Wymondham rider Anna Buick bounces back after a sticky start
Wymondham rider Anna Buick turned a difficult start into a good win at the Eastern League women's cyclo-cross by the side of Grafham Water.
When the starter's whistle blew Buick missed her pedal and was almost last as the field plunged into woodland – where overtaking was difficult. But as soon as she could Buick started to move up through the field and by quarter distance only early leader Emma Johnson (XRT/Elmy) remained in front. Next lap Buick was leading and had 1:29 in hand by the finish.
'Tough and muddy,' said Buick of the conditions. 'Complete mudbath' was another description.
'Old-School cyclo-cross – wet and slippery' summed up Greg Simcock (Scott UK) who emerged from a three-way battle with Mike Simpson and Matthew Webber to win the Senior men's race. The Grafham mud was mixed with long strands of grass and very effectively gummed up machinery.
The course was largely on longish grass with many awkward cambers. There was a right-angle crossing of a gully or ditch where some rode, others carried their bikes and a few dived over the handlebars. And there were the beaches. Water level in the huge reservoir was higher than last year, restricting the choice of route – the very edge of the water was fastest for a smooth firm surface, but loose sand above the shoreline had to be crossed and riders had no momentum to help them up the bank back onto dry land.
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There were 289 starters – an Eastern League record. Top Norfolk finishers included John Swindells (Great Yarmouth CC, 16th) in the seniors, Patrick Stokes (unattached, 42nd) in the Elite Vets, young Iceni riders Cameron Toms (Junior), Dougal Toms (Youth) and Angus Toms (Under 12) and Sophie Holmes (Inverse RT) in the U14 Girls.
Next day came the Area Team Championships at Milton Keynes. Riders still competed as individuals, but results were added together and expressed in regional nominated teams.
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Eastern teams were third in the women, fifth in the youth, seventh in the Seniors and ninth in the veterans. Best Norfolk individual was Anna Buick who rounded off her weekend with fourth in the 40-rider Women's race.
The course relentlessly climbed, descended and crossed the grass banks surrounding the Milton Keynes Bowl. It became very muddy, though a tarmac section gave some relief. The Toms brothers again featured – Cameron 38th in the juniors and Dougal 12th in the 86-rider youth race.
• In the next few weeks there are good opportunities for Norfolk riders to try Eastern League cyclo-cross. There are events near Fakenham on Sunday (November 18), at Redgrave near Diss on Saturday, November 24, at Broome Heath near Bungay on December 16 and near Attleborough on December 30. These are turn-up-and ride races. There is a wealth of information at www.easterncross.org.uk
• The Cycle Club Breckland celebrated their prizewinners at their Annual Dinner at the Richmond Park Golf Club, Watton.
Carrying away the largest haul of spoils were 13-year-old Declan Davis taking many junior as well as juvenile awards and Laura Gambling with several cups crowned with the Ladies Best All-Rounder.
Needing a barrow to take his collection to the car was Chris Nudds who, at 64, dominated not only the veteran lists but was also outright champion at 50 and 100 miles and over 12 hours – and appropriately gave the speech on behalf of the prizewinners, thanking all those whose work made the club and its events possible. In this context Rob Hobbs received the Jubilee Trophy for service to the club from guest of honour Colin Bunnett of the King's Lynn CC.