Neil and his son Finn also took on the Dirty Kanzelled event and theirs was based in Leicestershire and it sounds like they had JUST as much fun as the Derbyshire outing of Phoebe, Di and Scot…here is Neil’s view of the day.
Back at the start of lockdown, one of the first events that was cancelled was The Racing Collective’s TransEngland – 200 km largely off road from Morecambe to Scarborough, taking in some of the classic trails of the two Yorkshire National Parks. Finn (my 18 year-old son; RST-CERO-CycleDivision) and I had been planning on riding together, and had been making preparations since he returned from spending the winter racing Cyclocross full time, mostly on the pro-circuit in Belgium. Missing out on TransEngland due to travel restrictions, instead we invented our own TransLeicestershire, a 230 km route taking in the most Northerly, Easterly, Southerly and Westerly points in our county, all unsupported and with no opportunities to restock due to everything being closed. It was a stunning road ride, discovering just how fabulous our county is, and a memorable day for us both.
Finn and I had again been talking about riding some longer gravel routes together… when Dirty Kanzelled started appearing on feeds we took the chance. The route was based on one devised by CXer Pete Matthews and then taking in some trails Finn had been introduced to by Otto and Ben Chilton in South Derbyshire. Essentially the route took in local gravel, bridleways and a few off-piste trails between Loughborough and Nottingham… tracking past the M1 on the Trent and Mersey Canal towpath, round to the sandy trails near Foremark and Staunton Harold Reservoirs including some rocky descents, technical singletrack and quick gravel sections. Finally, we took in the Leicestershire Three Peaks of Breedon, Bardon, and Beacon Hills and then home.
We rode an identical pair of green Vitus Energie cyclocross bikes, running WTB CrossBoss 35s tubeless. We carried everything we needed in framebags.
10 things to take away from Neil and Finn’s Dirty Kanzelled:
- Wow – why don’t we ride more of this local stuff? I’ve been riding in this area for over 20 years and there are just fabulous trails out there on our doorstep, in an area not particularly well known for gravel.
- A route like this on cyclocross bikes was ace. You do need to carefully pick lines, but you can ride some pretty gnarly descents, and take the gravelly ones like lightning.
- Finn’s homemade bar bag, carefully created from an old camping chair and Superprestige lanyards is so cool.
- Don’t be a numpty and assume that because you are only 10 miles from home when you drain your bottles you will be OK. I didn’t refill and really regret it. Yes I do know better. Yes it’s a rookie mistake. Yes I’m not proud to admit it.
- There’s something satisfying about having a crust of dust when you get back from a long day off-road.
- Nettles are vicious on a hot day in late May.
- 35mm CrossBoss tubeless were pretty good, sliding predictably and giving a decent amount of traction, but I think we would go even wider in future.
- One puncture – sealant did its job. Phew.
- One of us arrived home pretty fresh. The other was pretty broken. You can guess which way round it was.
- Dads and Lads days out are simply awesome. We work hard to make sure it happens from time to time.
Another fun day out for Team Orange on the dusty trails and once again a good bit of inspiration for getting out there! Up next we will see how Nat got on, on her solo mission further down south…