This would be a great introduction for anyone wanting to try CX racing for the first time. All CX races are pretty easy going affairs, even more so in the summer series - nobody cares how good you are or where you come. Any off-road bike is suitable and allowed (as far as I know).
There is a CX Whatsapp group where there will no doubt be detailed discussion of tyre treads, pressures and post-race rehydration venues. Post up here or contact Charlie Codrington or Olivia Campbell to be added.
The summer equinox has been and gone so the traditional cry can go up – “cross is coming”. The Jubilee Park course is on two flat, grassy areas separated by short ramps down and up across a path and with grassy banks at each end that add a bit of interest. One set of steps to run up, preceded by a couple of plank hurdles. The Beastway team had, however, gone to town with the marker tape to lay out a twisting course with few long straights, so cornering technique was important as well as power/stamina. 100 riders lined up at the start – all categories, men and women, racing together. With no prior ranking an “honesty gridding” system was used to allow the faster riders to put themselves up front – and starting at the back meant joining a queue of dismounted riders to get around the tight turn on the first bit of banking. Once things spread out it was a case of hanging on for an hour of hot, dusty riding on a rock-hard surface – of which about 45 mins was spent regretting not having a bidon in my pocket or in the pits.
Stuart Lynn took an excellent 11th in the seniors with Alex Windett close behind in 16th and Kes Day putting in a strong ride to finish mid-way down the field in his first ever cross race – I’m sure Kes will be climbing up the rankings in future. In the V40s Dylan Bexley was 8th despite starting way back and Charlie Codrington got 5th in the V50s. Half-way through the race I was on the receiving end of a heckle “Come on Dulwich, don’t embarrass yourself”. Sadly I did – let’s just say I finished and leave it at that.
Next race on 19th July will be very different in the sloping woodlands of Frylands scout camp – a hard but entertaining course.