Monday, 8 October 2012

Round 4 Wessex CX league - Sotonia CC at Fleming Park

It was one of those lovely autumn days, when golden sunshine backlights the trees (when it was not overcast, anyway). Evil course designers had laid switchbacks going uphill and downhill. The sequence was: medium uphill drag, long descent, long hard uphill drag, short descent, short uphill drag, to a sandpit! Fine for all those wiry, squirrely, hobbity types, but not for those who, like me, have been blessed with carrying a few extra, ahem, "panniers".

No pictures this time, but a great video from Julian Gee here:
This being an old golf course, the sandpit was a bunker, complete with trip-worthy lips at each end. Quite a few tumbles there as riders' front wheels dug in either on entry or exit. I rode it a couple of times, got bogged in once, but mostly found it safer to run it. There was one great section which went downhill into a right hander up a short bank, a left hander down a small ramp, then an off camber left hand up slope section, diving down a bank into a right hander. My main memory of this was ducking under the birch tree branches on the dive exit. It was great! On the first lap, it was on this sequence where in all the traffic I came unstuck and lost a number of places. On the last lap, the lines and curves were dialed in and with no other riders nearby, I flew round it, but I guess so did everyone else by then.

Quite a few small ramps and banks on the course, which required getting speed, gears and lines sorted out - I suppose that's the definition of "technical section". In addition, most downhill bits required the brain to stay engaged, because they were snakey, or down a ramp into a tight corner, or entering an off camber bend!

It was certainly not boring. I understand it was their first event here, so big congratulations to Sotonia CC, the helpers, and the course organisers.

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