In Scotland, since early October, the parks, heathlands and trails have been tattooed with the squelch and grind of knobbly tyres, the flailing of lycra-clad bodies, mated with gargoyle-like pained expressions and all in the glorious pursuit of one thing - Cyclocross.
From Glasgow to Ballater, Mull to Edinburgh, the sport has rapidly seen numbers increase over the last few years with full house entries in the various classes nudging 300 at some events.
The main reason for this, aside from efficient race organisation and promotion, is simply you, the rider, can rock up with almost any type of bike, fling on some grippy boots and enter a race.
This year many have chosen full on CX bikes, these range from £5000 downwards. But to put you in the picture, my steel framed Graham Weigh bike cost about £200 to build. I did borrow a few bits along the way, but don’t let not having a cross specific bike put you off.
MTB and Hybrid options are always out in abundance, as well as a fair smattering of Single speed devotees, so no excuses for not giving it a bash.
Cyclocross is not a new discipline by any means and can be traced back to the pre First World War days of France and Belgium, where soldiers would organise point-to-point races across the fields and lanes of the area.