In this show I recorded a chat about cyclocross event organisation and the cx scene in Scotland generally with Dave Hamill who runs the Dig In at the Dock race, held this year on 26th February. We recorded at Rouken Glen at the end of January, which was race 1 of a 4-part series called the Super Quaich.
After my last episode at the Scottish cyclocross champs I got some great feedback and discussion on Facebook in the Scottish cyclocross group. I was really pleased to see this – I’m not aiming to be controversial for the sake of it, or to draw attention, but to raise constructive discussion points and this is what happened, so thans everyone who commented.
I thought I would keep the run going with an ‘inbetweenisode’ – just me talking. Tis the season to make woefully inaccurate prognostications, but I’m not much of a gambler, so I’ve gone for a few fairly safe predictions for the Scottish cycling scene in 2016.
Blogger Spokedoke has posted his view of how the future of cycling will look and this is a good look at the way things are changing in international pro road cycling.
- ASO V UCI
- Light weight bikes with the removal of 6.8kg rule
- How this might affect:
- Disc brakes on road bikes
- Power meters
- Thought on Rio Olympics and how athletics doping crisis may affect things
In the podcast, I delve into my humble predictions for the coming year with a Scotland-centric hat on.
I have recorded my first Scottish cycling podcast.
I’m planning to look at broad topics in Scottish cycling, rather than race previews or news. I hope to get some interesting in-depth interviews that can help everyone from club riders to aspiring racers, and from committee volunteers to event organisers get the most out of the sport.
The stilted intro to this show makes me cringe but I’d rather get things up and running than chew my fingernails over perfecting the audio and format. Let me know what you think!
Show notes Continue reading
Sometimes it’s all about instinct. This striking image, capturing Chris Barr about to the deck at the Strathclyde round of the Scottish Cyclocross series, conveys many things for me.
The unbridled instinct of the improver, bursting with enthusiasm and gridded at the front, to sprint full gas but underestimate the treacherous conditions and potholed surface.
The instinct of the seasoned racer, well-versed in the rough and tumble of Belgian racing, to anticipate the chaos and take a wide line to avoid potential chaos. The reactions kick in, to resist grabbing a fistful of the brakes, shift your weight on the bike and squeeze past the danger.
The instinct of the photographer, Mike Bishop who shoots a range of sports, to position himself near the bottleneck, sensing an incident may happen at the bottleneck formed by the gate.
Rab Wardell opined on the technique of ‘portage’ – or carrying your bike, to the non-cyclocross aficionado – for the Dig In at the Dock 2014 race programme. With summer cross races now underway and thoughts moving towards the approaching season, I thought I’d revisit this with a new angle.
Portage – it is what separates cyclocross from all other disciplines of cycling. Lesser disciplines of cycling, one might argue. I’ve seldom heard a more eloquently phrased explanation of how this can inspire a lifelong love of ‘cross. I overheard one of our humble race organisers recalling a childhood memory to the Simon Burney. ‘Ah mind wotchin’ some ‘cross race on Grandstand, aboot 30 years ago! Ah wis just a lad and ah mind seein’ these guy fae Belgium an tha’ jumpin’ oer bits ae wid an’ tha’. The next day ah wis runnin’ roond the wids wi’ a road bike an’ ae’most got hypothermia. Quality likes! Thats the real deal…’
‘Yeah…’ Simon agreed.
I don’t think that anything in Scottish Cycling can compare to that moment you cross the burn at the ‘Tosh after 55 minutes, ready to shoulder your trusty steed and face that b*tch of a run-up one final time. Whether fighting for the victory, surviving the race, finishing for your first time or getting the better of your mate, one thing remains the same. As you try to slot your feet into the ankle deep, cold, muddy footholds. Digging your toe studs (if you’re lucky enough to have them) in the soil and push off, propelling your protesting, wheezing body and mud clogged, heavier-than-ever bike closer to the summit. It is incredibly painful. Horrific even.
Orinally published in the Dig In At The Dock 2014 programme in January, this piece, by David Hamill, looks back on Davie Lines’ 2013 cyclocross season and celebrates his choice as honorary reigning Scottish series champion.
Bike racing is a cruel sport. Most people who race bikes never win and those who do win will more often lose. Losing (or not winning) is something even the best bike racers need to get used to. It’s part of the sport. The history books don’t provide a great deal of discussion about who came second, third or fourth. If they did Davie Lines might be a bit of a legend.
Davie Lines works as a firefighter in Edinburgh and also races bikes for Starley Primal. If you were to assign Davie a specialism in bike racing it would probably be criterium road racing. As a past Scottish champ he’s got plenty of results to back this up. But to badge Davie a crit rider is to do him a disservice. He competes on the road, on the track and in cyclocross and he does this all at a very high level. Continue reading
Dig Deep Coaching comprises former pro riders Stephen Gallagher and Dan Fleeman, with Mandy Collie providing business expertise to the team.
