London Cyclo- Cross League Round 9/ Sussex League Round 2.
What a difference six weeks makes having survived organising London X League round 5 in the wet and the mud at Deers Leap for round 9 at Stanmer Park on the out skirts of Brighton you would have hardly guessed it had rained as the down land course held up perfectly.
Brighton Excelsior seemed to have hit a magic formula with the switch to Stanmer as a massive field of 114 starters lined up for the main race, the size of the field was highlighted to me on the first of the dog leg turns that led into the major climb on the course, as I rounded the corner although disappointed at the number of riders ahead a far greater number had still to round the corner.
Onto the first ascent on the hill side course it was time to make up some positions after a slow start I began to pick off several riders a head of me even managing to hold position and make up ground on the long descent which on a fully rigid cross bike with good old cantilever brakes certainly produced a few grins.
With 6 of the 9 laps completed Ian Cleverly of Mosquito Bikes began to close in on me having passed him earlier I was keen to keep ahead alas he had taken a leaf out of my book and had gone for the slower start only he had judged his effort a bit better, although I managed to hang onto his wheel for a lap I was now cooked and riding to the finish.
As it turned out I was one of the last riders not to get lapped by Bill Bell of Gemini B.C. who was just finishing in 1hour and 2minutes as I headed out to the dog leg turn on the 9th and final lap.
In the end I finished in 20th place overall and 6th place veteran.
Bill Bell who was a podium finisher in both the Catford and Bec Hill Climbs this year obviously found the course to his liking finishing over a minute ahead of Stuart Jones of London Phoenix.
Top veteran was Matt Seaton of Mosquito Bikes, and top Sussex rider junior Max Filleul.
photos courtesy Beverly McLoughlin