Milton Cyclocross near Cambridge was the last race of the Eastern Region League for the 2018/19 season. I was currently 4th under 12 boy in the league meaning I needed to finish as high as possible in the race and hope that my rival finished further back.

The organisers had done a great job getting the course ready in the weeks leading up to the race. It was nice that they had laid out a different course to that of the under 10’s as all too often we end up racing the same course. The course additions included an off camber section, a steep incline and a section through trees. A the end of the tree section was a hurdle that was too high to hop so would mean dismounting, lifting the bike over and remounting. I felt that the technical elements of the course would favour me in the race as I could use my bike handling skills. Some races in the season have been simple and flat which always favour the bigger boys who can produce more power.

The week leading up to the race had been pretty wet so it was likely the course would cut up as the race progressed. As I walked the course with Dad we discussed the sections that I needed to practice ride. It was clear that it would be important to be in the front pack when entering the first corner as it would be another few corners before an overtake was likely. Getting off the line fast at the start would be crucial which was something I had struggled to do at the last couple of races.

I got a great start off the line and went through the first corner in 2nd place. As we got to the off camber the leader took a poor line and dropped his bike which blocked me and meant I had to jump off and run for a short distance. This allowed the boy in 3rd through and the other boy soon came passed both of us and regained the lead. At the end of the 1st lap I was 3rd but glued to the wheel of the boy in 2nd. I knew I needed to make the pass on the next lap, which I did as we approached the hurdle. I was much quicker running over the hurdle with my bike and I remounted in 2nd place and pushed hard to get a small break. I worked hard on the rest of the laps but I couldn’t close down the leader but I did grow my gap to the boy in 3rd.

I was pleased to finish 2nd and felt I had my best race performance of the season. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough for me to get 3rd in the league and I finished in 4th place.

I enjoyed my second year in the U12 Eastern Cross League and I have learnt a lot more about cyclocross as well as pushing myself in racing. I would like to thank all the race organisers for putting on such high quality races. I’m looking forward to next year, which will be a big step up to under 14’s as the race time doubles from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.