The Hunt Cycling is a full service bike-shop, independent journal and collective consisting of three cycling enthusiasts based in Halle Saale. We try to explore, document and share our experiences in the field of cycling and beyond. Besides drinking shandy, lots of riding and intellectual discusses about bike parts and stuff, we enjoy riding with friends and running our showroom and bike-shop located in the center of Halle.
Last year I discovered a new interest for cyclocross racing, unfortunately a little too late, as autumn had already arrived. The temperatures were still mild enough and perfect for training on the streets. After a few first attempts I had smelled blood and as the year had been quite successful so far, I was eager to take part in another official race. On November 17th, 2013 the time had finally come. Beforehand I invited some friends to join and took a little technical training as I didn’t want to make a fool of myself with all the obstacles in the race. As we arrived in Dornburg around noon, the atmosphere was breathtaking. It was a foggy day, the temperature lay around 5°C and a light drizzly rain had soaked the 2,5km long race track over night. Perfect for cyclocross! First rushes of excitement came over me, as we arrived at the actual racing area full of other racers, who were already warming up on the streets. From that moment I just wanted to get on my bike and start to race – just register and go! Unfortunately there was not enough time for a close inspection of the track, so I decided to check on my material instead, which turned out to be a big mistake in the end. At 02:15 pm me and 23 other racers of the hobby class were about to start.
As I was one of the new racers I had to start from one of the lower places. Shortly after the start I could make up some places, which had a detrimental effect on my endurance, because right after the start followed a 500m long straight, going uphill and full of ditches and other chicanes. As a result I had to let racer after racer drive by during the following rounds, while I was trying to figure out what went wrong. My lung was burning, my thighs turned numb and the bit of saliva left in my mouth tasted like blood – a taste I didn’t have had the rest of the year. But why happened that now? At this point I want to remind you to always check out the track before a race. In my last technical training the day before, I had caught a flat tyre after I had hit a stem on the track. There was not enough air in my tire. I wanted to avoid that at the race so I raised the pressure from 0,5 to 2,7 bar. Unfortunately there was not even one root on the track during the actual race. Another reason was the wrong material. My Continental CycloX-King tyres are not made for such a muddy track. I slipped away constantly and would not even dare to drive through bends quickly or try efficient accelerations after the ditches.
In the end I had to be pleased with the 15th place, a position in the lower middle field. You can think about that whatever you want. I had always been in one of the top ranks at the brevets. I had won a track cycling event in Leipzig and now I had not even made it under the top ten. But in the end it takes more than just being in a good shape. You have to have a good technique, be ready for any change in rhythm and most importantly the material has to be precisely and perfectly coordinated. There is not one minute to catch your breath – it is 30 minutes full speed! The Bioracer Cross Challenge was definitely not my last cyclocross race, for now I know what I can do better next time.