As the year drew to a conclusion, you would hardly have noticed in the world of youth cyclocross racing. Probably the most anticipated race of the season was scheduled between Christmas and New Year, so there was no time for excess pudding for the hardcore racers. Plus, in the recent Sky TV advert they asked various celebrities what they were doing over the festive season…. Chris Froome replied, “Riding my bike…”
The last month had been good for CJ chalking up a few more wins and taking a second in the Regional Championships, but other than that race he was not engaging in any battles. So his decision to compete in the under 12’s at Iceni Velo in Snetterton which previously took the award for best organised race of last season was going to be a hard one physically.
The venue would have the riders not only racing outdoor but also within the confines of a course set out in the horse showground. Yes, this was going to be tough and a little bit special, though once we spied the circuit it was obvious it would suit the older stronger riders, but the Eastern Region does not have the reputation for being one of the hardest league’s in the South East for no reason.
As CJ had no form in the under 12’s category he would be grided at the rear of the 30+ field in the fourth row and would have to fight to get to the sharp end of the wedge. Anyway, from the drop he hit a sprint as planned to get him past slower racers and as the course was quite wide he managed to get into the top half of the field before the technical climbs.
Soon he was pushing hard and taking more positions before settling in a battle for seventh place with Tom Davies and Imogen Chastell both of Welwyn Wheelers. For one lap of the three lap encounter he held station until fatigue started to take hold.
Eventually Dan Hall and Oliver Partner of Colchester Rovers CC were gaining on him as he started to get dropped by the Welwyn racers. By lap two both completed their overtakes and he had now dropped to eleventh place with a six second buffer to James Fraser of CC Ashwell, but by the time they left the showground Fraser had managed to bridge the gap and make the pass.
It was now down to whether he could hold Fraser’s wheel which he managed until the second to last turn for the final straight when he made the decision to strike for the finish. He took the dog-fight by one second as his shoe clipped out yards from the line.
Well he now realises that an under 12’s race takes a lot more stamina as he could not hold on to all the hard work gained in the first lap. Nevertheless, he will ask again at the forthcoming race at West Suffolk Cross if he can again engage with the big dogs. Full Results
Well 2013 had been eventful to say the least but all round CJ has been happy with his achievements, an eighth placing at the Europeans at Assen, two 5th places at the Nationals and winning the Eastern Cyclocross League. For me personally, I’m just happy that he has put his head down and committed to what he has set out to do against some tough youth racers.
Here comes 2014 and thanks to all that have taken the time to help and support a kid and his dreams.