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Cyclo-Cross First impressions:

Picture 1 racing Picture 2 racing

Freezing cold, shivering inside your lycra, well no actually the first cyclo-cross race of the London league was in September and was warm enough for shorts and t-shirts, who said you had to be hard to do cyclo-cross. The season starts in September and carries on all the way through to February. I've been looking forward to it all year as I'm pretty new to road racing and off-road is more my thing, plus just an hour race is pretty easy isn't it? The first race was at Eastway and I turned up not really knowing what to expect, I signed on and started riding the course, the first thing that struck me was how many people there were, about 80 in my race, the most I'd ever raced against before, I also noticed that apart from me and a few other loyalists everyone had abandoned their mountain bikes in favour of cyclo-cross bikes, well duh your riding a cyclo-cross race, they seemed to be going a bit fast for my liking. I went round the course and realised that it was huge but with a few nice technical bits in it so I felt a bit more confident. We lined up at the start and for me this is the worst bit, you just want to get on with it, the whistle went and I went all hell for leather but noticed that about 20 guys had just gone past me on their cross bikes (we'll put it down to that shall we) and I was about mid-field when we reached the off-road section, the first lap is a mad scramble for positions and then the race settles down, I tucked in with a few other guys of my sort of speed and just tried to hang on. The first half of the race was fine and I was even starting to enjoy myself when I started to run out of energy and I thought crap, the next half of that race was the hardest I think I have ever done, just trying to hang on to the wheel in front and hope to cling there. I finished and was completely knackered. Mental note for next time eat more and get your energy levels up because you do need it. Well its about 8 races on and its getting slightly easier every week and I'm not so knackered when I finish. Also I'm top of the league 'for the moment' and I hope I can hang on for the remaining 7 races. Viva la cyclo-cross

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Matt Zietz

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