Ireland’s Lara Gillespie finished 23rd in the World Cyclocross Championships U23 event last weekend (4th Junior Over The Line)
Read her Rider Race Report Below:
“I arrived on Thursday with my sister, mum and Glen in Brussels to meet with Maria. We met the rest of the team at the base.
We headed down to the course on Friday (1.5hr drive) to do a few practice laps.
After heading out on the course, I was super excited, I didn’t know what to expect.
We went easy with Martin giving us advice on technical bits , but the course was already so slippy that a lot of the technical parts were already unrideable, or faster to run.
I soon realised that this race could turn into a cross country-running mud slide. We only managed to get one lap done before the course closed which was unfortunate but also it was getting cold and wet – so we headed home to get rested and warm.
I returned to the course on Saturday morning . I wasn’t too nervous .
I didn’t put any major pressure on myself because I understood that this adventure was purely for experience.
I was excited to play in the mud and race against the stars. After I did my practise lap that completely changed .. and I got a bit panicky as I had a few wipeouts…
I was riding a bike I’d never ridden before (kindly lent to me on the day because I only have one bike). But the brakes were completely different and I couldn’t control anything.
Another slip up before my race as I fell off my rollers right before I was about to head to the start line (embarrassing I know) I thought I did damage but luckily I was just bruised.
The start line was thrilling, I was excited to see how many riders I could pass as I knew I was starting right at the back.
I started well, clipping in smoother than usual and I felt strong. As the first lap went on I got caught behind a few crashes.
I did a bike change each lap onto a different bike – (Thanks to Thomas Creighton for providing a bike for the race). I had never ridden it ever but it worked well.
I struggled in the second and third lap with clipping in because the mud was clogging up so much in my shoes, I had a few slides in the mud but loved every moment.
By the third lap I started getting into my rhythm and my nervous shake disappeared.
I learnt so much on this trip and I’m so thankful to cycling Ireland, Andy Layhe and everyone who helped this experience happen.
It was great having a full team there too with a rider in every event and a great mechanic and brilliant supporters!
The atmosphere at Valkenburg was so serial!
I’m already excited for the next cross season.”