Cross Returns

After a few covid-induced years off, I’m planning to get back doing some cyclocross in 2022.

As ever, prep for the season is a mixed bag. I started doing some “proper training” in June with a mix of jogging and some longer bike rides, then got back into MTB’ing at Glentress and back into Zwift once the evenings started getting darker. But on the flip side, there’s been Yet More Covid to deal with and I also managed to destroy the chainstay on my race bike with a low-speed tumble onto a sharp rock in the Pentlands the other week.

This was a sign from the gods that it was time to replace my well-worn race bike, and since the Planet X bike I’ve had for years had been fundamentally solid (until the Pentlands Incident) I decided to replace it with a 2022 equivalent. Similar bike, but single chainring upfront – which seems like a good idea since the primary contribution the ‘big ring’ has made in my prior race has been to injure my shin badly when I landed on it. No 2nd chain ring == less spiky metal bits to fall on! Sadly, the world has also decided that QR wheels are passe and the new bike has thru-axle, which means wheels are all incompatible. I also managed to dent one of my tubeless wheels during covid, and thanks to a stockroom mistake by SJS Cycles (their packets of 282mm spokes didn’t contain 282mm spokes…) I’m behind schedule in rebuilding that wheel, so I’ll be doing the first race on tubes again.

I couldn’t make the first SCX round, so will begin the season at round 2 at Lochore Meadows. This is historically a pretty flat “power” course. I snapped a derailleur once there – a good reminder to be cautious whilst shifting and/or stick to one gear later in the race.

It’s hard to recreate “race pace” during training. This is where Zwift is particularly useful. Since getting dropped by a bunch is a downer, there’s a big incentive to put in some extra effort to try and catch up – even if you’re already tired. So I’ve been doing a good few Zwift races recently and hopefully that helps with keeping up the power for the full race.