Andy Seltzer writes…
Last Sunday may have been only the second Sunday in September but it heralded the start of the Cyclo Cross season in the South East with the first round of the ever popular London League at the Fowlmead cycle racing circuit near Deal in Kent.
Having assisted Richard Blackmore with the pushing off on Sunday morning for the East Sussex 25mile time trial I was quickly back home to get my cross bike packed into the car before heading off to the East Kent Coast.
Having driven through a number of heavy showers when I arrived at the Fowlmead circuit the rain had been driven away by the wind. The venue includes an impressive tarmac road course onto which the Cyclo Cross course made a few crossing with the main bulk of the circuit made up of ash trails a legacy of the areas days as a colliery. These trails ranged from tight single track to wider stretches to allow for over taking and some concrete access roads.
A good sized field of over 70 riders lined up for the main race with some griding for the highest placed riders from the previous season I lined up somewhere in the mid field. On the blast of the starters whistle the race set off at a furious pace with the flowing course allowing riders to sit in or from my point of view hang on. The first two laps were mad as riders fought to hang onto the wheel in front until splits began to form and the race settled down.
Out front a classic battle was being fought between eventual winner Darren Barclay of Artic Premier and Dan Duguid of Sigma Sport with the pair trading places through out the race. Mean while further back I was having a similar tussle with Richard Robberts of Dulwich Paragon the pair of us steadily picking off riders ahead, until we made it a three up with Patrick Scarboro of Team Fit For. On the seventh and final lap this pair began to pull away from me leaving me to finish twenty second overall and fifth placed veteran. First race of the season and it was nice to finish with the morale boost of not getting lapped, although it was a fairly long lap!
For further details on the London League then go to the excellent website www.londonxleague.co.uk