Cyclocross 17/18

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This topic contains 92 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Clarke 3 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #520115

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    EKCX Round Five, Betteshanger, Deal
    A long drive in the cold, cold rain for Rob, Steve and I to race the final round of the East Kent League. It’s one of my favourite courses, with plenty of muddy cornering and sharp banks to go up and down. The course designers make the best of the man made undulations in this old coal mine. We started with a long sprint and at the first corner found myself next to Rob, but he fell away a little after a technical mishap. I think he had a coming together with one of our competitors. I found I was able to ride aggressively (for me) in some of the muddy, twisty sections and then do my best to keep it going on the flatter straightaways where my lack of outright power is a disadvantage. Where the course doubled back on itself I could see Rob, Steve and a couple of familiar rivals were not far behind and at least Rob out of that group was closing on me. He finally got to my back wheel in lap four and knowing he was stronger I “let” him through. I’m such a gentleman. Was still having to give it my all to hold off Tim-of-Horsham and trying to catch a Dulwich guy. I didn’t even notice another Dulwich man come up behind me who got me on a straight and then was slower in the corners. As I attempted a pass him my front tyre lost purchase and I went down. Up in a second and with an extra shot of adrenaline and maybe a shock to my ego I managed to catch and overtake him and then the other Dulwich fella went down, I got past him and held him off to the line.
    So, good racing and great fun in the mud. But, my, was it cold when we stopped! Thin lycra soaked through is no insulation against the sleet.
    Thanks to Rob’s family for great support and to Angus for encouragement and for taking photos for which I’ll be known as King Of Gurn. I’m (sort of) looking forward to seeing those.
    Not sure if next week’s race is on as there doesn’t seem to be a venue available at the moment. Then it’s the team champs!

  • #519997

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    LCCA Round !2 – CycloPark ‘Badlands’.
    After arriving in Rob’s spacious tour bus, it was quite a shock to feel the cold bitter wind when we rode down to sign-on.
    After signing on and meeting Steve we grabbed a precious practice lap to see what was in-store for us today.
    The course was ok, a bit muddy in a couple of areas, but otherwise firm, not too technical and very open to a headwind that seemed to bite anytime you faced it.
    Rob received a well earned top 30 grid spot, with Steve and I gridded a bit further back.
    Some early tactical cornering saw me tag onto the back of a group that left a smaller group behind with Steve a bit ahead of me, with only a small spill caused by another rider slowing him down to end up spending most of the rest of the race either just behind or ahead of me. Good recovery Steve.
    It was great to See Simon & Jo cheering us on and really helped, thanks!
    I realised today that my CX bike is about as heavy as both my winter and summer bike together, but it didn’t reduce the enjoyment and buzz from the race, despite the cold wind.
    As Arnie says, “I’ll be back”.

    • #520034

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Good write-up Bill!
      Some pics on facebook:

      It was another fun race – not so muddy but the wind was savage.
      I had a decent start – kept upright on the first off-camber hairpin when there was a large pile-up on the first lap – and made some head-way.
      I kept Rob in my sights – tried to keep up – but he was steadily disappearing.
      Second lap I had a guy jump off very early on a climb right in front of me and just stand completely still in the middle of the hill – I ended up crashing into him and knocking my chain off – took a while to get the bike pushed up and out of the way to let people past and then get my chain back on – narrow-wide single-rings are not as quick to get a chain on as standard ones.
      Bill went whizzing past me at that point, and I spent the next lap trying to catch him 🙂
      I didn’t see Rob again til end of the race – well done!
      I did but wasn’t able to put much distance – he’s too strong. It was fun to shout encouragement at each other on the switchback sections!
      Other than that the race was uneventful – a full-on 45mins of max heart-rate and a great way to get my legs back and moving again after a lot of time off the bike.
      Thanks for cheers of encouragement from Simon and Jo too!
      And then well done to Jo for yet another podium finish – making it look easy!
      Roll on Betteshanger in 2 weeks time!

  • #19914

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Hello all. I think that this weekend’s race at Frylands is the one where many Avanti crossers were threatening to return to the fray after a couple of weeks out. I’m entered already. I think Rob is too. Who else?

