Mike Simpson

Replicating Belgium

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There seems to be a live stream of a Belgium cross race every day during the Christmas period. Hopefully I’ll get a chance one day to try a Belgium course, but the idea appears to be spend Christmas racing, so I lined up four in Christmas week, Herne Hill/Southampton/Bakewell and Macclesfield, covering some ground. First stop then was a return to Herne Hill velodrome, I’d only ever seen it in the dark before (Muddy Hell race). The course was waterlogged with a fun crank deep section and I managed to continue the trend of puncturing a tub at every visit to this venue. A fun course and I sneakily crowbarred in a Christmas shopping trip in as well in Regent Street on the way home. Now on to Southampton on Boxing Day, unfortunately I would be without my pit girl but luckily no bike changes were required and I had a great battle with Sean Williams.

Now to head to the Peak District. Saturday in Bakewell, Sunday in Macclesfield. Hopefully Saturday will be a dry course, so no mad washing and drying Saturday evening. As we got to the course the first thing we saw was a young boy clearly just finished his race crying his eyes out holding a bike unrecognisable and thoroughly caked and dripping in mud, oh well a mud bath it is then! A fun afternoon was had, 2nd vet to Nick Craig. A wash of the bikes then it was off to Buxton to find our b&b for the night. The first part of the evening was spent trashing another bathroom with mud, trying to get all my kit, shoes, helmet, gloves etc all clean and dry ready for tomorrow. I couldn't sleep, my legs are always buzzing after a race.

The countryside between Buxton and Macclesfield was beautiful and I make a mental note to return with my road bike later in the year, but for now we drive past the Cat and Fiddle and down into Macclesfield. Today's course was drier and faster but with more climbing than most cyclocross courses. My legs were strong but the hour seemed to drag on, again 2nd vet behind Nick Craig but an enjoyable and successful weekend nevertheless. So after testing all the various options of cake at the prize giving we head back home, maybe I'll brush up on my Flemish for next year or practice my beer swilling.

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