Thursday, 5 January 2012

Crossing Tod

As the saying goes, "there's a first time for everything" and Monday was a day of three firsts for me:

  1. Riding in a cyclocross race
  2. Riding a bike with disc brakes
  3. Riding a bike with a bamboo frame
For two autumns/winters I'd been trying to actually get to a race and continually failing for one reason or another. But this year I finally made it to Tod Cross, which happens to be right next to my wife's parents' house. After several days of continuous rain in Calderdale I was beginning to wonder what on earth I'd let myself in for, a feeling which was compounded by watching the veterans race (see excellent reports from Dave Haygarth and Alan Dorrington).

However, there was no chickening out to be had as I'd been very kindly lent a lovely bamboo framed mountain bike for the day by Rachel Hammond. A quick recce lap of the course around Centre Vale Park left me in no doubt that I'd be somewhere towards the back of the field after an autumn pretty much out of cycling with the arrival of our baby in September. Rachel has very kindly published a few words that I wrote about her bike, so I'll spare the details here.

The race for me was a massive learning curve. My first lesson was that the tyres the bike was shod with had something close to zero grip which was a bit of an issue in the gloopy mud sections on the lower half of the course. Tyre choice, which I've read so much about, really is a big deal in CX.

The second lesson was that disc brakes are pretty amazing, especially compared with cantilevers where the grinding noise of pads on rims could be heard all afternoon long.

And the final thing I learned - I'm going to be back for much more fun in the mud. Roll on Hit The North hopefully with a few more cycling miles in my legs...

Splatterfest picture thanks to Eleanor Leadbetter.

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