By Ian Stuart. Photos by Molli Keenor.
I bought a cyclocross bike to commute to work in 2015 when living in London, as I wanted hydraulic discs and those were not really rolled out to road bikes. I progressed to lapping Richmond Park – not the road with the rest of the cyclists, but the gravel perimeter path. Moving to Camberley, the forest roads of Swinley were a gift so riding on gravel and grass is not alien to me.
Attending the club CX evening presented by Scott Heyhoe gave me the encouragement that I needed to finally enter the type of race that I had always intended to do. I have ridden CX sportives and road sportives in which, in essence, you are racing yourself. But racing other riders, that was different. So off I went to Bedfont on a Sunday in October.
There was a grid start, which I was at the back of (no form to give the organisers any gridding data). I tried to jump a few places on the start before the group filtered out into single file except I jumped for too long and blew out a bit. I just ploughed on trying not to slip off and the heavy rain made the race very muddy.
42nd out of 50 was a pleasing result for my first race. Now I’m thinking of entering one or two more this season for experience, and joining a league next year since this season I have started 5 races in.
Well worth giving it a go, though, and I would thoroughly recommend anyone to have at least one shot.