    And for those of you who were at Leeds here’s a new boy’s perspective on the race:

    A beginner’s guide to cyclo-cross – part one: taking the plunge


    (and if the link hasn’t worked it is to an article on RCUK!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
    • #19929

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Cor what a squelcher!
      The field was about half the size it usually is today.
      That suited me fine – I was one of the stupid ones for making it out in these conditions.
      Simon, Rob and myself made it – and we found out after that Martin Rowling made it for the senior race!
      Had we know we could’ve stayed to cheer him on!
      Talk about a baptism of … erm mud and snow….
      Anyway – for me it was a lot of fun – despite the conditions. My third ride in a month – and it was great to get moving again.
      Albeit not very quickly.
      I spent more time carrying my bike and running with it today than I have ever done in all cross races combined I think!
      I’m really not very good at it.
      I held my position and made some ground on the first lap – keeping on the bike and pedalling past many on the first really slipper dodgy climb.
      Unfortunately due to traffic I had to dismount and that was game over – unable to get back on easily. Aargh.
      That seemed to be the pattern for every lap – trying to keep traction and weave around people on the slippy climbs only to eventually have to jump off.
      Still – there were enough flowing bits to put a smile on my face in-between 🙂
      It was a very well organised event too – with Christmas musing blaring on the tannoy!
      Last cross race of the year for me – looking forward to the first of 2018 soon!
      And hope to see Martin out at more races!

      • #19933

        Rob G
        Participant

        Another CX mud fest on a day that saw most roadies hitting the turbo or taking shelter under the duvet for a tad longer than usual.
        The reddened mud splattered faces of the under 16s finishing before the vets race were testament to the gloopy surface on what was a tough hilly course.
        It became a real race of attrition as the submerged stone shards caught out some riders getting punctures whilst many had chain offs as the mud built up around cranks and chainsets.
        My last lap was a stop start affair where the mid field places were changing hands fast, I passed 3 riders running with their stricken bikes only to be passed by 2 as I had another chain off.
        300 metres from the finish, another unlucky chain off by the rider I’d been battling with the whole race gave me the chance to pass for an elevated placing of 25th, my best in the London league so far.
        Well done to Martin on his first CX race in the seniors and kudos to Steve and Simon (no brakes) Clarke.
        Massive thanks to Sutton CC and all the volunteers who I think had the toughest day of all.

      • #19932

        Simon Clarke
        Participant

        Steve’s done a good write up – My two penn’orth –
        I had a right scramble to get to my gridded position as I was out on a recce lap and nearly missed the start of the race. I had hardly lined up and we were off. Of course the nasty weather meant a reduced field, but there were still plenty of folk to race against for the first lap. I started OK, a sprint up a little hill and then got a bit tangled up and dropped my chain. That was the last i saw of Rob as he rode off to a good result. I managed to just about catch Steve and was enjoying some of the flowy stuff on top of the hill. We had ridden the course in the summer and much of it was familiar, but now the wetter conditions reduced the levels of grip and caused me in particular another problem. With soft disc brake pads and lightweight rotors that are more air than steel any mud they picked up tore into the pads. With them being cable actuated brakes they don’t auto adjust for wear like hydraulics and I was soon pulling the levers to the bars to feel any stopping power. By the middle of the race my rear brake was next to useless and the front one a mere ornament. So I used deep mud to slow me down where I could, jumped off at speed on downhills and ran (that feels all kinds of wrong) or just ditched it in the bushes to stop. Still, I only lost a few places doing that and managed to finish just ten or so behind Rob.
        It was fun. And everyday is a school day. I’ll be altering my brake set up for racing at Ford Manor Farm in the East Kent League next Sunday. It’s a course where Rob actually won cash money for his performance last year. So, we’re expecting big things again…

        Oh, nearly forgot – Welcome to cross to Martin R. A great first race for him in the seniors. I’m sure he’ll be grateful to us oldies for smoothing out the course for him earlier in the day. 😉

    • #19919

      Bill Fitzgerald
      Participant

      Just entered.
      Is the venue ok for parking guys or do you need to park local and ride in?
      Cheers
      Bill

    • #19917

      jo stephens-smith
      Participant

      Unfortunately I cant make this weeks CX. I plan to enter the following round on the 17th. Have a great race all!

  • #19808

    Rob G
    Participant

    Round 10 of the London and SE CX League – Simon and myself raced in the Vet40s with Jo racing in the Womens race.

