October was a busy month for the High Wycombe Cyclocrossers with thrills and spills, mechanicals and podiums galore!
Round 4 saw a reduced number of riders making the long trip to Kettering. The V50 ladies saw Caroline Goodman take first place (discovering a long sprint finish!) and Dena Ford 4th.
Jeff Roberts claimed a 12th in the V50s despite a long ‘run in’ to the finish (literally, with jammed gears) and Chris Ford took 33rd
Round 5 was the start of the ‘proper’ cx season with the first serious mud of the year at Welwyn. Suddenly a whole new skill set was required, with decisions to be made on the hoof. The uphill hurdles set on a muddy slope made life interesting, but the whole course was a challenge. Matt Dunsbier made an appearance with a 46th in the V40s while Jon Atwood was beaten by the conditions, having to retire with mechanical problems. The V50s gave Jonathan Chadwick an 18th place and Chris Ford 24th, with Tony Eva taking 8th in The V60s. Caroline Goodman took a satisfying win in the Ladies V50s with Dena Ford battling the conditions to 4th. Ana Legin placed 10th in the V40s. This week Mark Ainsworth took a turn at ‘mechanical of the week’, wrecking a carbon rim and finishing the race on his Mountain bike!
Round 6 exchanged mud for hills as the team tackled the dreaded ‘Hemel Hill’. This is a brutal race set on the side of a hill and, with a relatively short lap, that hill comes into play a lot! Jon Atwood took 61st in the V40s and it was Matt Dunsbier’s turn to DNF, ripping off his rear mech on the first lap. Jeff Roberts featured in the top 10 again (10th) in the V50s, followed by Chris Ford returning to form (and regaining his cx mojo with the help of a shiny new bike!) in 21st ahead of Jonathan Chadwick in 24th. Phil Porteous had a great race, closely following Jonathan home in 25th. Tony Eva was 10th in the V60s.
The ladies gave the watching HW riders an entertaining race with the lead changing hands. Dena Ford had a mid-race crack at the top places, Caroline Goodman gained the lead, lost the lead, chased back to the leader and finally powered away to a late win. Dena ended in 3rd so another double podium for the Ladies. Ana Legin took 14th in the V40s.
Mark Ainsworth rode to 18th place in the final race of the day.
On to Leighton Buzzard for Round 7 and exchanging the hill for the flattest course in the league. A week of rain made this race a daunting prospect, but the course rode well and fast. This race proves a good course can be designed in a very simple setting – basically a large school playing field! First up was the V50 men with Jeff Roberts flying to another top 10 finish. Jonathan Chadwick took the race back to Chris Ford with an 18th place, while Chris never recovered from being heavily impeded at the start and finished in 28th. Paul Morrissey battled some discomfort and ended up being pleased not to get a DNF.
Caroline Goodman continued her successful season with another win on yet another different style course, while Dena Ford was satisfied with another 3rd place as her cx racing experience grows. Ana Legin took 13th place in the V40 category. Ruth Abra made her High Wycombe debut, racing a mountain bike and with very little time to discover how the racing worked – but enjoyed the experience and says she intends to race again!
Mark Ainsworth ploughed his usual lonely furrow in the Seniors , taking another top 20 finish in 18th place. The male senior race is the only race lasting an hour and, after a long day out for the HWCC crew, Mark is often left to race alone after a few laps of support (there must be some more under 40 racers out there?!).