It was ages ago, back in August when I signed up for the Rollapaluza Halloween Cyclo Cross race. It sounded a good idea at the time while having a beer one Monday evening after a track training session.
The cyclo cross course at Herne Hill doesn't really suit me, but as it's so local to where I live I always like to make it down there for the race if I'm around. The fact that it was in aid of Halloween was probably more by default than by design.
But now, 2 days from the day of the race the magnitude of the event is really dawning on me.
It'll be on a Saturday night, in an in-field which has been adorned with a whole manner of obstacles. The beer tent has been erected, lots of folks are talking about how they'll be coming over to watch.
I have looked at the start list and the fields will be BIG. All the who's who of London cycling seem to have made a date with this event across all the categories. Twenty-six women have signed up for this race. I have never seen such a long startlist of women's names in a cyclo cross race in the London area! Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant. The field will be pretty strong though and the battle at the front end of proceedings will be as hard fought as for any national level cyclo cross race – especially with the prospect of generous prize money to take home.
So with all the pre-event fanfare that's going on, I'm actually getting a little nervous. Loads of people will be watching me so I don't really want to make an ass of myself. I did my first 'cross race of the season last Sunday. I came through it ok, so I know that I will survive the 40 minute race. I have dug out my night riding lights. Hopefully the cable from the lights to the battery is long enough to fit the cross bike frame. I even ventured out at night off-road. It was pretty scary when I was alone, but Saturday should be alright as I'll have about 79 others riding around me!
Wanting to get into the spirit of things, I have decided to do a bit of fancy dress. I've got a mask and some wings. Hopefully my visibility won't be further impaired by my cat-mask, and I won't get the wings caught in branches along the way. I have no designs on winning, but if at the end of the race my wings are not hanging down my bum, my mask hasn't flown off and my skirt isn't caught in my wheels, I think I will have done well! And I will savour that all important beer afterwards!