Cyclo cross season kicked off in earnest last Sunday with the first round off the Fixx Supercross league in Grange Castle in Dublin. This season Verge along with Expert Cycles and Fixx coffee house are sponsoring the series, as we are sponsoring the event I “had” to go racing (that’s what I told the wife anyhow) I haven’t raced since the national cross champs way back in January had a second child in the meantime and in general did not have a lot of time to train so I knew I would be in for a hard time. I did what any self-respecting cyclist would do in this situation and thought I will buy myself some form in the shape of a shiny new bike. This was a very last minute situation but my old Murphy & Gunn team mate Morgan Fox of Planet X in Athlone sorted me out with a Planet X XLS in double quick time.
I only took it out for it’s debut spin on Saturday so Sundays race was going to be a learning experience of how it handled in a race situation.
As part of our sponsorship of the races we were entitled to have a stand at the events which was a first for us, it’s a good way to meet existing clients and potential new ones as they can touch and feel the kit. Our stand also benefited Sean O Tuathail from Bray cycling club who when warming up clipped one of the stakes on the course and ripped his skinsuit from the bottom of his shorts to about half way up his chest. He came over to us with his skinsuit pinned together like Liz Hurley back in the day looking to see if he could borrow some kit. Of course we were happy to help out it was a bonus that he is one of the top riders in the country so I was confident there would at least be one verge jersey prominent at the front of the race.
My Carrick Wheelers club mate Hugh Mulhearne was making his cyclo cross debut as well. He had entered late so couldn’t get into the B race so had to face the A for his debut like me he had got a new bike only a few days before hand, Hugh is a multiple national champion on the track so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to cross. It’s good to see a handful of riders from munster taking part in the races in Dublin and with the Waterford Cycle Centre cyclo league due to start soon its should add to the number of munster riders in future. Waterford is only a short hop on the motorway from Dublin so hopefully Leinster riders will support the series.
A total of 220 riders total lined up for the 3 races along with a good number of underage riders, it was especially great to see 20 women racing. The course was much the same as last year with it being flat with a firm surface on the course out of all the rounds it’s the most suited to road riders as it’s not overly technical in that it’s not muddy or with off cambers just plenty of corners to keep us all on our toes. In fact the weather was beautiful I don’t think we will be as lucky for future rounds! I started off mid pack (about 5 seconds after the starters whistle blew) the start is a long tarmac section with plenty of opportunities to move up (if you have the legs) I opted for a gentle start as it’s so long since I raced I didn’t know how I would go so just got tucked in and followed the wheel in front there was not much opportunity to move up as the field was so big so I just had to deal with a few lads diving into corners with big elbows!!! When you look at the lap times later on its gives a real indication of how your race has gone which can vary a lot to how you felt in the race. My first lap was an 8:58 which depressingly was a minute and three seconds slower than the quickest opening lap.
On the second lap the field started to spread out more and I was able to put the foot down and pick off a few riders with a 8 min 44 lap, the next lap was quiet similar at 8:46 as I move up a couple of small groups and started to take slightly better lines on some of the corners. On the next lap I could feel the legs start to come off a bit and going through the finish line I saw the clock only say 35min done and I started to crack a bit as I was thinking it’s a long way to the finish when my legs are like this, this lap was an 8 min 58 lap, I was still making progress in passing some riders but I was rapidly reaching my fitness levels!!
The next few laps were more of the same I definitely felt I was going harder but the clock said I was within a few seconds of the previous laps the only people I passed on these laps was a couple of guys who got caught out with punctures, there was a few sharp rocks around the course that could catch you out easily enough especially later in the race when the fatigue starts to take over and the lines become less clinical. On completing the second last lap I achieved 1 of my goals in not getting lapped, don’t laugh you have to go hard in these races not to get lapped the first year I did these I got lapped every time!
On the last lap my legs well and truly fell off I got a nice twinge of crap on the run up so I was very glad to see the finish line. Robin Seymore took the win ahead of Zippy Doyle with Sean O Tuathail’s Verge kit giving him wings to finish third. The new bike performed very well the SRAM CX 1 groupset worked very well I only shifted in the wrong direction once (1st time using SRAM) the levers are big so you have plenty to grip the single chain ring set up looks very well it will be interesting to see how it goes on some of the harder courses to see if I run out of gears but I dont think I should.
The event was excellently ran as always by a very small team of volunteers so a big thanks to all those for helping to keep us entertained on a Sunday afternoon!
To check out the full Verge cyclo cross range please see the below link, remember we have zero minimums so if you want a one off custom cyclo cross suit for this cyclo cross season you know where to go.