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Time now is primarily divided between grasstrack racing at Highland Games events during the summer (with the odd crit sprinkled in there for good measure), and then cyclocross takes over from October to December. "These disciplines really seem to suit my ability and time to train plus I really enjoy them, short and sharp which enables me to use my 9 mile daily commute to the shop to hone the form." Although any Strava user in the area will know that the 'honing' is something of an art form, I ask how many KOM (fastest time on mapped sections within Strava) he has, "59 at present but I lost one just this morning which I will be on the prowl to claim back."

59! FIFTY. NINE?!?!?

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Clearly a man who could have some expertise to pass on, does he have any cycling tips (I ask, aware of my upcoming cross commitment, and a hill climb in October I've foolishly publicly stated I'm going to ride), "Just do it," I have to admit I was hoping for some magic-bullet that would see me suddenly a riding god, "Most people can access a bike of some sort, I do love competition but just being able to sling your leg over a bike and pedal is invigorating and in my opinion the best way to get about. Racing? I would say try and get in contact with a local club or someone like me who can speak to you till midnight about all forms of racing and put you in contact to get stuck in. People that have raced for a good few years will also be able to help you in equipment choices."

With equipment sources it perhaps helps to run your own bike store, and Craig has proved an enthusiastic adopter of the Di2 technology on his Trek Madone road bike. Trek are also his choice for cross bikes ("Up until two seasons ago I only had one, but the sport has moved on so the need for a spare was made") while the grasstrack machine is a steel Gary Fisher, a brake less fixed wheel with tubs. But it's the Treks that will be venturing out into the winter light soon, "[I'm] getting ready for the Scottish Cyclocross series starting on October 7th at Falkirk, then there's time off in January till March 2013 where the training starts for the Grasstrack season which begins end of May / start of June."

It doesn't end there, Craig is, "... having a think about giving the Boards a shot now that the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is opening this year, it's the one discipline I have not raced in and fancied." Yes, you heard it here first, Mr Hardie has not tried something involving a bike. The thing is, you can guarantee he'll be good at it (after all, it's just an easier version of grasstrack racing surely?).

So is there anything else Craig wants to share with us? "Thanks for letting me give them a few words on what I get up to, hope I might have inspired a few to get on a bike, drag one out of a garage/hut or just spark an interest in what I think is one of the best pastimes in the world. Cheers. Hup Hup!"

.the end

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Craig Hardie is the owner of Hardie Bikes and
can be seen ripping it up through the mud during
the Scottish cyclocross season, from October 7th

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