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3 Peaks Cyclocross 2012 (it’s grim up north)

Cross season is finally here and for me it kicked off last Sunday with the classic 3 Peaks Cyclocross race in Yorkshire. Now in its 50th year, it involves a circular navigation of  the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent and includes 60kms and 1,500m of ascent, frequently involving rough and steep terrain – with a bike on your back.

This year two Shand Stooshie’s were taking part ridden by myself, and Robin who’d bought a frame from us earlier this year. Robin had previously competed two years ago and was looking for a steel cross frame with disc brakes for his next race.  For my part, I’d run the 3 Peaks fell race a couple of times so knew the hills (albeit different to the cyclocross route) and had for year always wanted to give it a go with a bike in tow. I was also happy to have discs and knew the descents would be ‘entertaining’ with a mountain bike never mind a cross bike.

To add to the fun, the weather was the worst experienced over the past 50 years with heavy rain and 50mph winds on the summits making it a challenge just to stay upright. Shouldering the bike on the steeper sections was tricky with wind making it difficult to balance on rockier sections with cleated shoes.  Quite a few competitors pulled out after the miserable decent of Whernside deciding it was too cold and wet to face another summit, although after years of hill/fell running I didn’t mind the conditions too much, although would agree it was all a bit grim…

In the end both Stooshie’s (and riders) finished in one piece with Robin in an impressive position of 89 and me in a less impressive 243 out of a 700 start list. I’d originally been planning a better finish time/position so was a bit disappointed with the result, but reckon it should be achievable in better conditions next year.

Special thanks should go to all the marshals who braved the elements for hours on end out on the hills – along with Malcolm, Fraser, Christina and her parents who supported Addy and me with spares, food and motivation on what was a very grim, but most excellent day.

Picture courtesy of Edward Rollason.

posted by russell - October 2nd, 2012

SCX Mull 2011 – end of the series

SCX Mull 2011

Well, despite its good intentions, #Hurricanebawbag didn’t ruin a weekend of racing on Mull, although it did for an unfortunate few who had accident heading to Oban in Friday night’s blizzard – luckily with no injuries.

On arriving in Mull, there was a power cut at Craignure, and when we got to the north of the island Craigmore Castle was in the dark too – although, after a quick trip to Tobermory for a bite to eat and a pint, the power was on when we got back, along with snow piling up nicely outside.

Come morning the snow had all but disappeared, resulting in two days of fantastic racing with a technical mud on Saturday and a fast blast with a bit of climbing on Sunday. Both days made for an exciting finish to the series with a spectacular backdrop over the sea to Moidart and the Islands beyond. A good effort put into the Santa costumes too with nearly everyone dressed in red adding to the atmosphere of the weekend. Surreal!

Final results for the series and the weekend are on the SCX website, but a big thank you should go to Davie Graham and everyone who helped and took part during the series – it was a hoot and I for one cannae wait till next year!

posted by russell - December 12th, 2011

SCX Championships – sunshine and sleet

It was cold and sometimes wet, but we had fun at Auchentoshan making this short film. Originally we had two cameras, but the battery on the first was dead before we started… and the other ran out part way through. However, a mobile phone came to the rescue and with some subtle editing and black and white treatment we just about get away with it! Enjoy.

posted by russell - December 6th, 2011

Scottish Cyclocross Series 2011 – Irvine

Scottish Cyclocross Series 2011

Rain on the bedroom window at 7:30am suggested it was going to be a wet Sunday and a wet start to the 2011 Scottish Cyclocross series in Irvine. However, by the time we’d driven West, the sky had brightened and there was even views up the coast to Adrossan and across to the Isle of Arran.

At £12, the entry fee is a bargain and the course is a cracker with undulating loops around the Marine Drive beach park next to the sea. The course was a mix of grass, gravel paths and moorland singletrack, but the real kicker is a 200m sandy trail through a small band of dunes next to the beach.

After the first practice lap it was clear the sand was hard going, but the worst part was the protest from the oily bits that sounded like sand and mud had been poured over finely tuned drivetrain – which of course it had… The only course of action was to ignore it and pretend that it was time for new shiny bits anyway.

As it happened, the sand wasn’t actually that hard and it ended up being the part of the course you could catch your breath on.

Having not done any speed work in a while, a good beating was anticipated, but as it happened ended up mid-field and enjoyed some close battles on the course – even coming off at one point as a rider cut in front too soon. John McCaffery won the Vets with Craig Hardie coming first in the Seniors and Genevieve Whitson in the Female category.

Scottish Cyclocross Series 2011

If you’ve not tried it before, cyclocross is definitely worth a go. Walkers Cycling Club put on a good day and there was a real mix of abilities and the Scottish series has a great family-friendly atmosphere. The junior race was well attended too with the kids having just as much fun as the adults.

The next race is at Plean, near Stirling with full details on the Scottish Cyclocross website.

posted by russell - October 4th, 2011