Monday, 5 November 2012

Round 8 Wessex CX League - Oxonian at Harcourt Hill, Oxford Brookes

On Saturday it rained cats and dogs. On Sunday, the cyclocross frogs came out to play. The amphibians frolicked on a very wet course - and it was cold too. These photos were taken early in the day. The avenue in the woods (below) may look dry underfoot, but I assure you it was not! It soon transformed into a muddy brook. Seriously, the water was flowing (towards you in the photo below). Pedalling through the woods, was more like paddling up and down stream. A very unusual sensation.
The path below was waterlogged too, and quickly cut up into a boggy slush. I wish I had taken "after" photographs to demonstrate what I mean about the "rivers" through the woods. That sign should have read, "Care! Deep water and strong currents!" 
Here are the youngsters hard at it. The hooded spectators are riders perusing the course prior to their race. Everyone is wondering why they didn't stay tucked up under the duvet this morning...
Of course, the sun started to (threaten to) show itself just as the race was ending. Here's the chicaney bit leading into the finishing straight. A nice design feature that made for a few excellent sprint finishes. 
Below is the finish line and time-keeper's gazebo. All in all, a well thought out circuit. Other features included two open earth sections that you had to ride rather like sand. Tyres clagged up quickly, but the mud shed fast afterwards. One of these "flower bed" sections came just after a double barrier. And then of course, was the infamous ditch that marks the entrance to the flooded wooded section. You get to the ditch via a narrow opening in a hedge. The ditch itself was full of cold muddy water and a decent leap was required to cross it. There were also a few bobbly bumps, ramps and such, that may well have caught out an unwary rider. 
But the most significant feature today was the waterlogged ground. Heavy going and grunt work. Luvvly Jubbly!

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