TweedLove Race Team rider Callum Thornley hits a different kind of dirt, on a different kind of bike.
I knew my brand new Whyte Gisburn had arrived at Alpine Bikes, and when I got the call saying the bike was ready I was ecstatic to see it. In person, the frames paint job is glorious and the carbon SRAM force cranks look amazing. It was dark once I was home but a quick sprint up and down the street was enough to tease me – I couldn’t wait for the weekend to get on the bike.
It was race day at Lochore Meadows Scottish CX round 2. After spinning round the course and checking out the features, I hopped on the rollers and got stuck into my warm up. Got a decent, start sitting 3rdinto the first set of loose, muddy flat corners. Then, as we returned into the start/finish arena after the start loop, I got caught in a pile up. I fell onto muddy grass so there wasn’t any pain, just annoyance. Lost more than a minute, eventually made it up to the group fighting it out for 3rdbut the leader was long gone. Attacked the group on the last lap but got outsprinted for 3rdand ended up 4th. What an eventful great fun race.
Lessons learnt from my first CX race: don’t be scared to lower the tyre pressures as I was skidding about everywhere on 25psi, on a wet grassy course, and don’t crash on the first crucial corner!
Good solid week of training on the CX bike and I confirmed to myself the Whyte Gisburn is now my absolute favourite bike to ride and I definitely have the cyclocross bug. 2ndCX race last Sunday, round 2 of the British National Trophy at Irvine Beach. Arrived Sunday morning and walked the course with my Dad. It looked mega: 2 sand pits, 2 hurdles and endless off camber. Got back to the car, pinned the number on, sorted the tyre pressures and got into the usual warm up.
Not doing the 1stround at Derby wasn’t my wisest plan as I was gridded 79thout of 80 under 16 boys. But nevertheless, with my elbows right out, the whistle signalled the start and after the first lap I was somehow sitting top 20. The game plan was to recover on the flats and destroy the climbs and more technical sections. It was all going to plan, I was sitting 8th going into the last lap and then midway through I punctured my rear tyre. I rode as much as I could then with the flat and ran the finishing straight. I didn’t think I would achieve top 30 so a potential top 10 before the flat and a 16thplace finish was a huge surprise and an exciting result.
I’m now buzzing for the rest of the winter and can’t wait to get out on the Gisburn for my next ride or race. The thing that really stood out for me with the Whyte Gisburn is how much it rode like a mountain bike on any technical sections. In the sand pits, which caused so much trouble to many riders, the bike felt so in control and just like my MTB! Then when it hits the flats and the climbs, it rides like a road bike. So far, mega impressed with the bike and I’m now officially addicted to cross!
HUGE thanks to Whyte Bikes for sorting out the bike, and to Tweedlove and Alpine Bikes for the continued support.
Callum Thornley (15)