My First Attempt at CX

Take3 Cyclocross, Dalton Barracks

I bought an old CX bike about a year ago now as a commuter / winter training bike with the intention of giving CX a go, but it’s taken that long to build up the courage!

I spent the entire drive there and registration process wondering what on earth I was doing. Why on earth had this seemed like a good idea?!

I set out on a warm up lap on Wendy’s advice, to check out the course. I hated every minute of it, it was horrible! I almost just went back to my car and left! But as things turned out, I had to go past the start line on my way and it was pretty much time to start and there was no time to hesitate, so I decided I may as well give it a go and DNF rather than DNS!

I spent most of the first lap swearing in my head, thinking “I am NEVER doing this again!”, and yelling to Harvey that I hated him!! 🤣 My main goal at this point was not to be last by too far to avoid embarrassment, and I was still seriously considering my second ever DNF (1st was in Paris about 15 years ago in a 20km run which I had done before and was way to crowded that year and not enjoyable at all, so I just took the nearest metro and went back home to bed!)

But then I surprised myself and overtook someone to move into 2nd to last place, and Harvey yelled at me to catch the next guy! I laughed, not thinking it was possible, better to concentrate on not letting the other girl get back past me.

2nd lap onward was mainly being overtaken by a constant stream of teenagers which was pretty depressing, but at that point I figured I may as well just keep riding anyway and had apparently switched from thinking about quitting this race to being satisfied with just not signing up for another one.

I watched the speedy kids flying past me, watched their line, how they took the corners etc and tried to learn from them. This distracted me enough to realise I had actually followed them past a couple of people who presumably must have been in the novice race with me.

Then I relaxed a bit, picking out people in front of me and trying to figure out which were in my race (novice) vs the kids one going on at the same time. I just focused on the person in front of me and whether I could catch them.

And then all of a sudden it was over and I was already planning the new tyres I would be needing to get before the next race!!

I have no idea where I finished in the end, but it doesn’t matter! I finished when I didn’t think I would! With so many different races going on, nobody would have noticed if I had got lapped 5 times and finished miles behind the rest of my field. I could have dropped out at any point if I had wanted to, without it being a big deal (which is possibly one of the reasons I didn’t!)

Such a friendly atmosphere, and although I’m not sure I’d go as far as “fun” just yet, hopefully the next one will be! Who’s coming with me?

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