With the weekend’s Eastern Cyclocross League race far away deep into the Norfolk hinterland, the North Road crossers plumped for the more local alternative of the London Cross League event held at the Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey. There are a couple of differences in the racing between the two leagues; with no vets only race in the London League allows a more intimidating mass field of senior and veteran riders. The race is also run over an hour rather than the 40 mins that is usual for Eastern League vets events.
With Steve James still wielding his bad back sick note, and Tim Brown arriving too late to take part in the race, it was left to the dynamic duo of John McDowall and Dave Kiely to represent the North Road. With no previous races in this league the North Road pair where relegated to the plebeian mass of un-grided riders that formed up for the start.
The course was mainly open parkland with some long draggy climbs that provided some fast and furious racing for those with the energy. The technical sections included almost all of what you would expect from a cross race. A number of steep but short ridable climbs, a slippery off-camber section, a zig-zag up and down through a drainage ditch, and a set of wooden hurdles. An enthusiastic spectator even provided some atmospheric audio addition by ringing a set of cow bells. All that was really missing was axle deep mud and plastic trays heaped with chips and mayonnaise.
After a less frenetic start than is usual, due to the sheer weight of riders, the North Road duo started to pick there way through the field. Dave took an early lead over John and was riding strongly, even pulling off a cheeky jump-off-bike run past people still cycling and jump-back-on-bike undertake that Syen Nys would be proud of. However, John had Dave firmly in his sights and passed him at the start of the second lap and remained clear of his teammate for the rest of the race.
A few thrill-and-spills among other riders included a fair few crashes in front of the North Road riders who both had an accident free race. Indeed, the hard work put in to practicing mounting and remounting the bike paid dividends as both North Roaders gained valuable places at the wooden hurdles. The extra twenty minutes of racing was testing, but should hopefully provide some extra ‘oomph’ in the legs when the guys return to Eastern League action next weekend.
One hundred and ten riders finished, with seven DNF's. John came 62nd completing 8 laps in 59.54. Dave managed 72nd place for 8 laps in 1-02.38 (22nd and 29th out of 59 vets)The winner was Darren Barclay of Artic RT who completed 9 laps in 55.31. Full results can be found at;