Clifcross: a cross ride, supported by Clif (the bars people). And great it was too.
The theme: a sort of a mini Three Peaks set in the steep valleyed hillsides and moors around Calderdale, West Yorkshire. One of that new breed of events, a gathering of mates on bicycles, a sort of sportif for the cross obsessed and mountain bike curious. Lovers of inappropriate bikes apply here.
I was in no fit state to race (Strava tells me I'd ridden 200-odd kilometres this year, surprised it's that many!) so a 'ride around' was called for. Nevertheless you find yourself falling into wheel with people about your pace and start pushing on a little — not wanting to get dropped on the drags, getting giddy on the descents — so you start to try just a bit harder than you would if you really were just out for a ride.
We climbed, we climbed some more, we descended, we found mud, some of us punctured. We got caught doing the walk of shame by the SportsSunday photographer, we stopped for a banana. There was some road, we should gloss over that. It rewarded us with a headwind to drill home the inappropriate choice of surface. We got a little bit lost at the end and stopped to ask a policeman.
We found our way home and there were spot prizes, there was hog roast, considerate veggie options for the special people, fancy bikes from Felt.
Stats: 46.3km long, 1,154m high.
Observations: disc brakes on cross have jumped from a cold start to 'surprisingly popular'.
Many thanks to Emma from the Kinesis-Morvelo project and Ali from Mills Physio for getting off their asses and organising such a splendid, well-judged event so the rest of us have an excuse to meet up and have a bit of a crack on bicycles. It'll be back next year and I recommend it.