Sunday, 14 October 2012

wiggly worms

if you look closely....
There's a childhood joy of being head to toe in mud, and for those of us that had the delight of growing up with a sister, worms just added to the fun! I'm sure many of us have chased screaming siblings around as they attempted to escape from a brother who had his hands full of muddy, slippery, wiggly worms - good times.

Recently, cyclesguff has been spending a lot of time in mud. The Scottish Cyclocross season is under way. So far, the conditions under tyre have been wet, gloopy, slippy and sticky. The blue skies above have helped to quickly dry out the mudpack on legs, arms, face etc just in time to shake it all off before heading home. The two event courses to date have been very different with today's Auchentoshan race (sadly no whisky) being an absolute blast. Today was quite possibly one of the most challenging hours I have spent trying to stay on the bike in recent years. The course had it's fair share of interesting sections, the kind of places where dog owners loose their pooches. The advice of; sit back, loosen the grip and hold on was well received, but you could just tell that the crowd was baiting for mud and blood. Talking of crowds, the numbers were down on last week and the encouragement as riders clambered up the various 'walls' could have been better - come on, cheer us on!

Last week's event benefitted from a wonderful weekend of sun and families making the most of Callendar Park in Falkirk. The course was less technical and almost encouraged riders along as they flowed through sections and could even catch breath on a gentle descent of blaze. 

In starck contrast to today's brutality, the meandering course allowed riders to dismount at will and steep sections and ramps could be ridden with gusto. Whether this was strategic decision at the hands of the series organisers remains to be seen - give those new to the sport a 'gentle' taste of mud and they'll be back. 

I thought only dogs did that...
The starting field at all levels is impressive. What isn't quite so impressive is the feeling when you are catching someone, only to realise that they are going slower due to a mechanical. This is obviously a feature of cross, but for me, it doesn't tick the same box as catching someone on a climb. That subtle feeling of reeling in the red rag at cross is an entirely different beast. It's fair to say that I didn't catch that many people, so the feeling may change, then again, so had my fitness levels.

Stay upright

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