I was really excited about racing at Irvine again. The SCX course suited me and despite all the talk of off-camber in the new SQ course I knew my off-camber riding had improved over the season. I was also excited because I’d been promoted to the A race after being 1st woman and 6th rider overall in the B race at SQ1, the Doonbank Trofee in Ayr.
The start of the A race was delayed by 15 minutes by a horizontal blizzard, which didn’t bode well. The first half a lap I was having to talk myself out of just quitting – I got caught up in a couple of bottlenecks near the start and then hit the off-camber. Lots and lots of off-camber. Which was already getting very slippery. Having clubmates and friends cheering me on really helped me to keep going!
The second lap someone cut across my line coming out of the sand and I fell off. I think I fell off on the off-camber later as well. I can’t really remember. It’s all just a horrible blur, to be honest.
After a good battle in the early parts of the race Laura Cunningham from Ronde came past me, followed by Laura Fidao from Glasgow Nightingales. Superior off-camber skills definitely winning out there!
I’d already been lapped by the leaders but Davie Lines was so far out of the front of the field he was about to lap me again as he finished his final lap to win the race overall. I have never before slowed up in order to get lapped – usually I hate getting lapped – but I was really not having fun and I saw the opportunity to finish the race, so I slowed down as I hit the finishing straight to let him pass me and bring the whole ordeal to a merciful end.
Which he refused to do, slowing right down and waving me on with an evil grin. So after some bickering about who was going to cross the line last (which I believe entertained the spectators no end), I gave in and rode another lap. As the blizzard came back on. Last rider out on the course, in horizontal snow, with the marshalls taking the tape down as I went past! By the time I finished I’d been out there for well over an hour and the podiums were all done and dusted and most people had already gone home!
By the time I retrieved the layers I’d left at the start line and put them back on (after brushing the snow off) my legs were numb. By the time I’d retrieved my spare bike from the pits I couldn’t feel my fingers. As I was walking back to the car park a vehicle stopped and the occupants asked me what the event was, so I found myself explaining cyclocross while clutching two snow-covered bikes with hands that had lost all feeling.
Made it back to the car and I couldn’t get my gloves off or get my keys out. A nice lady at a neighbouring car helped me. I just leaned the bikes against the car, jumped in and started the engine and sat, shivering violently, for about 10 minutes before I could even think about putting the bikes on the roof.
Despite having a flask of coffee in the car, putting on a down jacket, woolly mitts and my SBC bobble hat and having the car heating on max all the way home, I didn’t really warm up until I managed to get some dry clothes on. Lesson learned – I usually get changed but I was so cold I just wanted to go home. Should have stopped and taken my damp kit off.
Gave my race bike a cursory clean – it’s making some funny noises but I’m not investigating them tonight!
5th senior female (out of 5…) and 62nd overall out of 87. Personally I’m just pleased to have survived it and not given up!