There’s no going back now. By putting digital pen to paper, I’m committing myself to the mud-covered, lung-searing, thigh-burning world of cyclo-cross this winter.
I’ve previously dipped my toe into cyclo-cross, having ridden a handful of the bikes that have passed through RoadCyclingUK. While I’ve had a blast hacking around the woods or linking roads and bridleways on a winter loop, the race scene has largely passed me by having pinned on a number only once. And that was way back in 2012.
It was hard, no doubt about that, but damn good fun, too. I’ve threatened to return but, you know… excuses. It’s time to change that – I’ve scoured the local leagues in the south east and circled a handful of dates in the diary (the British Cycling website is a great resource to find events near you) to see what cyclo-cross racing is really about. Now the clocks have gone back, cyclo-cross should provide a regular source of motivation as we head into winter – an hour of high-intensity racing at its rawest, yet most accessible. Cyclo-cross races are wrapped up in an hour and attract riders of all abilities, who often race as part of one field. And there’s no bunch to be dropped from (hurrah!), with races strung out over the course and rival riders always ready to engage in a battle.