Fifteen cyclists joined the first CrossduroScotland earlier this month. A mix of men and women were attracted to the idea of a 300km mostly off-road bike ride from Inverness to Glasgow. There was no cost for entering the “race” and it was the riders that did the admin and support.
What is Crossduro?
Crossduro combines “the best elements of a MTB enduro with a cyclocross/gravel grinder style road race”.
The race is an enduro format, which means there is a defined route from A to B with a number of timed sections. In between the timed sections, riders can regroup and enjoy a more sociable ride.
The winner is the rider with the lowest aggregate time over the segments.
The event can completed on any style of bike, although most people use cyclocross or gravel bicycles.
What is CrossduroScotland?
The CrossduroScotland started in Inverness and finished in Glasgow. The estimated distance was 300km. There were five timed segments and the route was mainly gravel, track and road. There were also sections where riders needed to carry their bikes. (I call this hikey-bikey!)
The CrossduroScotland event was organised by the Racing Collective.
What is the Racing Collective?
The founding members of the Racing Collective met on the #ClimateKilometre ride from London to Paris for the UN climate talks in December 2015 (COP21). They were inspired by Erlend Knudsen and Daniel Price of Pole to Paris, two climate scientists who ran and cycled to COP21 from the North and South Poles respectively. Knudsen and Price believe passionately that the future of the environment is in our own hands.
The Racing Collective states:
- It is a community of athletes who believe that sport should be free from commercialisation and mollycoddling.
- It is part of a movement of people questioning what’s being sold to them.
- It is a group that believes in taking time out of busy lives to help to protect and restore areas of wilderness.
The Racing Collective is run on a not-for-profit basis by a few ad hoc racers. There is no one in charge of the races and they are self-organised, which means the members of the collective who race on the day are simultaneously competitors and administrators.
CrossduroScotland: The event
On September 2, 2017, 15 people started the CrossduroScotland race, including two women, at Inverness Castle.
The finish was the following day at the Drygate Bar & Kitchen in Glasgow
My friend Sean, who is president of Glasgow Triathlon Club, was one of the riders. Sean has enjoyed a number of bike-packing trips in the past couple of years and took part in this year’s TransAtlanticWay race.
Sean, 50, said: “I heard about the CrossduroScotland through a friend and I thought it sounded like a great route. The weather looked okay for the weekend and I thought I would be fun to give it a go.”
The route was based on #thebadgerdivide route, which links together a number of existing routes including the Great Glen Way, the Corrieyairack Pass and the West Highland Way.
There were suggested food stops at Fort Augustus (day one) and Killin (day two) as well as an overnight at the remote Loch Ossian SYHA.
Sean said: “From the map I could see it was quite a direct line from Inverness to Glasgow right down Scotland. I liked the idea of being able to ride mostly off-road between these two cities.”
Sean found the route a mix of fairly easy and pretty tough. He said: “There were sections were I couldn’t ride my bike so I had to get off an push it. That happened on both days. But there was also a lot of rideable terrain and I really enjoyed being off the beaten track surrounded by fantastic scenery. It was a great bonus to have good weather as well.”
Sean decided to overnight just before reaching the hostel. He said: “I was pretty tired by then and I knew that there would not be enough beds for everyone at the hostel so I took the opportunity for a remote bivvy camp. It was a fantastic place to spend a night outdoors.”
A lot of the route was new to Sean. He said: “I really enjoyed riding on a set route but in places that I had not been to before. It was brilliant to discover some new paths and trails.”
Sean also liked being part of a new event. He said: “Although there were only about a dozen or so of us doing the ride it was good to be part of something new. I rode with some of the others for sections of the route. Some people stopped after the first day I think but I carried on. I think about seven of us completed the route.
“We all seemed to be like minded. We wanted to enjoy riding off-road in Scotland but with a general similar goal in mind. I have been enjoying more and more bike-packing trips and races and it’s something that really appeals to me, especially in Scotland.”
Organisers confirmed that in the first CrossduroScotland, six riders finished, including one woman.
To find out more see The Racing Collective.