Another Sunday, another cross race. The day started with Daniel’s race, for which we arrived two hours early. This was entirely my fault as I was driving and had totally miscalculated the start time. Still, we had a great time cheering for the veterans and U12’s from Welwyn Wheelers and CC Ashwell who took to the track in earlier races.

Soon enough it was time to get focused. We walked the course to get a better idea of the lines and therefore tactics to be employed in our races. Then all that was left was to ride the course and put these ideas into practice.

After just one warm up lap we were caked in mud. The previous races had cut up the clean grass surface, which combined with the persistent rain formed a boggy, cloying, squelchy mess.

I watched Daniel fight his way to a well-earned 8th and then it was my turn. This time I was gridded on the third row, my friend Alex alongside me. Alex is a member of Welwyn wheelers and we race together most weekends. As the whistle went I watched him jump away with a near perfect start.

At a particularly muddy patch riders had to do their best to stay upright. I consolidated my position (of 15th) before pressing on and entering into a hard three-way battle with riders from Ipswich and Vicious Velo. The Ipswich rider pulled away from us but just as I was about to give up he fell and it was all square once more.

Transitioning from the rainswept field to the uphill slog through the forest our ‘triad’ continued to fire shots at each other. I took the lead as we crested the hill, leading to the most technical part of the course. The twisting descent was covered in mud. I pushed on to try and force an error from the pair behind me but it was my turn to fall, probably because I hadn’t deflated my tyres enough.

Leaping back up I chased on as the Ipswich rider took his chance. He distanced the Vicious Velo rider but we worked well together to catch up to him. Just as we’d caught up I took another fall. As I was getting up I noticed two things. I was tired. Probably too tired to catch up to the pair now. And, there was a lot of blood on my legs.

Fortunately (you’ll be glad to hear) I had not really hurt myself. The blood was coming from a nose bleed that had been caused by the amount of exertion I was putting in. Commitment indeed!