Cyclo-cross in the UK is increasingly popular, the recent Rapha Super Cross event put a spin on the Belgian version and saw huge crowds turn out at Ally Pally. it’s a slightly demented sport and a weird hybrid of lots of different things. it contains the mass start element of the road race, but once out and about there is no drafting benefit, so it becomes a series of intervals, thus suiting the stronger riders who can cope with sudden acceleration and the changes in tempo. it’s also incredibly technical, needing skills both on and off the bike. the dismounts can cause people real problems:
in contrast, at the recent ‘Muddy Hell’ event at Herne Hill in London, one of the more surreal and spectacular pieces of skill entertained a beer-soaked crowd, the technical bit came through the beer tent – an inspired piece of promoting.
i tend to avoid cyclo cross for the same reason that i avoid pottery classes and working with livestock, namely that i don’t enjoy getting covered in shit. nonetheless, it makes for a great spectator sport. the western league promotes a series of events in parks most weekends. today it was the turn of hengrove, an odd disused airfield that seemed to be popular with psychotic dog walkers, as well as the aforementioned cyclists. a great mix, i guess, unless (or maybe if) you’re cadel evans.
there was a large field, over 50 riders, including simon richardson of sigma sport. it was really great to be watching a race instead of riding. i was able to relax and chat to people, enjoy the atmosphere, rather than feelthe pressure associated with competing. i took my camera and shot some footage. it’s the club’s nominated trophy event so there was a bit of a ding-dong battle between steve green and kieran ellis.