Tag Archives: cyclocross

Davie Lines – The (fire)man who would be king

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 – cyclocross race tips

Dig Deep Coaching logo

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.

Ian Field & Eddy van IJzendoorn

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

Talking cyclocross with Sporza’s Renaat Schotte

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.

BK Veldrijden 2013 Mol

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

Make the difference to your cycling training – with yoga?

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.

Lomond Shores CX 2013 (15 of 23)
Continue reading

Q&A: Looking forward to Dig In At The Dock Cyclocross

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.
We’ll see.

taking in the sun at Callendar Park, October 2013
A sunny and leafy Calendar Park 2013, image by Ian Henderson

Continue reading

Kyle Petrie, from the Basque to California and back

I spoke to 18 year old Kyle Petrie who has travelled to California to further his cycling.

You’re out in California training, riding and racing a bit – tell us where you are and what team you are with?
I’m living in Northern California in a town called Pleasanton. It’s a nice town and everything seems to be perfect, pristine and nice. The people are friendly there’s a massive connection of Scottish and English people here! The town is located near San Francisco and Oakland where I go to race, train and meet with my team – a shop team called CyclesFANATIC USA which is renowned in the Bay Area for its contribution to the sport and the great bikes!

Kyle Petrie Candlestick cross

How did the trip come about?
When I was in the Basque Country I knew I wanted to go somewhere for the winter. I asked friends for advice and California seemed the place to go. I feel I made the right decision – there is everything I need here: great training roads, extremely high level of riders, lots of group rides and tons of racing happening.

Continue reading

Craig Hardie: Hanging up the racing hoops

Earlier in February, cyclocross, MTB and grass track racer Craig Hardie announced on facebook that he had taken the decision to give up racing. Despite his humble comment that he didn’t want to seem big headed by making a big announcement, he has nonetheless had a long amateur racing career and been an integral part of the competitive scene for many years. Craig’s enthusiasm for cyclocross and biking in general gave me encouragement personally, so I thought I’d find out more.

> You said that you needed a better work/life balance – that’s something that I and, I’m sure, a lot of other amateur racers (and their partners) can sympathise with.

Yep it has come to the time to the feeling I have done all I can in Scotland Cyclocross, the last Cross season kind of sealed the idea of giving up the endurance based racing (will still maybe compete in a few Highland Games this season depending on time and how I feel) The time to train as much as I would like is just not there now but I feel very satisfied I have achieved more than I could have imagined.

Craig Hardie bunnyhopping the boards at the Scottish Cyclocross Championships (pic David Hamill)
Continue reading

Au revoir Dig In!

It is with tinges of both sadness and joy that I embed the final video in Dave Hamill and John McComisky’s Dig In! Series.

These vids went a long way to promote the Scottish cyclocross scene and I can say that from personal experience – they pretty much got me into the sport, although the twitter buzz that surrounds each race has a lot to do with it too.

Have a watch and do a race next season! (the races are not all as claggy as this, honest)

Grant Ferguson U23 CX champ for Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team

Grant Ferguson had a great start to the 2013 season for his new Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team, winning the U23 CX national title. Teammate Marek Konwa also won the Polish National Champion title in the Elite Men category.

Grant Ferguson, newcomer to the Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team, won the U23 CX National title, overcoming a brave ride by defending champion Steven James and an aggressive performance from Ben Sumner who finished third. It was Kenta Gallagher (also a new recruit to the Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team) who made the first impression on the race, leading the charge away from the start with Nick Barnes, Adam Martin and Ferguson close behind. By the end of the 2nd lap a six rider group had formed, including Ferguson. It was Ben Sumner who finally broke up the race with a big effort at the start of the 4th lap. Ferguson was the only rider to go with him. With the bell approaching, Ferguson finally made his move and he broke clear, able to stretch his lead to around half a minute at the finish line, as he claimed his first national CycloCross title. Kenta Gallagher finished in a strong 6th place on 1.35.

Grant Ferguson: “I’m really pleased. This has been a big target for me. Since the MTB season has stopped I’ve been working to get faster and improve a few things. It was a really tight race and then it split up a couple of times. I had a few little goes and someone got away, so I just went for it on the last lap and a half.”

Scottish based clothing sponsor Endura, who is the official cycle clothing sponsor of Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team for 2013 and 2014, will also no doubt have been pretty pleased.

Dig In! At the Dock cyclocross 6th Jan 2013

I consider myself ‘into’ cyclocross, even though I have only ever done one race (in 2009, on a mountain bike) and occasionally swap my winter road wheels for knobbly tyres and get muddy.

Dave Hamill and John McComisky’s Dig In videos are one of the reasons for this (my enthusiasm for cross, rather than my tardiness to actually do some). The sheer fun projected in the vids reflects really well on the Scottish cross scene. Judging by the anticipation of their race at Bo’ness in Jan 2013, the films go a long way to encouraging people to have a go.

Entry opens today on entrycentral.