“I’ll come and watch you in the summer,” she says.
“Cyclo-cross is a winter sport,” I reply.
“Why the hell is it a winter sport?” she retorts.
Convincing my other half, who has had an aversion to cycling since riding from London to Paris five years ago, to stand in an isolated, wind-swept field, in freezing rain and in the middle of December, was always going to be a tall order. She had a point, to be fair. With an Arctic wind whistling and rain beginning to fall as I packed the Ridley X-Night into the car, there was more than a hint of temptation just to stay at home.
But while the number of summer CX races is quickly growing, winter remains core cyclo-cross season. Thick mud, single-figure temperatures and frozen fingers are what ‘cross is all about, right? So I made my way down to Ford Manor Farm in Kent for round four of the East Kent Cyclo-Cross League. Eight days before Christmas, it was a chance to earn a couple of extra mince pies over the festive break.