Cold, naked, shivering, in a car park, in the woods.

No this is not the start of a Twin Peaks inspired sexual fantasy, nor is it the start of a Crimewatch re-enactment featuring me and Stan Collymore.

It is how I spent part of Sunday afternoon.

This weekend was the first of the British Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike Series at Sherwood Pines.
The temperature barely got above freezing point, and there was snow everywhere. Well, nearly everywhere. It turned out that under the snow was mud. Lots of it.

The races started on Sunday with a brilliant win for Dirtwheels young prodigy, Jake Poole who won the Juniors; beating amongst others, Nick Craig’s son Tom.
Jake providing great inspiration to Sophia, the young daughter of one of my friends, Ian. Sophia has recently broken three vertebrae in her back in a fall from her BMX. Jake, having overcome the same serious injury in the last 18 months.

Dirtwheels boss Nicky Hartle rode brilliantly in the Vets Womens to finish just outside a podium place.

Then in the afternoon, which had brief moments of sunshine, (leading to frantic attempts to top up suntans for those recently returned from the Dirtwheels Training Camp in Spain) came the Masters and the Vets races.

Martin Graham, AKA “the Flying Scotsman” started the Masters from the number 1 slot.
Unfortunately a saddle related mechanical saw him drop to a still impressive Top 20 finish.

The Boss (Neil Hendry, not Bruce Springsteen) and I lined up on the grid for the Vets race.
Neil had a really good, ride slugging it out with Jough Watson from Charge Bikes.
It was also the first time that I had ever seen him muddy.
And me, well I raced, and then I shivered, cold and naked in a car park, in the middle of the woods.

Rob Watson also did a super job of pit duties for me, even extending to having hot food ready for me when I crossed the finish line and cleaning my bike whilst I struggled to get changed.
I owe you one Rob.

Other notable rides included my good friend Fern Henry finishing second in her first year racing in the Expert category.

And spare a thought for the amazing Joolze Dymond.
Whilst we race around these often cold and muddy courses, Joolze can normally be found lying in a ditch somewhere, inches away from a cyclist on the edges of control, taking superb photo’s like the one below.
Thanks Joolze.


Check out her brilliant blog and website:


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