I'm cack at riding off road.
Motorbikes were my passion as a youth... I think that riding a mid-1990's Chinese-made Townsend Topeka MTB pushed me towards getting something with an engine as soon as I turned 16. My first motorbike was a Yamaha DT50... an off road bike. It never left the asphalt.
So why am I sat here thinking about how I could chop my lovely, comfortable, much-loved Kinesis winter bike in for a cyclocross bike?
There's no way I'd be competitive. I'd crash a lot. It looks like it hurts. There's a whole load of new/different kit I'd need to buy... and that's not even mentioning how dirty CX bikes get... as someone who's a bit of a clean freak when it comes to my bikes, it'd be a ridiculous thing for me to contemplate... but I can't stop thinking about how much fun it looked when I went to watch the Scottish Cyclocross round at Callendar Park near Falkirk yesterday.
By all accounts the course was very technical, it was also properly muddy, but the buzz, even as a spectator, was fantastic.
Cross is for everyone
This is the time of year that the Scottish CX series takes over the calendar, there's events on up to the new year, and from what I've seen having been at Callendar Park this weekend, and Dig in at the Dock at the start of this year, it's well worth the trip to go to an event in your local area.
The events are full of people shouting, whistles, cowbells... and laughter. Yeah, it's racing, it's serious, but the atmosphere at the events I've been to was really positive. Kids on their CX bikes ride around watching parents compete - the parents having watched their kids compete in previous races. It's a family event. Cross is for everyone.
You cannot be serious
So... on the way home, having watched my mate Owen compete in the men's senior race, my wife asked if I'd like to have a go at 'cross. My immediate answer was: “No, I've not got a bike that would allow me to race, but I'd think about it if my Kinesis ever broke and I needed to replace the frame". She thought that would make sense... this was as close as it gets to encouraging the purchase of a new bike!
But alas, I'm not yet ready to plummet head first into the muddy depths of cyclocross. Maybe in the future – when I've got my head around the abuse that my bike would receive, the hours I'd have to spend cleaning it, plus the whole “max. HR for an hour” thing... Until then, I'll keep being the enthusiastic spectator and I'll enjoy every minute of it.
Cross races are bloody brilliant... get yourself to one.
Thanks to Martin Young for the use of his images.