Report from supported rider Daniel Barnes
This season I have been lucky enough to get selected for 5 trips with the GB CX team (1 training camp in Thornbridge, 2 race camps in Belgium and 1 world cup and 1 European Champs). This weekend I was on the 2nd of the GB CX race camps where we raced a Brico Cross in Essen on Saturday and at Oversije on Sunday.
I had an easy couple of weeks before the trip as I took a break after Koksijde and chose to not race the Midlands Champs and then had a cold last week so went easy then too, so was not sure how I would feel in Belgium. And due to breaking a lever on one of my race bikes the day before I went on this trip I had to race on my dad’s bike as the spare.
On Saturday we travelled from the GB house in Zottegem to the race and had a couple of recce laps before our race. The course wasn’t too muddy except for a few huge, deep bogs which soaked you, some good technical sections on the course including hurdles and some rideable steps. I didn’t get going in the race very quickly but by the 2nd lap I was feeling OK and was able to push on and finished 15th.
On Sunday, we travelled from the house to Oversije and when we arrived it was really wet and quite windy. The GB skinsuits are very thick, (which is the complete opposite to my Lichfield skinsuit) so in most of the GB races I have been overheating so I decided not to wear a base layer underneath as the temperature was 8ᵒC so thought that would be OK. The course was very muddy everywhere and had many rutted corners, steep run ups, steep descents and a long road climb every lap. The combination of the rain and wind made it feel much cooler, and as I was going along the exposed parts of the course I was feeling really cold on my chest which is really unusual in a race as you normally warm up as soon as you get going. On the first and 2nd lap the rain got extremely heavy and turned into sleet and hail which completely soaked me. However, I was going really well and my legs were feeling good and I was loving the course (one of the best course I have ever ridden) but then I crashed. It was only a normal crash which in most circumstances would have been insignificant but I landed in wet cold mud and from when I got back on the bike, I just could not get moving as I was so cold. I have never felt anything like that before so it was weird and as I went past the finishing line with 2 laps to go, I had to stop as I thought I might collapse. I went back to the GB tent which had heaters in but couldn’t get warm for ages until I had a warm shower. It is the first time that I have had a DNF in a race since I started when I was 7 which is disappointing but at least I was having a good race until I pulled out.
Although my results this weekend were not as good as I had hoped, I have still learned a lot from it and I am very grateful to Mudiiita who along with British Cycling have supported the cycling camps to give us so many opportunities to race abroad. We are learning so much from the variety of courses we race, from the GB carers and mechanics and from the other riders including learning to cope with the amount of travel, organising ourselves, how to cook and prepare meals, pre and post race snacks and what to wear in races!