My 2016 racing season came to a close last weekend on the (in my opinion) underrated island of Mull. On Saturday I raced the last of the Scottish Cyclocross (SCX) race series on a twisty and varied course that weaves and meanders around the impressive Glengorm Castle which sits proudly on a grassy terrace looking out towards the outer Hebrides and is situated to the northwest of the island.
This was my seventh race out of seven and I managed another consistent top ten position, finishing fifth which put me in 6th place overall in the final standings. I had originally set myself a target of my first full SCX season to finish in the top ten, so I was pretty pleased to reach another season’s objective. I have learned a lot from this Autumn’s racing and identified quite a few weaknesses which I hope to improve upon next year. The most obvious one being my starts, which to be frank, are very poor, even laughable. I’m way too polite and enjoy a pursuit too much and chasing people down, which is not what CX racing is necessarily about. Ironically I’ve got a reasonable sprint in the legs, so there’s really no excuse. But that’s homework for next year. Time to enjoy the now. Job done and quiet satisfaction.
That said I’m happy to identify such weaknesses. It keeps me honest and hungry to make improvements, which I believe are achievable. If you can’t foresee progress, motivation can sometimes be compromised.
The bottom line though is that the SCX is really good fun and has allowed me to keep my racing edge after a very successful TT season. Each race has had its own course characteristics. I like the course on Mull; it allows opportunities to recover from flat out efforts in exchange for technical bike handling and manoeuvring, ideal for any MTB pretending to be a CX rider! In fact the course on Sunday for the World Santa CX Championships is nearly the Saturday course in reverse with a big climb (in CX terms) and a singletrack section thrown in. This totally plays to my strengths and so it showed, despite a spectacular flip into the rhododendrons and losing about a minute and a half pulling a reed out of my cassette which had made gear changing nigh on impossible, as I finished in 2nd place (in the Vets category), which was a big improvement on last year’s race – my only ever DNF!
And unlike last year, it was great to finish the racing year as it
started – on the podium.
Even if it is dressed as an elf!