. Meanwhile at the front Rab Wardell was wondering what he was going to do to shake off Grant Fergusson who made a rare appearance. The answer was nothing, a season of racing at world level has certainly put a gap between Grant and his domestic rivals. He stepped up a gear and cruised his way around never looking particularly phased by the weather or the effort, a different class. By the end of the race Grant had lapped the entire field right up to 3rd place! That third place was held by our own Steve Halsall who is having another great season as is Graeme Warren with another top ten finish, in fact all of our seniors are riding themselves inside out, mucho respect, 7 riders in this category, possibly the best represented club out there.
Irvine was over for another year and despite the weather I am already missing it. It goes without say, well done to Walkers Cycling.
How we doing.
Maddy Robinson 3rd
Ainsley Turbitt 10th
Colin Shearer 10th
Chris Duncan 18th
Campbell Hall 30th
Martin Steele 45th
Davie Graham 46th
Russell Stout 48th
Fraser Waters 52nd
Chris Marquis 59th
Carl Lottering-Geeson dnf
Steve Halsall 3rd
Graeme Warren 7th
Gareth Jones 8th
Addy Pope 16th
Stevie Turbitt 18th
Ian Dunlop 19th
Simon Fairful 24th