In 2012, South African born, London-based bike racer Stuart Spies made UCI Marathon Mountain Bike World Championship qualification a top priority – as long as life allowed it. Starting in South Africa, and ending in Switzerland, he raced many of the UCI Marathon Series to attempt to qualify. He fell short, but is now looking to find a base for next year. ‘Cross it is.
Nope I’m not gonna tell you I’ve just raced, experienced a mud epiphany, run the ragged edge of heart failure or questioned the lunacy of it all while naturally VOWING I’ll race through the heart of darkness and obviously come out the other side giggling like a rabid hyena.
I’m not, it’s just a numbers game for me…
Let’s look at the facts, the marathon MTB season is rounding off to its natural climax at the Worlds and for those of us who didn’t quite reach the bar it is feeling a bit more like a balloon slowly losing air than a firecracker explosion of excitement.
We’re staring down the barrel of a minimum of 4 months of moss inducing dampness, arctic darkness, turbo confinement, salt-seized components, and full body base layers all the while trying to remind and motivate ourselves with the knowledge that next year is only as good as right now, base time.
So now lets dissect ‘cross’, ludicrious locations, skinsuits in hail/snow/-5deg etc, enough mud to sink an oil tanker, race starts that resemble a bull run and finishes that equal a zombie invasion, I relish literally none of these I assure you!
For all those glorious black and white artistic shots of mud caked warriors flogging themselves mercilessly through harrowing self-harm and questionable suffering, for one whole demented hour of torment, I would pretty much rather be having a lovely tea in a team mates car, picking my nose and flipping through a Shimano instruction manual than face all that….for another week.
But given the choice….
Well, there certainly is SOMETHING about this ridiculous sport that sees me lining up for more punishment, and I guess if a psychologist had to hit me with some flip cards the thought process would roughly equate to:
Turbo – Boredom/Hate/Scream/Sweat/Ruined carpet/Despair/Bullets/Gun….etc
Road – Ice/Cars/Drivers/Shattered bones/Horrifying/Pointless/Sell Bike
Cross – Stupid/Hilarious/Less crap than road
Yep so sign me up folks! Cross is Boss and I’m back for another round of masochistic torment!