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.
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.