This is the time of year when races are won. The hard graft, and hours of training in the cold and dark is what separates the truly dedicated from the half arsed. It’s time to get honest and confess that this winter I’ve probably spent more time eating takeaways, playing Call of Duty online, and watching Netflix - just about every ounce of motivation to get out on the road washed, and blown away by one of those poncey named storms that seem to have not left us alone for the last month.
I’ll tell you what though - whenever I need a mental uplift I’ll just look at the screenshot of Lee Cuthbertson’s ride description when he was caught out in some bad weather the other week. I promise I was only laughing because I can identify with experiences like that.
MCC were the number one ranked British Cycling team in the North East in 2016, 2017, and 2019, and barring any disruption from some Chinese super-virus pandemic, we'll be fighting to take the top spot in 2020. Not that you actually get anything other than bragging rights for this accolade anyway. And I suppose, whilst the Sloan Trophy is a prestigious fixture on the NE bike racing calendar, it's not going to attract thousands of potentially diseased tifosi like say, Milan San Remo would.
Think warm thoughts Lee
Along with Richard Davidson, Lee was one of the Muckles who had gone and represented the club at the Velo29 winter series at the Croft racing circuit in Darlington, a notorious early season crash fest! The 4th round, E1234 race on February 15th was run in some fairly grim conditions, and to summarise the standard Lee Cuthbertson ride description odyssey – It was hard, and he came 10th.
The highlight of the early season crits was on February 1st with the performance Grace Inglis put in at round one of the Yorkshire Winter Crit series in Leeds, promoted by Alba Rosa CC, taking the win in the 4th cat race, and 6th in the E123 race. Great stuff from Grace, winning in the classiest way possible by riding the rest of the field off her wheel and arriving at the line solo. Grace had planned on going for the solo win, and attacking in the in the final few laps, but someone else had the same idea and went first. No problem for Grace who countered, closed the gap, and went again putting a sizeable chunk of daylight between her and second place.
+100 Hard man points for you
"solo è al comando"
February was also the Cyclocross North East awards presentation evening. Nicola McCoy was down picking up 3rd place in the female V50 category and Colin Blacklock took the prize for winning the V60 category as well as the award for most improved rider.
Road racing proper kicks off shortly - some early season highlights just around the corner with the Gifford Road Race, and the Reivers Road Race. So pretty soon I will be cursing myself for being a lazy shit, whilst getting a thorough kicking. However, like a lot of great, but ultimately disappointing, characters in the history of bike racing, I feel that the greater the inconsistency, the greater the mystique! Let’s face it- you all know that getting dropped in 3/4 only adds to my mercurial charm. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.
Speaking of disappointing - I'm just snacking on some mixed nuts whilst writing this and a couple of the Brazil nuts were not up to scratch at all. I class the Brazil nut as a premium nut, and usually a lovely creamy experience, but this one reminded me of a kettle that badly needs descaling. I've encountered this before with Brazil nuts, but quite frankly, I've had enough and would like to know what the fuck is going on with them. Please write in if you can shed any light on this limescaley mystery.
Back to the issue of pre-season form, and fortunately most of the other Muckles have 'wintered well', look in decent nick, and are raring to go, so stay tuned folks - 2020 is gonna be a belter!
Nicola McCoy and Colin Blacklock at the CXNE presentation evening
Here’s a shot of me up in the Sottish Borders last week just to prove I’m not a total soft shite.