Andy Seltzer writes…
The V.C. Etoile Cyclo-Cross on Sunday afternoon gave me a chance to taste my own medicine, the promoting club ended up with a double booking for their normal venue at Lancing on the south coast so organiser Mike Miller changed venue to Deers Leap home of the East Grinstead cross. Now our race back at the start of October was run in very wet conditions and since then it hasn’t stopped raining so it was fair to expect the going to be soft, and I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
One advantage of having the race close to home was the chance to ride out to the start for a warm up. Now I have raced Deers Leap in the dry a few times but a wet race was going to be a new experience. After two warm up laps I was already covered in mud.
The first lap was a manic affair as we charged across the sodden field to the long descent to the bottom of the park; this was a suggestion from me to avoid the first slippery drop off that proved so treacherous in our event. Half way down the new descent this seemed like folly to me as half blinded by the spray coming from the riders in front, I could just make out riders with legs out stretched as they fought to keep out of the deep ruts that I’m sure weren’t there the day before.
Once clear of the descent it was then onto the long climb back up to the top of the park and through the woods. Trails that in the dry (yes it can be dry a Deers Leap) are a fast blast turned into a slippery mess that proved for many to be a challenge just to stay up right. The conditions didn’t seem to slow Chris Ansell of team Corridori who steadily pulled away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile further back in the top twenty I was having a race long battle with George Higgs of Brighton Excelsior and Neil Simpson of London Phoenix both fellow veterans. Both riders I managed at some stage in the race to pull up onto their back wheels only to slip back at some point. However by cruel fate on their behalves both suffered mechanicals on their last lap, George shearing off his rear mech. This allowed me to move up into an eventual 16th place overall and 4th placed veteran.
A flying Chris Ansell caught me just after I started my last lap to take the win, comfortably clear of Darren Barclay of Artic RT, and Stuart Jones of London Phoenix. Matt Seaton of Mosquito Bikes took top honours in the Veterans category.