A brace of 2nd places for Nick Barnes

Nick Barnes, Raleigh’s Cyclocross competitor was in action at Markeaton Park, Derby  and Thornes Park, Wakefield over the weekend of 22nd/23rd September. He writes:

On Saturday we met up with Raleigh’s Geoff Giddings at Markeaton Park to pick up our new team gazebo. A beastly piece of kit arrived but it’s a cracking addition for the team.

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I got a couple of warm up laps in and found that the course was a good one; it had a variety of running, woods and some sloggy climbs. I thought it was going to suit me apart from the drag up away from the pits, as most people have better horsepower than me for those sections.

At the start I identified who my competition would be, they were regulars from the league. The whistle blew and I made my usual fast start and after the first half a lap me and Collins were away with Dan Alexander closing in behind.

Over the first half of the race I was watching Collins to see where I was faster. Alexander caught us on the first lap and rolled to the front to keep the pace high.

The riders behind in a group with Dan Booth were drawing closer and I was biding my time but Collins put a hard effort in which distanced Alexander and the Booth group.

Collins then encouraged me to take the lead, which I now know due to the post race chat was because he wanted to see where he was quicker. I didn’t want to go full gas as I wanted to keep something for the end. However, Booth had distanced the rest of his group and was closing in. This provoked Collins to make another effort. This was just enough to distance me over the last two laps and extend to 13 seconds over the line.

Nick-Barnes-Markeaton Park

On Sunday I raced at Thornes Park, Wakefield which suited me down to the ground; technical most of the way round with short sharp straights and climbs. Coming towards the start I spoke with my Dad after his race about the course and tire pressures, after which I decided to pump up my tubs to 40 PSI. I heard on the start that 2012 National Trophy Champ Paul Oldham had a one minute handicap on the field. This prompted a change in my race plan and I decided to go almost 100% from the gun to try and stay away for as long as possible. Image

During the first few laps it was me and Rob Watson at the front. About 15 minutes in Rob began to tire and Paul had closed the gap to around 30 seconds. Once I had dropped Watson I was on my own till 30 minutes in, when Oldham caught me. I tried to stay with him for as long as possible, but I only lasted a lap. From then on in I was simply chasing Paul just in case he had a crash or some sort of situation which meant he would come back to me. Unfortunately he didn’t, and I had to take second, I only finished around 50 seconds behind him on the line. However this equates to 1 minute 50 overall.

My form felt quite good over the weekend but having been beaten by two Hope Factory Racing boys on two consecutive days is a little annoying. I just hope I can keep it going for the National Trophy series.

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