Tag Archives: Cyclocross

To the edge

Just back in from a stonker of a bike ride with GT, down in the Clyde Valley. The weather was absolutely stunning – a clear, crisp winter day, but not stupidly cold, in fact at points the sweat was pouring off me. Of course, being the winter*, we were on the cyclocross bikes cutting through the mud and rolling around at a fair lick. GT was on form on the downhills and greasy stuff using some revolutionary tyres with knobs on them, while I struggled with the more traditional John Boy approach of worn smooth hand-me-downs that provided negligible grip at most times. All was swell though and I felt good until things got steep when it was off and running for me. The gem of the day though was a new and totally cheeky trail, probably seldom ridden by anyone other than its closest neighbour, the late great Colin McRae. It really was back of the neck stuff as the singletrack trail took us high above a river, frequently taking us to the edge of 200ft cliffs, with off camber tree roots and wet fallen leaves doing their best to send us to the abyss below. The adrenalin was pumping and the sweat began to pour despite the cold and the fact we were pretty much descending all the time. The narrow bars of the cross bikes at times were handy for squeeing between an overhanging wall on the land-side and trees on the abyss-side, but at times I longed for the reassurance of my mountain bike with suspension, predictable grip and excellent brakes. Still, what doesn’t kill us only makes us want to go back and try again! All that adrenalin and mental focus took its toll soon after when my meager breakfast and feeble fuel reserves finally died and I hit the wall, big time. Such a rare occurrence as I’m normally throwing fluid (Nuun electrolytes of course) and fuel (Clif Bars can’t be beaten) constantly on a ride, but I’d left home without a good feed, or a good stash of trail food, so I was on the edge and I was in bits. GT nursed me back for the final 15 mins and I made it home for an evening of refuellling on anything I could find.