Racing can wait – today it’s time to have some fun!
With a potential top ten position making very little difference to my overall result in the London ‘Cross League I decided to ride my bike on my favourite local routes in lieu of the traffic riddled trip to Wilmington in South-East London. Trying to put out of my mind what-could-have-been this season I suited up with an extra layer and headed off in to the snowy Sussex landscape. What could be better than a day off in the snow?
My route took me first toward Crowborough on a bridleway that I use for early morning training. But today it was a whole new ball game – roots and rocks were hidden under the blanket of snow and I had no real way of telling where the best line was except from memory!
Next a road section took me through Crowborough, the highest point in the High Weald, and over to Ashdown Forest. The road seemed to be holding up pretty well in the snow, but I have to admit to being fairly weary of the snow plough that was being driven toward me – mostly because there was no snow on the road and so the plough was simply smashing all of the tarmac on the edge of the potholes, straight toward me!
But once I’d escaped the deafening snow plough it was back to the off road and one of my favourite bits of bridleway in the world – the views across to Black Hill (or Der Schwarze Berg as I affectionately know it) are simply the finest to be found pretty much anywhere in my opinion. That’s where they can put my bench when I hand my number in for the final time!
The downhill was sketchy at best and once again I was desperately trying to remember where all of the larger boulders were hidden. Across the little brook at the bottom signals the start of one of the hardest off road climbs I know, not to mention one of the most rewarding.
Today though it was not going to give itself up so easily and fairly promptly the CX Pro went on my shoulder for a quick run!
Having made the top it was now time for another road section down to the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. Hartfield was beautiful in the snow, but the long downhill had frozen my fingers and tested my nerves – a couple of off-camber turns were enough to get the back out, but like a pro I stayed up right!
The last off-road section takes me back the last few miles to home. I hadn’t realised just how much snow I’d collected until I got home and posed for one final picture – the CX Pro had performed faultlessly, but now weighed a ton!
All in all I reckon I made the best choice, the snowy loop of Ashdown has been the best ride in 2013 so far!
Since Sunday I took time to check out the video of the LCCA races at Wilmington and it did look like lots of fun. In lots of ways I’m upset with this season – I made a pretty good start and generally the weather was bad at most rounds which really suits me, but after illness, extra work and a couple of cancelled races took their toll my head just wasn’t in the game. I made the decision to concentrate on my XC training with a couple rounds to go and I’ll be back next season, stronger, faster and better!
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details. He also runs the shop race team and club as well as racing ‘cross, road and cross-country nationally.
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