    First time at the Penshurst Off road centre for me.
    Looking at some of crazily angled jumps, I was glad that the cross course didn’t include anything so extreme.

    Another first was a 50 meter or so running start, up a virtually unrideable grassy bank to the top of the course. It did a great job of spreading out the field before a series of turns on a slippy muddy downhill section.
    From the lowest point of the course it was a real slog where power and traction rather than technical skills were required.

    After last weeks brake failure, it was great to stay upright and get the better of a few riders around me, I even nicked a couple of places with an uncharacteristic fast finish coming in 26th. Simon came in less than a minute later having got the better of some mid pack rivals.
    It’s all relative though, the winner still breezed past us with a lap to go looking super strong on his mtb.
    Jo went well in the womens race coming 3rd in her category despite having to stop and clear a wedge of mud from her hybrids brake calliper a couple of times, well done!

  • #19714

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London Cross League, Round 9, Cyclopark.
    Last week’s venue made use of the natural topography of Leeds Castle estate to pretty devastating effect. The groomed, man-made undulations on Cyclopark right next to the A2 formed a contrast in the style of the course this week. But an equally tough challenge. As predicted we rode the course that has been designed for the National Trophy races next weekend and it uses many of Cyclopark’s steep bankings to give racers devilishly angled cambers to attempt to ride on and corner round. Further challenge is given by some savage drops down those banks. This would all be great fun with a firm surface, but after a little rain some elements of the course resembled an off road skid pan, suitable only for tip toeing along while carrying your bike. This might sound like a nightmare, but I think it made for a brilliantly challenging , technical course.
    Rob and I raced the vet 40s and Rob had problems with his back brake coming loose after an early fall – he did really well to finish with just his front brake. I tied to enjoy the technical bits, riding the steep downs where some walked/slid to make up time that had been lost where pure power was most important. Normally I’ll be able to report where I was having a battle with another rider, but this course was so absorbing I can only tell you about my efforts to stay upright while maintaining momentum. Which was about two thirds of the race. With results posted in record time it looks like I got 48th with Rob a couple of places later in a big field.
    We stuck around to support Jo S-S to whom I can only apologise – we have encouraged her to start crossing and she turns up for two of the hardest courses we have raced! She has done brilliantly to battle through her races and keep smiling. Chapeau!
    Thanks to Martin Davey and Steve Warner and partners for their vocal support. And I think I spotted Ian Soper on the sidelines too. Great to have support.
    I’m sure Rob and Jo will add their own views on a course that was surprisingly “epic”. We race again next Saturday at Penshurst and marshal at the National Trophy on the Sunday.

    • #19719

      Rob G
      Participant

      Nice report! Can’t add much to that. Just a really well designed course that was fun and challenging to ride as well as perfect for spectating.
      Once I lost the use of my back brake I found the course a little too challenging and managed to add several more cyclocross related abrasions to a fast growing collection.
      Looking forward to seeing the elite riders race the course in the Cyclocross National Trophy this coming sunday.
      If anyone fancies going along to watch, there’s racing from 10:15am till 15:45 and its free admission.
      Oh, and the Cyclopark cafe is open again!

      Anyone racing at PORC on Saturday?

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  • #19695

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London CX League – Round 9, Leeds Castle
    Ah, the loveliest castle in the world. With one of the country’s toughest cyclocross courses. The Leeds estate and Dulwich Paragon put on a great race – with much slog and technical challenge to be had. A slippery off camber descent, hurdles with a moat in between (well, a bog) and a cruelly steep bank to carry up. Plus the usual twists and turns through rough pasture and wooded park. This was no grass criterium. And Jo SS chose it as her first cross race – nice choice. After a quick dropping of tyre pressures and a change of front wheel to borrow Rob’s grippy mud treads Jo flung herself into her race with abandon and thrived. Well done Jo – we look forward to seeing you at more races.
    Rob G, Andy S and I took on the vet 40s race a usual. Rob nursing a cracked rib chose to ride his MTB and on the technical course and didn’t suffer too much from what might normally be a slower bike. That left Andy able to borrow Rob’s proper cross race bike – a weapon that Andy really appreciated. All three of us bashed round for five laps, getting lapped by the super quick juniors, but sometimes making up ground where we were strongest, losing it again where we might be lacking. We all had some good battles with our peers, though. I for one had to put in a big effort on the last lap to rid myself of a couple of competitors and finished totally spent. it was a while before I could even speak at the end and later that night I still felt like I really put myself through the wringer. As ever, more training required!
    The next race is on Sunday at Cyclopark. The course will be same as that to be used for the National Trophy race the weekend after. It’s different to previous courses as the National Trophy will be under UCI rules, so the course has to be a minimum of three metres wide all the way round. Huw, the course designer, has had to think of novel ways to challenge the riders and I think that it will have a lot of steeply cambered sections and tight turns. I’m looking forward to it.

