..or, Rolls & Responsibilities
On the last pod, we had what was probably our first ever mention of cyclocross. This was on the back of some funny & genuinely enthusiastic videos posted by our pals @McComisky & @Dav_Hamill on YouTube.
Having an hour or so to spare on Sunday, I took wife & wean down to Tranent, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, to view first-hand what this whole cyclocross malarky was all about.
My first impression was,”bloody hell, this looks popular”, as the car park of the Meadowmill Sports centred was rammed with all manner of bike-racked cars and what empty tarmac was left was being zig-zagged by a riot of lycra, knobbly tyres, spare wheels and track pumps. I even saw someone warming up on rollers – it was probably safe to assume this was neither of the aforementioned YouTube sensations!
The layout of the course didn’t really seem to lend itself to spectating but the multi-lap format meant that if you parked yourself in one spot you were always going to be witnessing some action. So I duly parked myself & my camera whilst wife & wean (who, in a fit of post-birthday enthusiasm had begged to bring his own, shiny new bike – of which more later) were dispatched to procure the ubiquitous roll & sausage and bad cup of coffee (this is Scotland, outdoors, in November – it’s pretty much mandatory).
Having missed the start, it was slightly difficult to pick out the leaders from the also-rans but as the laps progressed, purple faces & gasping breaths betrayed those at the back of the field. The support, however, was great. Everyone, no matter their position in the race or choice of bike, got an encouraging cheer & the friendliness of the event was clear to me, even as a curious onlooker. A selection of the photos from the Vets race can be seen here. Most photos are pretty much as they came out of the camera – but @McComisky was given the “heroic Belgian” treatment and having seen them, he “thanked” me for making him look 100 years old! (I thought he looked quite heroic, and indeed Belgian.)
Needing to head off, we took advantage of the gap between the Vets & Seniors race to wander round the course. A large, seemingly artificial pyramid-shaped hill overlooks the course & my enthusiastic offspring set about climbing it on his bike. Having conquered it, he set about descending, which he did in an impressively controlled manner. However, with his head in the clouds like any 10 year old, he road straight on to the course at the bottom of the hill to be confronted by the shouts of 60-odd cyclists closing on him at high speed. Thankfully he scuttled off the course well before any carnage ensued and slunk back to endure the wrath of his father! At this point I considered it fortunate that we had to leave, thus avoiding the sort of repercussions more usually directed at the owners of ill-trained dogs. Suffice to say that he was made to sleep in his kennel that night!
I must say that I am very impressed with sense of community that surrounds cyclocross and I certainly could see this being a sport that I would want to have a go at. The relatively common sight of mountain bikes being used means that there really is no barrier to entry, but cyclocross frames and nobbly tyres look so good – that if I ever did get into it, I rather suspect it would be accompanied by a rapid draining of bank-accounts & a cooling of marital relations.
Now if I could only get my 10-year old son’s head out of the clouds I rather suspect he would quite like a go as well.
Tags: cycling, cyclocross, ScottishCX