Shropshire cyclist vying for top 10 cyclo cross finish

A top Shropshire cyclist has swapped the open road for forest trails and dirt tracks this winter.

But 37-year-old Dave Griffiths from Oswestry is making the transition from road racing to cyclo cross look easy as he climbs his way up the West Midlands Cyclo Cross League table.

The father-of-two who, in the summer months, races with Shrewsbury-based Paramount Performance Cycle Racing Team, is currently ranked 11th out of 180 riders in the league and is aiming for a top 10 finish by the end of the winter season.

“This is the first time I’ve had a proper stab at cyclo cross and I’m absolutely loving it,” said the consultant engineer, who works in Shrewsbury.

“The first races have been really brilliant and I’m actually doing much better than I ever expected.”

Most cyclists tend to take time off during the winter months but Griffiths admits a lack of summer training has driven his motivation for cyclo cross.

“I didn’t do as much training over the summer as I would have liked due to family commitments so felt like I needed to do something to keep my fitness levels up over the winter,” he said.

“Cyclo cross is just a bit different and is great fun.

“It’s very different from road racing and the transition has really tested my strength, ability and skill.

“With cyclo cross you race flat out for an hour on circuits which are mainly grass, dirt and forest trails which can be really challenging.

“I’m obviously used to being in the saddle for much longer periods and would only just be warming up after an hour so it is a real change of pace.

“I’m really pleased with my performance so far though and it would be great to finish in the top 10.”

Griffiths, who has two young daughters, Megan, four, and Jessica, one, said the other factor he really enjoyed about cyclo cross racing was the family atmosphere.

“It is so family friendly,” he said.

“It is a sport for all ages and abilities with races for everyone.

“It is really fantastic to watch the younger children race as well as adults. It’s a super atmosphere.”

Griffiths is being supported in his cyclo cross efforts by Stan’s Cycles of Shrewsbury, which sponsors the Paramount team.

“Stan’s Cycles have been tremendous in supporting me throughout the season and have loaned me a Trek cyclo cross bike to enable me to compete successfully in the competitions.

“It is a superb bike. Without it I don’t think my performance would be as good so I am really grateful to the team at Stan’s.”

Ben Lawrence, Paramount racing team manager and also managing director of  Beaumont Lawrence which also sponsors the team,  said he too was hoping for a top 10 finish for Griffiths.

“Dave is a fantastic road racer but it is great to hear of his success in the West Midlands Cyclo Cross League.

“He has been keeping team members up to speed with his trials and tribulations so far and we are hoping he can keep up the performance over the next seven races or so.”

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Pete White Pete White

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