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Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 27 November 2011


By rod - Posted on 29 November 2011

Reading Cycling Club press report, week ending 27 November 2011

Didcot Phoenix Cyclo-Cross

Joe Harris is Reading CC's cyclo-cross champion having been Reading CC's highest placed finisher in the Didcot Phoenix cyclo-cross race. This took place in the sports field of Chiltern Edge school at Sonning Common on Sunday. Harris's road-racing fitness made up for his lack of cyclo-cross experience as he pulled away from Gary Barlow and experienced 'crosser Steve Bale, his club rivals in the large field of 140 seniors, women and veterans. Mike Cotty of Wheelbase took the race victory.

Harris put in an impressively strong ride in his first ever cyclo-cross race to cap a year in which he dominated Reading CC in road racing and hill climbs. The ever-modest Harris said afterwards: "This was my first cyclo-cross race and only my 4th outing on my cyclocross bike. I didn't know what expect and how to pace it but some good advice from Steve Bale before the race was much appreciated. The course was packed and I didn't know who I was passing. I just got my head down and raced hard. It was a painful hour and a shock after the steady base miles I've been doing for the last month, but enjoyable."

Barlow commented: "The course had some gloriously fast corners and a long soft draggy straight against the wind. After a fast and furious start I cut the uphill hairpin too tight, catching the course tape on my handlebars, and had to dismount and run up the hill losing a few places. Once I settled into the race I could still see Joe a few corners ahead but he was riding very well and pulling out 50 meters or more on each lap. The large field of riders was soon spread around the course and I found myself racing with a small group whilst lapping slower riders and being lapped by the leader. After 45 minutes, my usual vets race duration, the energy sapping soft sections were taking a toll. I was pleased to see the finish line after an hour of racing."

Bale reflected: "I had doubts about my form so had misgivings about this race, however once I was there in glorious sunshine I found the course to be as kind to me as I could have hoped for. With few hairpins and mainly on grass it was more like a time trial, my usual discipline. At the start line the three Reading riders were level on the grid. It was a fast start and I suffered from trying to match the pace of my team mates. Joe and Gary crept away from my view. I didn't settle into the race and at the halfway point was caught by the leader Mike Cotty which was disheartening. After that I seemed to find a bit more of a rhythm and for the final quarter of an hour finished quite strongly. It wasn't enough to prevent me being lapped twice by Cotty though. I had made a proper effort though and to improve I need to be doing more efforts like that."

Photo caption: Joe Harris (Reading CC) is a picture of concentration as he hurdles a barrier
Photo credit: Vit Javorik www.vjfoto.com

Martin Cairns and John Wann rode in the supporting race for adult novices and youths. Cairns reports on his first experience of cyclo-cross: "Having never ridden (or even seen!) a cyclocross event, I wasn't sure what to expect. Thankfully we were blessed with a relatively warm day although a strong wind was blowing. On the start line I was alarmed to see the adult novices lining up with the youth competitors, thinking it would be an unfair match. However, I was proven quite wrong once the race commenced with some very strong technical riding from the younger riders. Following a reasonable start, my lack of form became evident, as did my deficiency in CX technical ability. I thought time trialling was a painful experience, but CX was a whole new level of pain, albeit fun due to the technical challenges. I was dropped from the front at about half way and came in 7th, having been very impressed with the quality of the youth riders, who showed me a thing or two. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will feel more confident to enter the main event next year. "

Sunday Clubrun
All groups leave Reading Market Place at 9am on Sundays.

Roderick MacFadyen
www.readingcyclingclub.com