Even today these countries, along with Holland, still have an incredibly vibrant scene, so much so most races at International level are shown live on TV, and the media clamour for any gossip on the top riders private lives to splash on the front pages of the trashzines.
Kinda weird I know but cross is a very big deal to your average Belgian or Dutchman.
Scotland, and indeed the UK, may have some way to go before we see any such pick up by the media, but the unique nature of the sport is its main attraction. Courses are laid out on rooty single track, muddy fields and you even have to negotiate the odd river crossing from time to time. That, along with a Crimean battle charge on the first few laps, makes this an adrenaline junkie's biking wet dream. The races are not run over a set distance but normally 45 mins plus a lap, and the beauty of it is even if you are pants nobody will even know, as the field gets smashed up pretty quickly and the spectators will shout encouragement to everyone racing. Cowbells, horns and heckling come as standard!!.
Most events you do not need to even have a licence to race, and you get to gauge yourself against riders of the calibre of GT Racing UK’s Gareth Montgomerie, Davie Henderson and seasoned Champions and Pro racers like Craig Hardie, Davie Lines, and even some of the Rapha-Condor-Sharp boys when they are up North.
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When you read this, there will still be a couple of events you can enter in the Edinburgh-Central region, so check out www.scottishcyclocross.org for details.
If this still has not convinced you to give it a go, you can always watch the Dig In Mate series on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/user/DigInMate
What started as a one off film of dubious quality has grown into a mini cult series with viewers tuning in from the States, Europe, and even Bo’ness. The edits follow Dave and John, two very average cyclists in their holy grail search for cycling mediocrity, that along with some strong language and very juvenile humour, they paint a colourful pastiche of the world of Scottish and Irish racing.