There’s an open invitation to all members to submit articles for the website. This is from Sophie and is an excellent read not just for the kids but also for any grownups thinking of  making the pilgrimage to Mull this year for the international Santa Cross race.  And whisper it (because when Coach Bryan hears it he gets very excited) but cross is coming…


This Mull CX trip was my 2nd and definitely not my last. I left school early on Friday to catch the 5:30 ferry from Oban. Dad and I got to the ferry really early at 4:30 and not long after us Skye turned up. Skye and I walked along the water side in Oban and messed about on the small beach. I ended up piggybacking Skye the entire way back to the ferry terminal and by the time we got back there was so many more cyclists lined up in their cars. Eventually when we got on the ferry, everyone got out their cars to go get some dinner so Skye and I sprinted up to get there first. I got the macaroni cheese and a smoothie and I think Skye got the same. After we ate it was really dark outside, so Skye gathered up a few others and we all played tig on the boat.

When we got to Mull, we had a small car journey to our cottage. The cottage was a 10 minute cycle away from the race and there were no other buildings around us. Skye and I shared a room and Dad and Bryan had bunkbeds! The cottage was really small but quite cosy and comfortable. We all watched some TV and I finished a jigsaw Skye found under our bed. When we finally went to bed, Skye and I talked for a while but got to sleep quite early for the day ahead of us.

Early in the morning, we all packed up the cars and drove to the castle. When we turned up at the race, there was already so many people and we found it hard to park but we managed to park closer than anyone else. We did a very brief practice lap because the under 12s were racing quite soon. After we watched the under 10s race we decide to go warm up, I forgot to bring my rollers and Skye was using hers, even though she hates warming up with them! I went to a deserted side road and started my warm up, a few minutes Skye joined me because she decided she hates the rollers! After the warm up, we both went to the start line and waited for the commissaries to turn up. When they turned up, they gridded everyone, they gridded the Youth A boys first, then the Youth A girls, Youth B boys then finally the Youth B girls. They set everyone off in 2 minutes gaps so I had a lot of waiting to do. Next thing I remember was a whistle blowing. I jumped into my pedal and started to push my way up the riders. I ended up on Imani’s wheel and I stuck with her for about a minute then she got away. Somehow Skye and I ended up working together and we were slowing catching Imani (who was in third place). At the start of the last lap, Skye got a puncture and as anyone would do she jumped off her bike and ran to the pits. I remember her shouting at me “Go catch Imani”! So that’s what I did. I started to slowly catch Imani up but just when I was about 10 seconds from her she got a mechanical. When I passed her she panickly asked me if I could help her… I wasn’t really sure what to do because I wasn’t going to stop when I was about to get away from third place! Thankfully, the girl behind me said “Don’t worry I’ll help you!” So I sprinted off trying to get as much time as I could from the really fast rider currently behind me. We spiralled around this grassy section but before we went onto a small track we had to run up a horrible grass mound. So after about 2 minutes of spiralling on the grass, Imani caught up to me and on the grass mound she had so much strength and ran straight past and jumped on her bike. Then she just cycled away and I never saw her again, the finish was only a few minutes away but it felt like forever. I don’t mind that I was fourth behind Imani as she is one of the best cyclists I know.

Later on, Bryan and Dad were racing so Skye and I went up to the start to get their jackets. Their race was delayed by about half an hour because the first aider broke his collarbone. When I was talking to Skye about this, Ben overheard us, walked past and asked “If he landed on his hands how he break his collarbone? Your collarbone’s here right?” (pointing to his pelvis). This has always been a joke between us three and I still don’t think Ben knows where his collarbone is!

After our dads raced, Skye and I immediately jumped on our bikes and cycled back to the cottage. Skye and I made a deal that was if I cleaned the bikes she would tidy/clean the cottage. I agreed to this and went outside to start cleaning and then torrential rain started, I cleaned the bikes anyway whilst Skye laughed at me from inside. That evening, we went out for dinner then came back to the cottage and packed everything up ready to leave straight after the race the next day.

The next day was Santa Cross, a race ridden by Santa’s, elves, presents, stars and absolutely everything else you can think of Christmassy! Skye and I were dressed up as elves and our dads as Santa’s. When it came to the race, it was a slightly different course but really cool! I was so tired from the day before racing but it was okay because not many people raced their hardest. However, Skye had so much energy as the day before she had got a puncture and rolled to the finish. So during the race I didn’t mind not really racing because dad just took photos of me doing wheelies in front of the castle! It was still a brilliant race and it started to really feel like Christmas. Straight after Dad and Bryan raced we headed to the ferry and went home tired and needing our own beds.

I think for anybody who rides a cross bike should definitely take part in this amazing weekend. It’s a brilliant weekend for the whole family and to have a laugh with your friends.



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