National Cyclocross Championships Jan 2020
A great Update from lindy ref her National Championships 2020
I entered the nationals last year thinking it would be a once in a lifetime event, something to keep in the memory book. So when the entry went live to enter for this year, I was in two minds to enter again. I spoke with David and Alex (who said they’d give it a miss this year) and they said go for it, they offered to be pit crew for the weekend. I’ve had a really good season of racing and felt fitter this year so thought, why not! If I could do it the year before, why not again?!
Got accepted to race. Oh dear. That actually means I get to race in a national race. Can’t do this. Oh well, it’s a few weeks away. Cue David and a quick bike service… (I honestly have no idea what to do with my bike) and we were ready for National Champs.
We knew a load of the Wessex riders would be there racing in the different categories throughout the weekend and would be there to support each other so we said we’d make a weekend of it. David, Alex and myself load up the Rav 4 (actually that’s a lie, I was faffing about in the house whilst the guys packed the car) and headed to Shrewsbury!
We had been looking at all the social media coverage of the course and knew this would be tough. Rain was forecast and it already looked technical from the Friday practice videos. We got there to watch the Vet 50’s and from lap 1 to lap 3 of their race it went from mostly ridable to basically a running race. The mud was so sticky and clogged most of the bikes. I knew this was going to be a slog. Throughout the racing that day, lines/ruts were formed but due to all the running, there were big holes forming which made the ground uneven. With the rain forecast overnight, I knew practice the next morning was going to give me a more realistic picture of what was instore.
Jeez, practice was interesting Sunday morning. The heavens opened just as I was about go out on course. I just went for it, thought practice 2 full laps and see what I think. Well, I saw the guys on the straight, stopped, threw up, and then went to practice a couple of bits for the guys to give advice. Let’s just say, there wasn’t much debating which bits to run or ride. The only option was to run most of it! The technical sections were quicker to run for me, even watching the pros struggle on some of these sections made me feel a little better. I had my plan for the course. Its just my body that had to hold up. David and Alex were awesome. I didn’t have to do anything or worry about the bike/pitting. The advice for the day was “Just ride your bike Lind”.
In classic Lindy style, I had a good cry at the car when I went back to get my final stuff ready. I felt I wasn’t meant to be there. I’m only a General Practice Nurse from Swindon who races in the local CX league on Sundays! After a hug from David and good lucks from family and friends, it was time to go to gridding. The usual prerace chat with the other Wessex women always helps calm my nerves. I was lucky to be the last called for 2nd row so that made me feel pro, but then I instantly felt out of my comfort zone. Last year I couldn’t clip in for the life of me…just clip in Lind, Just clip in. 30seconds to go. Whistle. Clipped right in. If I had the time to shout woohoo, I would have! I don’t know where my start came from but I was off, but came right back down to earth when Anna Kay comes flying past me on the first off camber. From there it was run, run for your life. We all knew this first 200 metres would be carnage and it delivered. Bikes getting caught on each other (sorry Abbie), no room on the steps, had a slide/lie down on the long off chamber, slipped remounting and got my leg caught. It was honestly the most chaotic but funny first half a lap I’ve ever experienced. Now before you all think it was me just having a mare.. I can assure you, everyone else was all over the place too!
Past the pits I went, but I thought I’d wait to change after the woods. The guys were screaming at me (in a good way) it was carnage in there too. I actually really liked the woods and if I’m honest, it gave you a break (only a little one though). I changed bikes after the woods mostly because the slog past the pits was hell. Now I don’t know if anyone has seen the photos but the steps over the bridge were the highest steps I’ve ever seen. I’m not even exaggerating. You had to shoulder your bike otherwise you couldn’t step and lift the bike high enough. The next bit was the “zig-zags” which was shoulder and run, hold on to the strakes and try not to fall over. Then back to the straight.
After the first lap everyone had sort of settled into their placings, the carnage had settled too but then the familiar feeling of lungs bleeding and heavy legs of cross came. Last year I was pulled on the penultimate lap so I knew I’d get maybe 3 laps in. Had a good race between 3-4 of us, all changing places through the laps. I was just so tired but thought on lap 3 I’d go for it,
then I got the bell. Oh Christ, I haven’t been lapped and I have to do another lap. I dropped a couple of places on the last lap which I didn’t actually mind, but I could have lost more places if I hadn’t have gone on lap 3 and made a gap on the group behind us. The cramp in my quads was so horrible; I’ve never had cramp there before! Crossing the line, lying down and seeing all my family and friends there was so amazing.
I know it sounds incredibly cringe, but I honestly cannot believe how many people were cheering my name. Not just my name, but all the Wessex riders in the race, that’s all you could hear. I was surrounded by other riders and there were nowhere near as many shouts for them. Everyone was cheering from the pits and all over the course. I’m truly grateful for all the support.
After watching the Elite Men and cheering on our friends racing, we all got changed and packed up. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better husband and best mate to support me. In classic post-race style, went and got a McDonalds.
I came 26th overall and 15th in the Elite Women’s. I didn’t get lapped. I started. I finished. I just rode my bike.
lindy has some great videos on facebook worth a watch from the cx https://www.facebook.com/lindy.j.larkin/videos/pcb.10157604705475605/10157604705050605/?type=3&theater
Thanks Lindy for such a great and epic Write up from your race always a great read and well done from us all you did the club Proud