After 35 miles in the dreich rain yesterday, it was a surprise when I woke at nine this morning to a white, hoary frost and crisp blue sky outside. I fannied around for the morning, drowning in tea and coffee and cleaning the bike from yesterday before heading off to Gallagher Park in Bedlington for the cyclo cross.
Gallagher Park....Whats it named after, I wondered, as I drove down the access road to the car park...Gallagher and Lyle (not sweet enough- or is that Tate and Lyle)?
Noel Gallagher? Nope, this was no 'oasis of pleasure' (sorry!) as I caught sight of the former colliery pit heap, poorly disguised below a sea of green pine trees.
I met up with Stu from Gothic, caught up on the goss. and readied myself for an hours two wheeled mud-gurgling. As Stu pedalled his trusty steed up the hill to the start, his chain broke so there was a quick bit of bike repair to be done. Handled with the usual panache, we all got off at the whistle and were soon threading our way through the course. Most of it was pretty fast but there were a couple of boggy stretches and the organisers had made it quite technical with a lot of twists with awkward cambers and a couple of narrow corridors through the tightly grouped conifers. One rider in front of me nearly took out the photographer who was leaning out to get the best angle and over the course of an hour there were a good few spills around me as riders took corners too fast, lost tyres on wet tree roots or misjudged their line. I had a good sweat on toward the end and it was a much better ride than 3 weeks earlier at Druridge.
The course was great, but again no running stretches. Maybe I need to go to Belgium, the home of cyclo- cross for this; and then again there's always Gateshead, parts of which can be impossible to ride in wet conditions.
Took the dog out for 40 minutes through the woods later as the sun began to set. Beautiful. A really good Sunday.