As the club grows, so does the number of different cycling disciplines that members now compete in. Cyclo-Cross, or CX as it’s known in its abbreviated form, is a good example, with three members, Jane Holton, Simon Bull and Rich Baker, entering CX events over last weekend.
If a little muddy at times, it’s a great way of enjoying some winter fun and training on safe, interesting and challenging, traffic free multi-lap courses. Recent events prove that CX breeds some great talent with current World CX Champion Mathieu van der Poel winning the Tour of Britain and U23 World CX Champion Tom Pidcock, finishing third in the U23 World Road Championship.
It’s already a favourite with two Rising Stars families; Isabella and Henry Boyles and William and Jonathon Morris, who have already tackled several CX events over the past 18 months. They love it, as recent Facebook photos clearly illustrate.
Rich Baker raced for the club on Sunday and finished a fine 25th at the Wessex CX race, while Jane and Simon raced on Saturday at Kettering. Below, in their own words, is how the latter pair they got on.
Jane Holton in action at her first CX event
“On Saturday I took part in my first Cyclo-Cross race. It was part of the Central Cyclo-Cross League in Kettering at Prologis Park. I’ve been thinking of trying it for a couple of years, but it meant buying yet another bike and as we are a family of cyclist there really isn’t room in the garage! I decided to go down the ‘try before I buy’ route and managed to borrow a friend’s bike for the day. The conditions were perfect, not too wet and the ground was firm. Initially after seeing the course I was a little apprehensive (to say the least) as to what I had let myself in for. There was a tricky zigzag section to negotiate on a side of a hill right in the view of everyone watching! Not to be put off I set out on my warm up lap ready to take on my new challenge. It was great fun – the course was full of narrow up and down paths, with twists and turns and quick little climbs. You also have to dismount and carry your bike over small obstacles. Some of the good riders bunny hop those! The section I had been dreading was actually fine and I even managed to get up a short steep mound off a tight turn. I came off the warm up lap feeling pretty confident I could do this now. Not on a competitive level, but get around the course and enjoy the experience.
On the start grid as I was a late and an unaffiliated entry I was placed at the very back. Once we set off, I realised quite quickly these ladies were very good at what they do. The race was 40 minutes long, and each lap was 2.4 km, I managed 4 laps until the leader lapped me just before the finish line. I have to say it was the best fun, but really hard work. This is a great way to keep fit over the winter whilst having fun and challenging yourself – highly recommend anyone to have ago! Now, just need to find some cash and make room in the garage for a new bike.”
“On Saturday afternoon I raced in the Veterans 40+ category at round 4 of the Central CX League organised by Kettering CC. Conditions were pretty good and not that muddy but still slippery enough to test your bike handling skills.
The course was fun, fast and challenging with several up and down twisty hairpin type bends and fast corners along with two barrier sections where you had to dismount and carry the bike over or if you were brave jump them! My grid position was near the back at number 74 as I’m new to Cyclo-Cross, but in the end I completed 6 laps and finished in 40th place.”
Don’t forget if you’re competing over the winter months, then please let us know how you got on by sending a brief report to firstname.lastname@example.org