This is our second trip to the National Cyclocross Championships since Brian's comeback to the sport after 20 years' absence.
We traveled to Abergavenny in South Wales the day before, to ensure a good rest and an opportunity for a good course recce on Saturday morning. The day started drizzly and cold, but weather improved as the day progressed, and the mud on the course dried out a lot before the Vet 40+ race in the afternoon. This meant that tire pressure had to be carefully adjusted to the changing conditions. I had the usual "privilege" of manning the pits, which involves doing bike changes and cleaning the bike in-between. Thankfully, the drying conditions meant that Brian only changed bikes every couple of laps. The Vet 40+ field is the biggest in the whole championships, with 100+ riders, so the pit area can get very hectic as dozens of riders come in for a bike change at the same time!
Brian did not start particularly well, but managed to move up several places, taking advantage of the few run-ups which are his strong point technically. However, the course was not his favourite, with many switch-backs and tree roots which he hates! He also had a couple of spectacular falls where he managed to roll under the course tape. In the end, he finished 34th (18th in 45+ age group), which is a better result than last year, but a little below his expectations, as he was aiming for top 30 (top 15 in age group).
We both enjoyed the weekend, as the National Championships are always exciting. It was also an opportunity to spend time with other North East Cyclocross riders of different ages who also traveled to the event, as well as their partners and families. We all stay in the same hotel, meet up for meals and have a good chat and a laugh.
As this is only Brian's second season since his comeback, overall he is pleased with the progress, finishing 12th in the North of England Championships, 28th in the National Trophy and putting in a solid performance in the National Championships. The local league (CXNE) that Brian is competing in is not yet finished, but he's on course to achieve top 10 in the region.
National Championships Results: