I didn't bother doing a practice lap, as the course looked horrible and I wanted to keep my bike clean and in working order.
I got an amazing start and led the field up the hill — the Hoggenberg — going through the finish line in first place (visual proof below).
Not knowing the course I lost a few places, but was in around 5th by the end of the first lap. Darren Barclay and Nathan Miller got past me and I ended up riding with Greg Simcock and Andrew Nichols from the Eastern Region most of the race, competing for sixth. With two typically long (every time we race at Hog Hill the lap seems to take 15minutes) laps to go, I distanced those two and got away by myself. I nearly got across to Darren and Nathan at the bell, but I then crashed and lost some time — the wet, muddy corners were icing up again by the end of the race.
So I crossed the line in sixth.
Gareth Montgomerie of Sigma won ahead of Jamie Newall and Billy Whenman. Interesting that all three of them are really good crit riders, and either ride, or have ridden, the Tour Series.
That was the third time I've raced at Hog Hill and every time I've raced cross there, I've sworn I'm never going back — today was no different. Apart from having showers and the ability to make the course regulation 3m wide at all points (ffs...), it really is a miserable place to hold a cross race. The clay just holds water at the surface, it's revolting. I don't think many of the Eastern lot are desperate to come back any time soon.
|Pics courtesy Cross-Crazy.com|