Tell you what, if someone had told me, say two years ago, that I'd one day ride a cross bike over Cut Gate I'd have been extremely dubious. As in disbelieving. Incredulous. And both amused and horrified.
Which made last Sunday's 50-mile Very Stoopid Loop outing with a bunch of Three Peak Cyclocross 'we are training for' peeps a bit of a sanity test.
But actually it was fine. Okay, I crashed dramatically twice, both oddly enough trying to muscle the thing up slightly rocky climbs, okay, one big rock step, one rubbly thing, but mostly it turned out to be fine.
Part of that is that after a dry summer when it's been regularly ridden, the line on Cut Gate is nicely swept of babyheads and defined and part of it is that I'm running 700x38 Bontrager CX0 tyres tubeless converted on the Soma.
So it's sort of a monster cross or a gravel road cruiser. Or maybe just a cross bike with big tyres on, eh?
I kind of like it. You can hit rocky things hard and while it won't exactly float over them, nor will it slam the rubber against the rims and pinch flat on every vaguely rocky descent. I could run lower pressures, I think, but I also know that it's quite possible to pinch full UST tyres - thank you Ragley Blue Pig for that lesson - and that a 700x38 is only something around 1.5" - it is limited.
Anyway, it was amusing. Funny even, apart from the bit when I rolled down the steep bank of ferns and the bike decided to pursue me in a vengeful sort of way. It reminded me forcibly of riding rigid mountain bikes 20 or so years ago with a bit of all-over body fatigue. And the company was good. It also made me glad I'm not doing the Three Peaks.
So now all I have to do is convince my brain that it's okay to do Dusk Till Dawn as a fun pair without being sharp or trained or particularly motivated.
And now I'm going to eat porridge and go road riding. On my home patch. For fun.