This year's 'Cross racing has started in earnest now: a HUGE field of riders convened in the Country Park at Plean to fight for the win in the second round of the Scottish Cyclocross series. Conditions leading up to the race had been typical of Scotland in October - wet and windy. The clay soil and stretches of grass and roughly trimmed-back fern were always going to test when sprinkled with a dose of precipitation and on the day, despite dry weather, the battle royale was with the course not one's fellow competitors.
Personally, i saw 9 snapped rear hangers/derailleurs and there were surely many i did not see. A costly and frustrating mechanical which caused many riders to pull. For those who had spare bikes, good luck or (like myself) a singlespeed steed the main issues were pulling great wads of mud and vegetation from the wheels and frame several times per lap. At one point i was jettisoned over the bars as both wheels locked simultaneously.
Challenging conditions, yes. Frustrating yes. It might be said that the marshals could have removed the chicane before the timing tent in order to prevent the ignominy of having to repeatedly dismount and trudge over a 10 yard flat section of course needlessly. Yet it still managed to be a rewarding day in the saddle. Good power to weight ratio is always a winning combination and so it proved for Gareth Montgomerie who was head and shoulders from the rest of the senior men's field. Our own Colin May(this is a rumour. ed) and Andy 'huphup' Wardman put in a super solid effort to claim 3rd and 5th respectively and Greig Walker and Gordy Mac put pedal to the metal for 11th and 14th. I managed to huff and puff my way round for 32nd in my first race back after coming out of semi-retirement. Bitten again by the 'cross bug, i'll be hoping for a little more at Mugdock.
In the vets race, Davie and Simon 'miffae de' Muir slam dunked for 17th and 22nd - not without some incident in the tough conditions - including a catastrophically burping tyre from Simon. The win taken in fine style by Gary McRae by a whisker from John Mccaffery.
In the women's race Anne Murray took the top place despite having Square Wheels, with VC-M's Maddy Robinson taking the 3rd step on the podium and Lyndsey Carson in 10th.
Next stop is Mugdock and let it be known - we are ready to rock.
Thank you to trina for the pictures, and Daisy for not disowning her dad.