11pm bed. Awake at midnight. 4.25am alarm. 6am train. What the hell are we doing. It’s February, f’in freezing, and the end of the cross season daaannn saauth. That really means that we should be having lazy lie ins and not wanting to see mud for at least a few months. However.
Thanks to that cross obsessed Belgian pal of ours that is Adeline O’Moreau of Mercredi Bikes we’re heading To The North, (The North proper, not just north of the river) for one final race in Glasgow- the final of the Super Quaich Cyclocross series hosted by the rad Albanach CC, the self appointed best race in the Scottish cyclocross calendar, the RGCX. A few weeks ago this was THE BEST IDEA EVER and now, after the initial shock of the alarm violently waking me from my restless slumber I still think it’s a pretty ace idea.
The 6am train delivered us into Glasgow by 11am. After a quick dump of the bags and a little lie down on the floor we were seated in a cracking little coffee shop just round the corner from the hotel, expertly found by Steve. You can take the man out of London (etc). Buns (oh my god those buns!) and coffee devoured, and onto find Rouken Glen park; not only made famous by being the venue for tomorrow’s race: it also features in Trainspotting and an episode of Rab C Nesbitt (so Scottish). Not so many string vests spotted today. Tad chilly.
The park is incredible. The sun was shining which obviously helps but snaking our way between completely batty dogs high on life and the most beautiful waterfalls we arrived on the top west field and surveyed our ‘cross kingdom that was to be ours to play on.
We had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of the hardy souls from Albannach, including the brains of RGCX Jim Cameron who were busy staking out what is shaping up to be an absolutely banging course. We rode (slid) around most of the course and practiced a few lines up the steep bits and round the off cambers which was probably a wee bit futile. Our race is the second of the day, and with rain forecast tonight it’s going to be a completely different bicycle race. Might as well have a spicy one to round off the season. Steve will not be racing on his tracers. Bambi on ice. The course fences were well tested by an over exuberant golden retriever who ran straight into it and well just bounced straight off, so much akin to the downhill skiing in the winter olympics I’ve no doubt there will be a solid bit of fence hugging tomorrow. The ground is way way wetter than it looks in these photos. Honest.
Tomorrow we’ll be lining up next to the commonwealth pocket rocket Isla Short and some other seriously hard arse Scottish riders who race in the mud all season apparently. Will have to pull out the #HTFU card to not show ourselves up as the Southern Softies. See you on the flip side.