The company works closely with National cyclocross champion Ian Field, who was up in Fife recently for a two-day training camp organised by some of the Team Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique people.
Dan and Ian released a webinar entitled ‘Cyclocross Season – Time To Get Ready‘. The 1-hour presentation comprises audio and slides covering a vast array of tips to get more out of your cyclocross racing, including equipment choices, skills drills and training sessions.
I have always enjoyed absorbing as much of this sort of information I can during the past 5 years racing. While it’s always enjoyable and sociable to just go out and ride with clubmates, I found that doing working on my own (to heart rate, although power is better) with specific training sessions, and focusing on structured high intensity interval sessions allowed me to get the best race fitness while juggling the finely balanced work/family/cycling equation.
Tips from the Two Johns Podcast, Coach Joe Beer Podcast and Joe Friel’s website added to my knowledge over that time and I highly recommend the webinar above. If you want to take things further, Dig Deep Coaching offer 6 and 12 week training plans for cyclocross.
A friend of mine, based in rural Aberdeenshire, found that his connection speed was too low to run the webinar, so for his benefit and that of others, I’ve summarised the key points below. Continue reading
Renaat Schotte works for Sporza on Belgian TV and is often found reporting from the motorbike during one day classics and grand tours, or from the pits during ‘cross races. Fellow blogger Andrew Rafferty managed to catch up with him for a piece for the Dig In At The Dock race programme last January.
AR: I asked him why cyclocross is so popular in Belgium.
RS: ‘There has been a continual process of professionalising and modernising. More so than other countries who were also traditionally strong at cross, like Spain and Switzerland. And as popularity increased and crowds grew, the races got bigger and riders became more successful, which increased the popularity and so on. A virtuous cycle.’
Is it fair to say that it’s a not a Belgian thing, but a Flemish thing?
‘Yeah, it’s not an exaggeration to say that. The races held this year in Walloonia (the French speaking part of Belgium) are actually organized by Flemish! And all other races organized by Walloons in the past have been cancelled.
Cyclocross is part of Flemish life, like speed skating in Holland or Skijumping in Germany.’
Or bagpipe playing in Scotland?
‘Exactly, ha ha.
Look at how things have changed on the TV. In the early 90s you could watch maybe six races a year. Now its three or four times that, with bpost, superprestige, World Cup and National and World Championships. Plus numerous standalone races. It’s getting bigger.
We see the same thing here in Scotland, albeit on a smaller scale as the number of races, participants and spectators grow. And many people watch Sporza broadcasts online. Can you give your Scottish viewers some key words to listen out for?
Greppel (chreppel) means ditch and Beek (bake) means burn or stream. You should hear them in most races. Zandstrook (zandstroke) means sand section like at Koksijde.
(Or Irvine!) Continue reading
This piece was originally provided by Simon Kirkness for the Dig In At The Dock race programme this January. He had had a blistering start to the cross season in Autumn 2013 with a podium place at Callendar Park. I asked him what had made the difference in getting improved results. If you are starting to make a plan for the 2014-15 ‘cross season, or just getting back into proper riding after winter hibernation, read on for inspiration…
I was getting a bit tired of being the pumped not the pumper, so after the end of last season I changed a few things to try to compete with the fast boys and give me the edge on some of the other guys. We all know it’s not about just riding the bike faster, harder and longer – there’s a bit more to it.
The Dig In At The Dock cyclocross event has an impressive profile – it’s great what a few enthusiastic individuals, social media promotion and elbow grease can do.
I maybe do a disservice to all the hard work put in behind the scenes, but the point is, willing volunteers, fostering a rabidly enthusiastic community and fuelling the banter on facebook and twitter can go a hell of a long way for local events.
I have been helping out with the race programme, co-ordinating the articles, chasing up text, sourcing images and performing a general ‘overseer’ role. I’m also looking forward to getting muddy again on the course itself. With all that in mind, here is a light-hearted look forward to the race.
John: Thanks for helping us with the race programme this year Owen. You’re a star.
OP: No problem. It’s great to see so many people contributing: various people have written pieces, the photographers have been very generous in submitting their work – it’s like the race itself – so many people muck in.
Dave: So how are you finding the cross this year? You had a decent year: got the 3rd cat on the road?
Yeah- was pleased with the road season, I found out that I was better at crits than road races so got a few points there. I thought a modicum of success at the 1 hour circuit format might transfer over to cyclocross, but I still have to hone the off-road skills quite a bit.
Dave: Aye, you need to practice more. Been training hard?
No- it’s into winter ‘off-season’ for me now and my fitness is probably the lowest it has been all year.
John: That’s what everyone says before our race! Bunch of liars the lot of yous.
I’ve had a cold! And have been busy with work and family – just want to get my excuses in early. Plus, my transformation from roadie to cyclocrosser is still underway.
Dave: Fine, but we expect you to do a full cross season next year. You need to get into the muddy races as well as the nice leafy ones in autumn.