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Tim Costello (Southdown Velo) writes: I thought I would contribute some
pictures and words about my darling Colnago cross-bike, and how I tried cross
for the first time last year.
As a serious road racer, I had always rather looked down my nose at cyclo-cross.
Who was the world cyclo-cross champion anyway? Did I care? This is the story
of how I become a born again cyclo-cros rider and my beautiful Colnago cyclo-cross
At the end of the last road season, I once again took my mountain bike out from
the shed and dusted it off. It looked very sad. I had taken delivery of it on
the day Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister. I hadn’t done any maintenance
since. A very quick look was enough to calculate that it was not cost effective
to replace all those parts that were long past their sell-buy date.
I enjoyed riding off-road in the winter, but I had never felt comfortable in
the mountain bike position. What if I had an off-road bike, but with an on-road
position? By pleasant co-incidence I was in Mike Perry’s shop, Maestro. As we
sat drinking coffee and chatting, my eye was caught by a rather dandy looking
It was a Colnago allright, but there was something unsual about it. I took
a closer look, and it was love. A Colnago cyclo-cross frame with a very tasty
finish. Enquiries revealed that it had been used once by Mike’s son before he
broke his arm. It had remained hanging up ever since. I skirted around the subject
of buying the frame. You don’t want to be too keen on a first date. After a
few more visits to the shop the bond had grown stronger. Eventually, thanks
to a very competitive price (thanks Mike) I was the proud owner.
I now started to read everything about cyclo-cross, including the information
available on LondonCycleSport. I browsed eBay to get bits and pieces and ransacked
the shed for old cast-offs. Eventually she was up and running and I was ready
for my first race. I practised jumping on and off a few times and felt ready.
I lined up for my first race in the grounds of a hospital in Southampton. At
the start I looked with contempt at the mountain bike riders and people with
hairy legs. Then we were off! Barely had I clipped my feet in and the leaders
were all ready way ahead of me. I struggled manfully and after a lap caught
a chap who looked more suited to riding to the pub. He didn’t even have toe-clips.
After a few more laps I had caught a few more riders, but I was still solidly
at the back. I ended up in a race long tussle with a chap on a bike with no
The pain was dreadful. Never has my back hurt so much, but it was great fun.
I finally pipped my nemisis on the last lap. It felt fantastic. I have since
realised that I am probably the world’s worst cyclo-cross rider. It hasn’t put
me off in the slightest. Quite the reverse.
It’s like starting cycling all over again. I’m a born-again crosser and loving
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