Testing myself against the best So after just one race this year at Cathkin Braes …
Super Cally goes Ballistic
Not an original headline, but I thought it was suitably appropriate for the event! It’s just over 24 hours on and I’m still enjoying the fallout of what happened on Sunday. 600+ riders for a Cyclocross race in Britain! (yup I’m putting that on the table from the off!)
Let’s be honest, with the growth of the sport over the last few years it’s not a huge surprise, but there’s something a little bit special about Callendar Park.
It’s early enough in the season that the weather hasn’t turned which means everyone’s happy to hang around and enjoy the races rather than cowering in the back of cars/vans trying to keep warm or dry or both.
The course is a classic and is probably one of the most fun of the year, I’m not sure how may courses could handle fields as big as 146 riders as we had in the veterans field.
The park setting is a real Amphitheatre that spurs you on as you take the hairpin bend towards the pits and through the turns and along the start finish straight. And not many people probably realise it’s the ONLY cyclocross course in the country that includes the traversing of a Roman wall (The Antonine Wall was built in 142 AD) – Thanks Alistair Ross for that top fact on Sunday!
As for the racing, it was fast, and close across all races, young and old! From “Flying Finn” Crowther’s win in the U8’s, Cameron Mason’s utter destruction of the junior race, Jane Barr and Kerry MacPhee’s exciting sprint finish through to us oldies in the Vets and finally Harry Johnston besting of Gary “Three Peaks” MacDonald in an exciting Seniors race to round off the day.
Throw in a good dose of Sir Jammy of Cyclocross on MC duties and a fantastic crowd who cheered everyone on the entire way round the course, to the multitude of people taking photos and videos so us racers could relive it later in the evening just added to the enjoyment of the day.
Sometimes you can feel when you are part of something important, and I really felt that yesterday, regardless of the future, people will talk about Callendar Park 2016 for a good few years to come. Hats of Davie and Franco, you pulled off something unique and special.
As for my race, I was lucky enough to get my new CX10 from Scott midweek, so was looking forward to giving it it’s first outing in anger against a scarily big field in the vets.
After a good start and a little bit of close first lap racing, I had a great race, mixing it with Simon Muir in the early laps (Who didn’t like my friendly little cuddle around the tree on lap one, sorry Simon!) I felt strong and the new bike gave me masses of confidence on the downhills I settled in and just rode on the limit for the entire race.
I brought it home in 37th place, but more satisfying only 4 mins 44 seconds being Gary McCrae, a huge improvement for me, and something that gives me a real boost for training over the next month.
I’m missing Knockburn Loch due to other commitments but can’t wait for one of my favorite courses at Strathclyde Park for Round 3.
photo credit: Alistair Ross Novantae Photography