CXNE Round 9 – Herrington
For those people not familiar with Cyclocross the sight of hundreds of cyclists in a wet and muddy field may seem a crazy way to spend a Sunday but for some hardy souls this is cycling at its best. “It’s fast, frantic, spectator friendly and damn good fun. Cyclo-cross – or cross, cyclo-x and CX – is a sport that takes modified road bikes off road in races that typically last for 45-60 minutes and includes obstacles where you need to dismount and run with the bike over your shoulder.”
Over the last two seasons the race start lists have seen more and more Velo members entering races. During the 2016-17 season we have regularly seen 15 or more Veloites competing in all classes and Herrington was one such race with great attendance from the Velo. Under leaden sky’s in the shadow of Penshaw Monument cyclists gathered to do battle on the open fields of Herrington Country Park. The Velo start list was extensive in V60’s we had Alan Card, Maurice Woodward, Barry Holyoak. In V50’s Martin Mctavy, Jeff Codling, Steve Wheeler & Paul Steadman. Christine Wheeler and Sophie Bell flew the flag for the ladies in the Womens and Under 16’s race respectively. The V40’s had Sean Bell, David Hardy, Howard Davies and yours truly. The kids were also represented in the Under 10’s with Levi Mason and Zed Handley. With Storm Angus upon us everyone wondered if this round would be a repeat of last
year which saw probably the worse conditions many of us have experienced. At that round the course was a mud bath with large parts of the course unrideable, conditions that Paul Steadman loves (must be the ex-miner in him).
The first race started at 10,30 with the V60, V50, Women all racing together. The weather was poor, overcast and raining but the course remained firm and the rain stoped the mud from sticking. The down side was a lack of grip which Jeff Codling tested, experiencing a number of falls, it just wasn’t Jeffs day. By contrast Paul Steadman had one of his best rides of the season finishing 16th for the Velo Mud Monkey. Steve Wheeler took the racing as serious as ever passing the pits riding no hands, great bike handling skills but maybe not the fastest way. He still finished a respectable 23rd and is finishing stronger with every race, when he removes his spokey dokey’s he’ll fly. Martin and Jeff came home behind Steve scoring some good points for their league positions.
Barry Holyoak was the best placed V60 finishing 5th with Maurice and Alan following him home. Christine had a great ride representing the Velo ladies coming 4th in her category, just off the podium – what could have been. With no mechanicals and only Jeff taking a tumble the race went well for the Velo.
The next races where the U16 and U10. In the U16’s Sophie Bell was racing CX for the first time and got a good start, they had to do the full course so this was going to be tough. Sophie held on and had a strong finish and made it to the podium in 3rd place. Well done Sophie hope to see you at another race soon – Temple Park? Of course Sean Bell (Dad) looked on in envy as so far he hasn’t made it to the podium.
Zed and Levi also gave a good showing in the U10’s finishing well up the field. This was Levi’s first race and he really did give it his all but after a quick tidy up and a happy meal he was back to normal.
The Vet 40’s were up next with David, Sean, Howard and Des. We had been blessed with a change in weather and the storm had passed and the sun was out. With the improved weather the course started to dry, in the normal world this would be positive but in CX it means sticky mud and mechanicals. Wasn’t the best race for the V40’s, Sean got our best result in 31st with Dave and Howard following him home in 38th and 41st after mechanicals. I came in 49th after taking 3 places on the last lap and having a mechanical crossing the line, in the top 50 so happy with that. The V40’s is often a large field, with 62 entries on the day, but even taking this into account I’m sure Sean and Dave would have expected a better results after some good finishes at Penrith and Middlesborough. Lets hope you have better luck at Durham!
So its now getting towards the end of the Season, we have Temple Park on the 27th of December and we need all the Veloites we can to take part in the races and help organise the event. The Velo CX team are going from strength to strength, its not just about the racing its taking part that counts. For anyone who’s thinking of giving it a go just jump in it’s a great day out, as hopefully some of the photos show.