Sunday 17 September 2017

One day one photo - 17: Herne Hill Cyclo Cross

London League cyclo cross has begun and round 2 took place today at Herne Hill. I was sorry to miss round 1 which was held at Stanmer Park near Brighton as I had other work to complete. Then I wasn't able to compete at Herne Hill (my local venue) as I had to rest up after yesterday's exertions in cold water, as a precautionary measure.

Herne Hill feels like a spiritual home of cycling for me. In the past I have spent a lot of time at the velodrome, a lot of people that I have met in cycling were folks I saw at the velodrome, and there are just a lot of good people there.

The last time I raced at Herne Hill was at a cyclo cross race during the summer league. The course was such fun. In fact, I think the course builders should win a prize for the most innovative course in a tight space!

Of course, tight space means technical circuit, and it certainly was! I have learned to go around the 180 degree turns, tight zigzags and the latest "spiral of doom". So in fact, I quite enjoy racing on this course, and it seems the spectators enjoy watching it too. There is always a great atmosphere when cyclo cross rounds take place at Herne Hill.

That big steep run-up - Photo by John Mullineaux
The one bit of the course that I can't get used to is the really steep run-up. I usually end up taking it from a standing start, when I am heaving for breath, sweat pouring down my face, snot hanging from my nose, with barely the energy to wheel my bike in a straight line. That point where I am feeling and looking at my worst is right when the crowds are at their thickest!

I just have to take the hill, Frank Spencer style with my legs going all over the place, and dribbling. But hey, that's cyclo cross and it seems like the spectators love it! For me, this part of the course epitomises cyclo cross racing at Herne Hill.

I will definitely be out to do future rounds, hopefully the next one at Herne Hill, and entertain the crowds with my clumsy antics!

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