Rider blog: Harry lands a win!
Thanks to junior Harry McGarvie for blogging about the cyclocross season, and his recent win!
As a second year junior I had big ambitions going into the 2018/19 cyclocross season. We’d planned on racing all over Scotland as well as competing in various races south of the border, something I wasn’t used to. I worked hard all summer with my coach Davie Lines to gain the best fitness possible in order to give myself the highest chances of getting some good results come ‘cross season. This involved many difficult interval efforts as well as plenty of skills training to hone my technique. The Burners Thursday night training sessions are also a massive help and will improve anyone’s skills massively.
I began my season at Bute at round one of the Scottish CX Series. This was a fairly straightforward fast course, which required very little technique, so suited the bigger road riders. I managed to hang on despite suffering cramp to gain my first podium of the season with third place. Next up was my first outing to England, at Ponteland for the North East cyclocross league. I’d had very little experience racing in England prior to this season, my only prior experiences involving a good kicking! This meant I was really surprised and pleased to finish second on the day in a close battle for the podium spots. So far I’d had great luck and raced well, but I sensed this might change for the first British National trophy at Derby. I suffered against the high level of competition and missed out on points. This race was a shock to the system but a great experience, which definitely helps for later races.
After a brief interlude in my ‘cross season for the Scottish hill climb championships (5th Junior) it was back to Lochore Meadows in Fife for SCX round 3. The race is well known within the Scottish cx community for it’s mind-boggling spirals, referred to as the ‘Spiral of Doom’. The course generally receives a 50/50 split with some riders loving the slippery, headache inducing turns and others hating the sometimes-monotonous nature of them. I quite like the course though and I’ve mainly had good results here. I had a good race and finished fourth, despite being ridden into a wooden pole…
However, for most people Lochore was merely a warm up for the big show – the Irvine Beachpark National Trophy. This was a really prestigious event as it is the first time the National Trophy (Britain’s premiere racing series) has ventured north of the border. Scott and Brian of Walkers Cycling Club knocked it out the park with the event, securing it’s reputation as one of Britain’s best ‘cross races thanks to the stunning scenery and excellent course. I managed to improve around 20 places over Derby finishing just outside the top half of the field.
After a week’s rest I decided to travel south of the border again for round nine of the CXNE series, at Middlesbrough. This was one of my best races to date, in which I managed to attack from the gun and stay out-front most of the race. This was the first genuinely muddy race in what has so far been the driest season in years (hopefully due to change soon…), and the course required a fair bit of running. Unfortunately I had nothing left in the tank on the final lap and was overtaken just before the line to finish second again, this time by a handful of seconds. I was so close to the win, and was determined to turn it around the next weekend for round 10.
Scott Kerr was kind enough to drive club chairman JP, myself and Brian down to South Shields the next Sunday, as well as do pit duties for all three of us. This was a dry but very slippery course, which was also very fast. I felt like it could suit my style of racing during pre-ride and was quietly confident in my ability to get another good result. I felt like I rode the best I could have possibly done and was delighted to finally take my first win of the year. After so many podium places and close finishes this was a massive relief and I was over the moon with happiness.
However, the season is far from over and I have a very busy race schedule with an event every week until Christmas, followed by many more races in the New Year including the British Championships.