A few years back I decided to do some cross racing, mainly just on a whim as it was something I wanted to experience more than anything. Being an 'Endurance' rider on paper cross really shouldn't suit me. After a few races and a steep learning curve I could manage a top 10 in local races .. I was hooked from then on.
Before I realised it I was watching Belgian cross races in Flemish while I turbo trained and had bought myself a skinsuit to race in not to mention investing in expensive tub tyres. My life at the weekend was all about tyre pressures.
The season after my first I managed to race only up to Christmas having to stop to train longer miles for the Dirty Kanza 200, last season I couldn't race at all with Trans Iowa so early in the year my winter was all about the big weekend miles.
2014 is still a work in progress as far as my racing is concerned so while I decide on my race schedule I am taking all opportunity to get back out on a muddy field for an hour plus a lap.
This season I have been lucky enough to enlist the support of All City Cycles in the form of a disc based Macho Man to race on ... after subtracting a chainring and adding some aggressive clinchers the bike is set.
Last weekend saw my first cross race in near 2 years .. a fast and painful experience but one that has definitely reignited my love for the sport.
The race was local, the weather was reasonable and the course was technical in its content ... technical in a cross sense is as many off camber tight cornering as you can squeeze in to a mile long circuit.
My bike handling was dubious but my overall fitness was pretty good ... good enough for a 9th place opener to my season.
The All City Macho Man had seen 20 minutes of use prior to the race and out of the box it felt great ... the steel frame is super comfortable whilst the geometry did its best to correct all my poor line selections.
Looking forward to the rest of the season, getting to know my bike a little better and improving my results sheet :)
Images courtesy of Mark Straughan