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Nikki Harris on Neerpelt, Namur & Aigle

20 Oct

The road season came and went, and during that time I got some good work done racing with the national team in Spain, France, Germany and Holland. I had some bad luck during the summer with crashes and from that im still having some problems with my tendon from when I crashed inSpain but im getting there and in the last month i have started my cyclocross season!

So far I’ve done 3 races … Neerpelt, Namur and last weekend the first world cup in AigleSwitzerland. I’ve looked forward to the cyclocross season starting again all summer, and with a steadier approach during that time I’ve really found my motivation higher than ever!. I have a lot of races through the winter and with my 2 main focuses towards the end of the season, The first part of the season for me is just about getting stuck into the races with no real specific training and just enjoying what im doing. I’ve never done a full cyclocross season before so all of the early season races are new to me so its nice going to different courses I’ve not ridden on.

Neerpelt-

My first race of the season was at Neerpelt in Belgium, a new uci race in the calendar for women. It was a really fun course, a lot of technical sections through the woods with a good 2 minute section mid way through the course with 3 run ups each lap. I didn’t get a great start with being gridded on the 3rd row and I soon found myself stuck behind people in the first wooded section, fighting for the line through the woods, I lost a lot of the time on the running sections each lap but concentrated more on getting the most out of the race by focusing on getting a good work out done and a race under my belt. I finished in 10th place which is where I would thought I would be for my first race and for the base training I’d been doing.

Namur-

Another course for me I had never raced on before. Completely different to the week before. This course is based on the side of a hill, there’s heavy long sections of grassy fields, some steep run ups, steps and overall its quite a slog of a course. I again didn’t get a great start with a bottleneck into the first technical section I again found myself stuck behind girls that were crashing in front of me so spent the whole race playing catch up. The front girls had gone and I was stuck in no mans land for most of the race having finished this week one place higher in 9th. It was another race and I felt better than the week before.

Everything was going in the right direction, I had a great weeks training the week after Namur with no races that following weekend it was a good chance to get some hard work done before the first world cup. I was feeling good on the bike up until the Thursday before Aigle when I started getting sick!….headache, aching, sore throat…. All the usual signs I was getting sick, I was so gutted, it was such bad timing. I spent the Friday in the camper travelling to Switzerland. It was a long day but I got the chance to rest properly and sleep in the back of the camper, unfortunately for me the weekend got worse and by the time I had woke after hardly any sleep on Saturday night I had a full blown cold and a tight chest. Really not what I wanted. 40 minutes worth of flat out effort and being sick really don’t go, and the results and times showed. I had nothing in me through the whole race and it was a real big effort to even finish the race. I ended up 25th, four minutes down on the winner. I was completely shattered by the end and I just wanted to get back to Belgium and get in my bed.

I have a heavy month of racing coming up with the second world cup in Plzen this weekend. Im taking things steady, and will just have to race this weekend with the aim to pick a few more uci points up for later in the season. Hopefully a week of rest and some easy riding and I will be able to get back to my plan next week and train properly, as for now it looks like all I can do is keep my fingers crossed I don’t get any worse, watch some DVDs and drink plenty of hot drinks !