It never got above zero all day, but boy, what a day – blue skies, crisp snow and frost covered trails.
Simon’s plan (Simon Kirkness from the Edinburgh Tri Centre) was to set off from Ronde in Edinburgh with the plan to follow a circular route around the city on cross bikes using as much off-road as possible – linking trails through the Pentland hills to the South of Edinburgh.
After downing a coffee in Ronde (to be recommended at any time), we hit the tails by following the Water of Leith and straight away encountered the challenge for the day – ice. Off-road trails through cities are great, but as they follow the more hidden parts of the city they’re usually in the shade and untreated. The water of Leith was no exception and kept us locked in cold until we climbed its banks to head up Poets Glen and onto Red Moss using some great link trails though natural woodland.
From here we followed the reservoirs with low sun making the iceier patches in the snow difficult to see, and once onto the hill proper it was a slog along the drove road with deeper snow making progress difficult. At the col between West Kip and Cap Law, we headed down the farm track in deep snow with brakes so frozen as to be useless (discs were definitely the way to go today), but nerves were soothed with a wee nip at the farm before slithering down the remainder of the road. Reaching the A702 it was bitterly cold (and snow free) so we pressed on hard through wooded trails in John Cark’s estate and then to the disused railway line leading from Penicuik to Dalkeith. On reaching Bonnyrigg, we decided to cut the route short due to fading light and head back by road to Edinburgh (rather than continue to Musselburgh and back along the innocent railway through Arthur’s Seat).
All, in all, a brilliant day out and a fantastic way to end the Scottish Cyclocross series – and only a few of us ended up on the deck! Thanks to Colin ‘single speed’ May for the pic and if you’re interested in some video of the day and the Scottish CX scene in general, check out Dave and John’s Dig in! channel on YouTube.