Another weekend, another two days of Cyclocross races for Team Orange. Once again we were spread all over the country and the continent – with a group of riders flying the spotty flag in Belgium again.
Saturday saw Phoebe, Tracey and Tomo head to the Notts and Derby League in some very cold and wet conditions at Markeaton Park. Here’s a little insight to Phoebe’s race in the rather testing conditions…
“Saturday’s NDCXL race was a tough one, a tricky course and freezing wet conditions. My hands were so cold I had to take my gloves off after one lap as I was sure they were making them colder! I couldn’t shift my gears! I then took an absolute slap down in front of the pits, banging my head hard on the frozen ground. I jumped up dazed and confused but managed to get going again. Fought my way back into the race once I’d stopped seeing stars. Not quite the results I’d hoped for but a mega battle with my teammate Tracey Fletcher”.
Phoebe managed a cracking results despite her get off, coming back with 2nd Senior Women and 5th overall, whilst Tracey was 1st Veteran and 4th overall in the Women’s race. Tomo raced in the same tough conditions to bring home 4th in the Vet’s category and then headed to the York Points Series on the Sunday where he placed on the podium in 3rd – a successful weekend for the Sheffield man!
Further down south, the Western League headed to Oldbury Court Estate in Bristol. Both local boy Sam Andrews and Nick took to the start line in the ever-more competitive Western League. Our boys both got cracking starts and led the race out early on, forcing the pace to try and spread the field out as much as possible. The muddy conditions made for a tough old day out and our boys made a good hard race of it, both managing to finish off well into the top 10, Sam A with a fine 5th and Nick not too far behind in 7th… good work boys!
Over the water in Belgium, Sam and Scotty were showing off their Magspeed Racing jerseys along with their trusty pit men, Stu and Nibbs (Sam’s dad)… First up was the Vlaamse Cyclocrosscup in Lichtervelde on Saturday. A race Stu and Scotty have been to before, based just outside the small Flemish town, a flat, rough and quite often windy circuit, this year it was pretty frozen after some very low overnight temperatures which continued into the day (very much different to last year’s mudfest). Scotty was off first in the Amateur A race at midday, the temperatures were low and the race was fast right from the gun! Scotty got a decent start from the back of the grid, soon to be messed up by an over-eager local rider who pushed him wide and nearly into the tape. Scotty got his head down and steadily reeled in the riders up the track, eventually finishing just outside the top 10. Up next, Sam, competing in the Junior category, in his very first race abroad. Starting from the back row of the grid Sam got a strong start and, unlike his teammate, he got through corner one without any mishaps. Up against some top local riders, Smithy used his head to make sure he wasn’t using too much energy too early on, on the now very windy course and our boy brought home a brilliant 5th place!
Sunday saw the boys head to the Superprestige in Zonhoven and what would be Sam’s biggest race to date. Up against some of the best Juniors in the world and racing on the same course as THE best Cyclocross riders in the world would later do battle, it was going to be an eye opener! The boys turned up in plenty of time and signed Sam on and it was then time for Scotty and Sam to pre-ride the course and get a feel for Zonhoven. It had snowed overnight, and the mixture of snow and sand made for a very demanding course – one that would keep all the riders on their toes. After a few practice laps, the day’s racing was ready to start and it was time to head back to the van and get ready for the 11.50 race. The pit crew headed to the race start in plenty of time and left Sam warming up under the watchful eye of Scotty and then it was time to head to the start. Placed 60th and last on the grid, it was going to be a big day out and right from the gun Sam got his head down and got a great start. Our boy used his strong running skills in the world famous Zonhoven bowl, to make up plenty of places and he made his way all the way up to an amazing 28th position. Along with the Magspeed crew, Sam was also cheered on by a travelling 73 Degrees Cycles contingent who were on a weekend away watching the pros do their thing, much to Sam’s surprise as he climbed the massive sandy bank, hearing his name being shouted. Once finished the boys headed back to the van, a warm down for Sam and then back to the circuit to watch the best Cyclocross riders in the world… and yes, minds were blown, they were so very impressive to watch! once again, Belgium delivered…
The Christmas Holidays will be a busy period of training and racing for Team Orange, as they prepare for the upcoming final round of the National Trophy Series, and the National Championships, in January. So, let’s get muddy and have lots of fun doing it!!