Darren pedals way through cyclocross series

With the road racing season wound down for another year, thoughts swiftly turn towards how to hold form and fitness through the challenging months ahead.

Wednesday, 23rd November 2016, 1:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 9:40 am

For many this means hot footing it to the garage to tune up the mountain bike or reacquaint with the turbo trainer, but for others the racing never stops, with winter criteriums and the mucky world of cyclocross next on the agenda.

In the case of Berwick Wheelers’ Darren Lindsay the latter has been his preference, and so the last two months have seen him traversing the north of the nation as he participates in the Raleigh SCX Series, Scotland’s flagship cyclocross competition.

Competing in the hotly contested Senior category (ages 18 to 40), the opening event in Falkirk saw Darren place 58th out of a field of 98 on a fast, dry course well suited to his powerful frame.

If the conditions there were favourable to Darren’s attributes, the scenario was not to be replicated come Round 2 at Knockburn Loch.

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Regular rain and the impact of prior races reduced the course to something of a mud bath by the time he took to the start, with line choice rendered redundant and persistence, rather than technique, proving the key determiner.

After a tight bunch opening, progress was further hampered when Darren’s brakes ceased functioning, none the less he ploughed on regardless to place a credible 49th out of the 71-rider field and gain valuable experience – not to mention a cracking mud splattered photograph – along the way.

Coming to grips with the required skill set of off-road riding, the consistency of results carried forward into the third round at Strathclyde Park, where, despite some punishing climbs and an entanglement with a tree, Darren’s spirit wasn’t to be sapped as he chased back through the field to secure a respectable 55th place finish.

If Knockburn Loch had been a messy affair, that was nothing, however, compared to what lay in wait when the series reached Dunfermline for the fourth instalment. Barely a shoot of green could be spotted on the churned and boggy course, with riders forced to dismount almost immediately after the start and take to running for large sections of the circuit.

A war of attrition ensued, with many combatants more concerned with simply finishing, rather than vying for positions. Nonetheless, Darren crossed the line in 62nd place, maintaining a mid-range place in the overall series rankings on a day that was widely agreed to be somewhat of an epic struggle.