08/19/2015 at 9:25 am #929
It’s a sad fact that in just over a week the kids go back to school (bear with me on this – I don’t mean it’s sad that the kids go back to school!!!) which means the end of the summer is upon us 🙁
But, on the bright side – it means the Cyclo Cross season is just around the corner!!
If you’ve never heard of Cyclo Cross, it’s traditionally the sport of the roadie’s to keep them fit during the winter months – but has evolved into a massive area of the sport in it’s own right. Using what looks like a cross between a road bike, a touring bike and a mountain bike it’s a great reason to get out and ride as the days get shorter and the weather gets worse!! It’s also a great excuse to buy another bike – n+1 and all that!!!!!
To get into Cross, you don’t need much kit – other than a bike that can cope with a bit of off road riding. So either a cross bike or an MTB will be fine, and then it’s a case of rock up and ride. Well, sort of!! It might help to do a bit of cross training first to get to grips with what you’ll be doing in the races. But, the beauty of the races is they take place on short circuits, so there’s loads going on all at once – and no one knows whether you’re at the back of the race or at the front!! This also makes it a great spectator sport for the family to come along and enjoy!!
For more of an overview of Cyclo Cross and what it’s all about check out British Cycling’s website (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/cyclocross/article/20131213-Get-in-cyclo-cross-0?c=EN)
Locally, we’re lucky to have two great leagues and therefore LOADS of races we can attend…
The Wessex League (www.wessexcx.co.uk) and The Western League (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events?series_id=46).
For dates and info on the races, visit their website’s and see what you think. Western League one’s are generally closer, but Wessex League races are bigger meaning they split the events out a lot more into individual races.
Cross is also a great sport to get the kids into as well, it’s on grass based circuits so nice and safe – they don’t need a cross bike, just encourage them to get out and ride.
One final bit of info – our resident coach Dan Guest will be doing a quick talk / intro to Cyclo Cross after the club ride this weekend (Saturday 22nd August) followed by a cross inspired ride on Saturday 12th September – to give you a flavour of what cross is all about.
Any questions, thoughts or queries let us know – would be great to see lots of PC riders out getting muddy this winter!!08/20/2015 at 11:02 pm #934
Sounds good I am interested.
Now about a suitable bike……
09/07/2015 at 12:34 am #936
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by John Simmons.
A follow up from a non-racer’s point of view. A few people asked me how it went so I thought it might be handy to put down what I did and found out as it may help others. So what happened when a club rider that does the occasional Sportive or time Trial (never raced and not the fastest) gave it a go.
Following Dan’s talk I decided to do the night session at Supermarine. https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/134178/Supermarine-Floodlit-Series-Round-1
Not having a suitable cross bike I took his advice of turning up using a mountain bike, a 20 year old crafted from solid steel thing with fat tyres and a fairly hefty weight on 26 inch wheels. I had to pre-sign up on the British Cycling web site to reserve a place £13 and as I did not have a racing licence I then had to buy a day licence at £3 on the night.
Everything was pretty relaxed and low key on the night, I turned up just after 6pm and met a few people from the club and signed on, picking up a race number for the Jersey and a timing chip to be worn around my ankle. At about 6.45pm we were allowed onto the course for a few practice laps.
The course had a few long sections on grass, and a few twisting bits on the slope, with the most interesting grass part being the steps where you had to get off and carry the bike up the steps to the top of the slope before riding down it again. It had a few sections in the woods, tight and twisty so you had to stay focused, but I found quite enjoyable. From the practice I was able to work out my bike had some good points, I was reasonably quick through the woods, but I was along way off the pace on the long straights and also at the dismount and carry parts. This was of course down to the bike not me 😉
One thing you do need, lights. Quite a few had a light on the bike and another on the Helmet. the woods were getting quite dark.
The race started at 7:30pm, I decided the best place to be was at the back. That way I would not get crushed in the rush, hold anyone else up, and it meant I could follow other peoples lines etc. Also if a miracle happened I might be able to overtake. I set my sights on Andy McIntyre’s back wheel as he was on a hybrid and also new to this and we were off. I am glad to say not all of the field disappeared instantly, but it was also clear that this would be a good work out. On the straights I was pushing hard to keep up and on the slower parts you are working hard. I found myself catching up in the woods and struggling to keep in touch on the faster sections.
After a few laps the effort starts to catch up, but it was nothing less than fun. Andy dived past some guys on the way into the woods and shot off, so I decided it was time for a big push on a straight and then push through the woods to get a gap. This sort of worked as I was opening up a gap, at some effort, then I over did it on a corner and down I went, nothing serious just a drop onto the ground at a slow corner. I got up and set off without being passed but the handlebars were squint and as the light was on the bars I had to stop and straighten them, much to the hilarity and cheers of the marshals as I tried to kick the wheel/bars back into sort of alignment. So of course I lost those places :-0
Near the end I was lapped and the guys were very polite and passing leaving me some space or waiting till I went off line.
My feeling at the end? I loved it, even finished 46th out of 54. Not exactly the fastest time out there but not last. 7th in category. Never have I cycled harder to do 15Km so slowly. It was fun to be racing,.
Afterwards I borrowed a couple of the guy’s cross bikes, they were so much faster on the straighter sections. Can you do this on a mountain bike, you could take part, and it was fun, but the bike I used has limitations.
Would I do it again, I will be back next Thursday, and am looking at getting a cross bike…..
09/08/2015 at 3:59 pm #938
- This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by John Simmons.
Right, I’m on the waiting list for this weeks event (it’s sold out online) and am entered for the following weeks… I even have a racing licence turning up
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