National Trophy Cyclocross Blog -  Jonny Tomes


A grey, windy day at Peel Park in Bradford was the setting for Jonny Tomes second National Trophy race of the season and it was tough, very tough.

RST Cycle  Clothing & Trigon Bikes

National Trophy Cyclocross Blog -  Jonny Tomes

NOTE: Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Peel Park, Bradford

Jonny writes … The day started with the Veteran’s race; the main event for most of the team. With Ian Taylor in the leaders yellow jersey, backed up by Andy Peace and Noel Clough both looking for top 10 places on the day.

Unfortunately, as happens so often in Cyclocross, things didn’t go to plan. Ian had a great ride and had a slight lead over series title contender Darren Atkins with 500m to go when he had a mechanical, shredding his rear mech hanger and dropping his back wheel out in the process. He had to carry for the last stretch and run up and crossed the line in second, luckily having a big enough lead to not be caught by third place.

Andy meanwhile was looking good for 3rd place, despite still recovering from a lingering cold, until a tangle with some pesky course tape led to him slipping to 6th in a highly competitive field. Noel produced a classy ride as always and finished 12th.

The weather after this got steadily worse and didn’t help the conditions which already made for tough riding! Having a spare bike to ride in cross is always a big advantage. The pit crews who work hard are rarely credited with a riders success but it can make a huge difference, especially on a day like Sunday. Here is just an insight into the sort of situation that they had to try and work in.

Speaking of spare bikes, for my race, I was lucky enough to have a gorgeous Winspace cross bike waiting for me in the pits, should I need it, fully equiped with shimano Di2.

As the day went on, the weather got worse. The rain started to comedown during the break between the youth and Junior/Womens races. I didn’t mind this at all however, as generally the worse the weather, the better I do in comparison to the rest of the field having grown up playing rugby and football in some seriously grim conditions!

Being honest, I was feeling very optimistic going into the Elite/U23 mens race. I didn’t have big aspirations in terms of finishing at all or beating anyone. Don’t get me wrong, but I thought that I would be able to give it my all and hopefully get a couple of laps done and then be pulled out after being lapped. I have done some pretty hard cross races when a lot less fit and with worse kit than I have now, so just getting around for 20 minutes or so shouldn’t be too much of a problem right? Wrong. I was shocked at just how wrong I was.

So to the race itself. After a steady 20 minutes warming up on the turbo, I got to the start with plenty of time to choose a gear to set off in before being gridded, as predicted, on the back row. As far as tactics go, mine were very basic – start at the back and ride past people who crash early on.

I actually managed to get a decent start, overtaking people on the first tarmac bit and holding my position through the first two corners, before disaster hit. Hard. On a straight, flat section of the course, I lost my front wheel and hit the deck, leaving a sizeable crater in the middle of the track.

I didn’t stop to ponder how I had managed to fall off on such a pedestrian part of the course. Straight back up, grabbed my bike and got going. Last on the course, I was still only around 10 seconds behind the next rider so I began to chase. For what seemed like an eternity, I struggled around, slipping and sliding, riding into the course markers, trees, tape, scrambling up a couple of run ups, until getting onto the finishing straight where I was so tired that I realised I could hardly ride in a straight line.

Persevering on, I then crashed again on another inoccuous part of the circuit. This time I was not up so quickly after sliding a couple of metres on my front in the mud. Once again, I was up and back on my bike but seriously demoralised after getting down on non-technical parts of the course.

The final nail in the coffin for my race however was the hurdles. I usually am reasonably smooth over them but couldn’t even dismount properly and just about staggered over them. Casting my thoughts to the next section, a cambered section with deep, thick, slippy mud, and then Peel Parks famous descent coming straight afterwards, I decided to call it a day and climbed off.

So that was that, a long day out culminating in me not even completing a full lap. Not the best race of the year for me, but I learnt a lot about myself out there during the short time that I spent plugging away in the cold wet mud, and I now know what I need to do to prepare for next year…

FURTHER READINGThe JediCyclSport Blog can be found here

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,