The 2014/15 Cyclo-cross season came to a climax on Saturday the 10th January for our CX expert Lewis Hartley.
Lewis had to travel south for a long journey to Abergavenny for the one-off British Cycling Cyclo-Cross Championship, racing in the U16 category. Note that Lewis has another 12 months in this category so his expectations were realistic!
Lewis has ridden consistently well throughout this season’s CX campaign at both regional and national level securing the regional NWCCA youth league champion title (as a first year rider).
So now was the final big test of the season in the one-off championship race, held within the grounds of the Abergavenny Leisure centre in the heart of the picturesque South Wales county of Monmouthshire.
The Inspire VCUK team bus arrived at the venue early on the Saturday morning (11th) so that Lewis could get some practice on the course before the racing commenced in other categories at 9.30am. After getting a couple of laps under his belt it was then time to prepare the pits, get signed on and prepare his mind and body for the race ahead.
The race commenced at 1.15pm, with 63 riders taking to the line. Lewis was gridded three rows back from the front and therefore had some ground to make up on the leading riders after the whistle blew. The riders rolled off on the tarmac up a slope before taking a chicane and then a right hander into the pits area. After the pits the course became very technical and a few bottle necks began to appear.
The weather was dry and very windy leaving the ground pretty dry too. There were some sections of mud and some did collect on the wheels but generally, the conditions were good and fast with pit changes only required every 3-4 laps.
As the race progressed, the positions settled down and at the mid-point of the race Lewis was coming 14th. Everything was going well up until the bell lap but then Lewis had a problem with his chain. It took a while to realise he couldn’t get it back on and he had to run to the pits for support, losing quite a few places in the process.
In the end, Lewis finished 18th, and was the 7th first year rider to cross the line. He was happy with his performance on the day.
Lewis would like to thank Champions System, VCUK, Inspire Risk Management Schemes, Creative Nature, GoCoCo Drinks, Higher Nature, Love Beets Juice, Secret Training and Transition Coaching for all their brilliant support.