Last race of the CX season and the last race of the NW league for this season: done. That's probably the best way to put it. Done.
A nice 'safe' course with no death defying bits to spanner yourself on and nice soft mud to crash on (luckily for me...). Many corners, again. Many, many corners. Oh and the first spiral of doom of the season - I always feel sorry for those poor souls having to put up all that tape for those things! No sandpit though, so not very zeitgeisty. The sun came out, the coffee van was serving nice brews and the NW gang were as good as ever. A suitable ending in those respects.
Despite everything being, well, nice, I wasn't really up for it. Plenty of fitness, the bikes were still going (maybe a bit loose/rattley/seized until a good solid thwack was applied - delete as appropriate, but still functional enough to not be an excuse) but I just did not concentrate ad did not get stuck in.
I've no idea what actually happened off the start, something towards the rear of my bike got hooked onto something with the rider behind and, with a bit of red mist descending I just kept trying to floor it, dragging us both along. Unsurprisingly that didn't work out well and I was off the back of the pack (this season's story all over!) shortly afterwards.
For maybe half a lap I felt a bit of 'vintage Dave' and made up quite a few places - found gaps, got past people, actually felt like I was putting down power properly in and out of the corners. A silly crash put paid to that though.
Thanks to Ellen for the pic
Back to 'tick over racing'. Not that 'tick over racing' is "slow" - I still worked my way slowly back up through the field, but the willingness to fight for every corner was lacking and I 'sat up' on the ridiculous corner-tastic bend-a-thons rather than truly battling to get back to the head of the race.
My eye was not on the ball, my head was not 'in it' and - if it wasn't for having to finish the race to get an overall league place for the year I could well have been tempted to the butty van. If I'm being honest I've been tempted to the butty van/cake stand/biscuit tin several times already and wasn't hitting this race at peak racing weight or anything like that (timely shout out here to "Kwik-Stitch of Preston for fixing the zip on my skinsuit!), I guess a mixture stubbornness and non stop cheering and support from all over the course stopped me from just giving up (that and the knowledge that, if I was ever to not be able to race, I'd regret not doing so when I could.)
So on I went.
More overtaking when the opportunity arose. Occasional crashing. Fewer bike changes than I should have made (just the one, in fact). Finish the season so I can start plotting next season.
Thanks to Ellen for the pic
Over the line for the final time in 3rd. On a super twisty course that didn't suit me, on a day where I wasn't really 'on it' that's something to put down to, well, Lee giving me better fitness than I even realised I had and the sheer enthusiasm of everyone around me.
You can't sink into the mud too much with that much support. I can't thank everyone enough for making these races just so much fun (Even when they're not!). On to summer stuff now. And plotting next season. I've had some good (and career equalling best) results and some utterly fantastic races over the past few months. Time to build on them :)