Fat Cross

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Photo by the lovely Joolze Dymond

I’m in ‘training’ of sorts at the moment. In February I’m off to Finland with Shaggy and Brant to compete in a 150km Arctic Circle snow race. I prefer a gentleman’s training programme without the use of gadgets or schedules. I’m just riding lots and still enjoying going to the pub. I probably won’t win with this approach.

 

You can read Shaggy’s story of extreme endurance from last year’s event here.

 

The winter is a quieter time for me with less Great Rock skills courses running. I make the most of this by going out riding more, just for myself. With the shockingly wet conditions this year, I don’t feel like making every ride a Calderdale ‘death tech slither’ and so I’ve been pedalling off in different directions from usual, exploring riding further away from my usual valley ups and downs. I’ve been putting along on the bridleway tracks, riding tarmac, surfing over bogs and dropping in to some technical descents. The On One Fatty has been a great bike for these rides because it just likes trucking along on all surfaces. Also when I get back on a normal bike, I feel like I’m flying!

All this brought me yesterday to include the infamous ‘Todcross’ cyclocross race in the middle of one of my rides out. It’s a great event organised in a park in Todmorden by Chipps from Singletrack Magazine, which manages to include a brutal, mud coated, steep cobbled climb, some off camber mud slide descents and some soul sapping flat park sections of mud. Mud was the theme this year if you haven’t noticed. There are some very good ‘cross racers with excellent bike handling skills and fitness there as well as the normal people. They seemed like a friendly lot and didn’t seem to mind me being there on the most cheap electronic cigarette kits wrong sort of bike for the event.

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Photo by Hutty

I just arrived at the start line as the women’s and Vets race started. They all shot off across the muddy field on their ‘cross bikes leaving me in last place, a position that I fought to maintain throughout the race. In the same way that there are different types of snow, some of which are really good for fat biking, there are also different types of mud. This was the wrong sort. I had to grind along at a sub walking pace in a low gear to get grip on the flat sections. You can probably get a ‘Sufferfest’ module like this where you see everyone else fly off as you enter ‘treacle turbo’ mode. It was great training and my legs were destroyed when I eventually got home.

I had a few interactions with other riders. I overtook a man who fell off and was lying in the mud having just lapped me. I smashed Fatty into a big puddle and splashed a man who had just lapped me. My main battle and great banter though was with Hannah (in the photo above) with whom I jostled for last place throughout the race. On our final lap I suggested that we ride over the line together with our tops off. As I was undressing she rode past leaving me to take the glory alone.

So was Fatty any good at anything? Yes indeed it was! I rode up the cobbles every lap aided by the 4 inch wide tyres at 6 psi. With gravity on your side Fatty just floats and the ‘grip-n-drift’ technology of the ‘Floater’ tyres made fun of the off camber descents.

I can now add ‘1st Fat bike at Todcross’ along with ‘top 10 solo finisher at the Strathpuffer’ to my list of sporting achievements.

 

 

 

In the Press

Great Rock is featured in the mountain bike media a lot at the moment. These ‘photo shoot’ trips are a great chance to get out and ride somewhere different with like minded fellows.

The December issue of Dirt Magazine features a trip that Me, Brant Richards, Rowan Sorrell and Steve Jones made to go and ride in the South of France with Ash Smith, the organiser of the Trans Provence race. It was supposed to be an ‘all mountain’ 29er road trip feature. It never really was that at all! It started as a chaotic trip with no theme and lots of wine that developed in to a meeting of minds, where 5 blokes who have invented jobs for themselves in the bike industry had fun riding bikes together. Steve took some nice photos and we wrote our own words Payday Loan. I’m off back to Trans Provence country in March 2013 to run skills courses with Ash.

The current issue of MBR has a feature written and photographed by Benji Haworth. Out latest trip was out to North Wales to ride some brilliant trails in an area that we normally drive straight past on the way to Snowdon. As usual in Wales it was really sunny.

The current issue of Singletrack Magazine has a lovely ‘bikepacking’ feature, again written and shot by Benji. We had a great adventure riding our bikes for 3 days in the Lake District and carrying all the gear needed for sleeping and eating. We have plans to offer a similar trip as a package to guests in 2013. Alpkit generously helped us out with some bikepacking kit and I’ve got the urge to use it again.

Snow riding

1 minute of Winter from Ed Oxley on Vimeo.

1st ride on snow for me and my Fat Bike. I’m having a hoot riding this bike and training for a race in Arctic Lapland in February 2013

Had a play online casino slots beautiful day in the Lake District riding up from Ullswater on to the Helvellyn ridge and down Sticks Pass. It’s not everyday that you get to share the trail with skiers.

Bike: On One Fatty

Song: Dolla by Angelin Tytot