51 weeks after my first attempt at the Tod cross I find myself standing before the inevitable mud bath shivering in anticipation, the saturated grass field before us would require tractor like traction to get me to the front and into the first lap. No pre race warm up or reconnaissance meant I was going in blind. TALLY HO.
With rooster tails of muddy water and deep puddles dragging you back we skidded and splashed ourselves into the course. Latching onto a wheel and lurching myself through the troughs of mud I found myself near the front but not quite in touch with the leaders. As they ploughed ahead I prepared for my race distance and what I hoped would be consistent laps. Tod cross is famous for its cobbled climb. This slippery challenge with bikes not geared for its incline was a challenge everyone would have to face as they raced their own races. My first two attempts failed, the tight corner at the base of the climb caught me out but it taught me what not to do the next time and for the remaining laps I tamed the cobbles and reached the top (only to feel slightly sick once conquering the summit).
“Do I run this section or do I ride”. As we passed the jet wash area with mud overlapping our ankles I thought it would be faster to run but watching Stephen from Crosstrax up ahead making good headway in the saddle showed how well our skinny CX tires could cut through to firm mud and propel you onwards. Lap by lap I trudged on searching for the grip, executing my dismounts and remounts to the best of my abilities but tiredness was keeping things interesting and a hasty remount resulted in a comical miss the handlebar moment, keep the concentration Rider don’t fail now.
Ding-a-ling ding-a-ling. One lap to go. One last climb up the cobbles, one last off camber slid and one more wade through the mud. A high five with a bearded gentleman who gave great encouragement on every lap (thank you whoever you where) and the finish line approached. Big thanks to the organisers, the photographers and the supporters. See you in 2013.