CX Evenings with RLSCC
Look back just a couple of years and the idea of an advertised and publicised ‘CX training evening’ would be completely unheard of. The sport was confined to the winter nights and, in spite of cyclocross bikes appearing all over the shop on commute duty, the racing scene largely kept itself to itself.
Jump back to the here and the now, and both fish and kettle are all but unrecognisable. You can’t take two steps without tripping over a barrier while someone rings a cowbell at you. Seriously, though – the always-inclusive sport has started to find the limelight, and there are plenty of people who have taken it upon themselves to spread the gospel.
One such person is Steve Jeffries of Royal Leaminton Spa C.C., who has been keeping local riders busy for the past couple of months with weekly cyclocross training sessions. These alternate between skills sessions just outside Leamington Spa and ‘wild rides’, which head out into the surrounding countryside (as well as the occasional urban section). I went along to a skills session to see what was what.
Riders started showing up in the empty ground, made up of flat pitches on different levels (with handy slopes between providing camber). Cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes, and a lot of different levels of ability came out to play. Steve wasn’t far behind, turning up on a cyclocross bike and laden with stakes and tape. Before long, hurdles were out, a course was marked and it was time to go.
Activities were very casually decided, from relay races to slaloms to just tearing around the course, but all of them included a very convenient amount of ‘skills’ – tight corners, dismounting (and inevitably remounting) and a couple of run-ups. Useful exercises to improve bike handling and help people ‘find the limit’ in a more controlled environment.
The equipment for adventure
“It’s all about confidence,” said Steve. “The bike’s really capable, and once you’ve realised that, you’re away.” There was plenty of encouragement throughout to race, but the main aim (besides fun) was clear: help people find some confidence.
A little bit of confidence goes a long way. Giving people what they need to be confident on the bike is equipping them for adventure, and helping them to be safe enough for more adventures to come. The beaten track is no longer the edge of the known world, and the wonder of younger days can come back as you make your own maps.
What’s keeping you from making your own adventures? If it’s confidence in your abilities, find out about the rides at facebook.com/SteeplechaseCX.