The much awaited 2018/19 cyclo-cross season starts this weekend with the first Wessex League event at a new venue – Newbury Racecourse.

After nipping down to Bristol last weekend for a final “sharpener” for some riders at the Western League which had already started, this is the big one. There will be lots of nerves on Sunday for some. There are those that are moving up to the challenges of a new age category, those who may not have done enough training, those who have let their skills slip and others who will just take a week or so to get back into that CX “groove”. The combination of skills and fitness is probably more important than any other cycling discipline¬† – the two together can make you a race winner.

As part of the race organising team I am looking forward to building the course tomorrow and for weeks now have been thinking about the features we can add in on what would otherwise be a fast and flat circuit more akin to summer cross. We have some ideas and there are lots of natural lumps and bumps which will lend themselves perhaps to some “hidden” off camber corners. Always trying to be creative, and after watching images of Hurricane Florence on the TV this week I also have a plan to create mini “whirlpools” to break up what could be long, fast runs. None of this will come to life though until I am standing there tomorrow morning.

Come Sunday, I will be focused on the Banjo Cycles Cyclo-Cross Development Team and the other riders I coach; assisting, advising, motivating and observing their first challenges of the season. It will also be great to renew old friendships and acquaintances after what seems months focused almost solely on road events.

The weather looks good and I don’t think we’ll be very busy in the pits this weekend but if we are, bring it on….