  • #19677

    jo stephens-smith
    Participant

    I’m new to Cyclocross and only have a hybrid bike. I have entered Leeds Castle on sunday to have a go. Can anyone give me any tips on this course pls and any other info I should know about? Finally is GS Avanti affiliated to the London League? Many thanks. Jo

    • #19678

      Rob G
      Participant

      If the course is like last year there’s an off camber descent that takes a bit of getting used to, sometimes unclipping a foot can help.
      There was a couple of hurdles – just get off and carry your bike over. Some short steep run ups and switchbacks.
      Also Leeds has some incredibly bumpy grass sections where keeping relaxed arms and upper body can help absorb some of the vibrations.
      Dont think clubs affiliate to the London league anymore just turn up sign on and get a practice lap in when the race before yours finishes.
      A couple of minutes before your race they blow a whistle and everyone gathers near the start.
      They then grid the riders by calling them up one by one in order of there standing in the tables.
      Any ungridded riders just line up after and try to get the best position possible – your starting position can make quite a difference in CX.
      The races are always usually very friendly and a lot of fun.
      Well done for giving it a go Jo! Your hybrid should be fine as long as you have off road style tyres.

  • #19598

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London CX League, Round Seven, Happy Valley
    A bit of a contrast to last week. The rolling grassland of Brighton’s Happy Valley was firm and mostly dry providing a quick course and close racing. Rob, Steve and Andy were my Avanti companions for the Vet 40 race. Nipping out for a practice lap we found the course to be shorter than usual here at Happy Valley, but including some new twists and turns and the sharp drop out of the trees to a hairpin was lacking the slipperiness that often sees a few mishaps.
    So, we gridded and waited for the whistle and blasted away. Halfway round the first lap I was in touching distance of Steve and Rob. Then I saw the aftermath of Rob coming a cropper on the hop over a log. It did his gear lever in a bit and that gave me some time to overtake him. Steve was long gone in the distance. The little drop out of the trees led to the hairpin, except by now some junior racers had poured water all over it and it became slick as an ice rink! Surprise! I just got round upright, but the crunch of expensive alloy behind me told of others in more difficulty. Soon after Rob regained his rhythm and powered past me and the race settled into an entertaining succession of cornering and (an)aerobic challenges. My usual sparring partner – Tim of Horsham – caught me, I broke free of him, he caught up, I broke free, he caught me and shouted “Simon, could you stop pulling away like that?” Unable to form a full sentence for lack of breath I said “no!” and pulled away a little and managed to keep it that way. Yes! Our nip and tuck battle through the season continues.
    It sounds like Rob and Steve finished close together in a group that had a very close contest for minor places on the last lap. That sounds like great racing. And kept Rob’s mind off injuries he’d sustained in his earlier fall. I hope it’s nothing too serious at all.
    Andy sped round on his hybrid spurred on (as we all were) by his three strong supporter group. I hope his kids enjoyed their day as much as we enjoyed their encouragement.
    The next race is an East Kent one that I can’t make, but I hope to be back in a couple of weeks for Leeds Castle. A tough, but brilliant course with rough off cambers, a stream crossing, bermed corners, and a choice of steep carry or longer steep ride at one point. Bring it on.

    • #19602

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Results are out – very quickly this week!
      https://www.londonxleagueresults.co.uk/RaceDB/Hub/CategoryResults/38/0/246/
      Rob: 35
      Me: 36
      Simon: 42
      Andy: 63
      The analysis database that they use is cool.
      https://www.londonxleagueresults.co.uk/RaceDB/Hub/ResultAnalysis/38/0/4885/
      I was in 27th, 26th, 27th, 29th place the first 4 laps. Then started to drop places as my energy levels dwindled and lap times slowed.
      It shows that Rob and I were 14.3% slower than the race winner – the amazing Stephen Gibson.

      • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by  Steve Rodgers.
    • #19600

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Sums it up nicely, Simon!
      Pics posted to facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gsavanti/posts/1427941470592578

      Also the South team support video on Facebook is great!
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/414695848657419/permalink/1347977058662622/

      Last week was really dreadful – but it made the muddy bits today seem like a ride in the park.
      Which it was 🙂
      The rest of the route was fine – not technical at all – other than a handful of roots and a tiny log to hop over.
      The grass was neat and not lumpy like at Herne Hill.
      Very nice indeed. If only I was a little fitter. I had my first warm, full meal of the week on Friday evening.
      Til then, since Monday, I’ve been surviving on electrolyte mix, and the occasional bit of toast+butter.
      I felt a bit more recharged Saturday and today I felt much better – empty and with heavy legs and chest – but with energy at least.
      I had a caffeine gel for the race – which I took a tiny slurp of at the start and then every 2nd lap – to keep me going.
      I felt like Popeye scoffing a can of spinach – briefly – a return to form – then dipping back to troughs of hell.
      Ah well – it was fun. After my first lap I didn’t think I could keep it up and expected Rob, Simon and Andy to catch me up.
      It was really like interval training – the hard part is keeping your speed up through the bends so it doesn’t become one sprint after another.
      Sprint, brake, sprint, brake. I’m trying hard to improve that by watching others – it’s a really slow process to get right.

      I could see Rob closing in on me lap by lap, only for me to pull ahead when the twisty bits opened up.
      By the 2nd last lap he had caught me up by the sloppy muddy section at the start of the lap – I think he came off on the bit that became an off-camber swamp – but he caught me again just after that same point on the last lap – I shouted encouragement at him on the short, sharp climb and he popped in wheel in front of me. We had a little Avanti train going for a while until he took off again on the final twisty bits – the last few were easy to link up and I was able to catch him again – with us crossing the line with Rob a wheel or so ahead.
      I then discovered that he has busted his left shifter, his thumb and his rib! Double, triple kudos!

      Oh and I was right behind him when he fell on the first lap – was not good to see – but glad he got up again so quickly.
      It was a bit like this: https://youtu.be/CFCIoM250Bc?t=17

      Good work Andy on your hybrid!

      It seemed a bit too simple for Simon today – I think he was yearning for more mud like last week.
      I reckon he bunged a couple of quid to the local kids that were pouring water on the course 😀

    • #19599

      Rob G
      Participant

      Nice report Simon.
      It was a great little grass crit, fast and frenetic. Think I kept the spectators by the log entertained ;-). Well done to team Avanti, good racing guys! Many thanks to Andy’s little trio of supporters and Preston Park Youth for making it all happen…. now where’s my codeine.

  • #19568

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Hey guys.
    Have fun this weekend.
    I can’t make the next two weekends so my next focus is Leeds Castle on 12th November.
    Going to get some local trails in on the CX bike between now and then.
    Cheers
    Bill

  • #19562

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    I’m signed up for the Happy Valley race on Sunday. I see Rob is too. Any other takers?

    • #19567

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      I’m signed up now.

      • #19592

        Andy South
        Participant

        In a late-breaking development, I’m now also signed up for Happy Valley on Oct. 29. No childcare, so I figured the kids are just going to have to come and act as the Avanti fan club!

  • #19548

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London SE Cross League – Round 6 Ardingly
    Cross is back! OK, so the cyclocross season started weeks ago, but previous races felt like grass based crits and time trials compared with Sunday’s race. This was our first muddy event of the season and for those of us who have been racing for a few years it felt like the real spirit of cross embodied in sticky, draggy, tractionless, gloopy brown stuff. For Bill, on his first season, a baptism of sludge. We had a four strong team out this weekend – it’s great to have a a bunch of club clubmates there to make the racing more fun.
    The course was built using the equestrian cross country area at the South of England showground at Ardingly. As a result there was a variety of terrain from tarmac to muddy grass, elevation change and steep ramps, steps and hurdles to force dismounts. The start was as fast and furious as ever and I managed to keep up with Rob in the crowds, but as soon as there was a bit more space he left me in his wake. In the conditions everyone’s tyres bunged up and blinded pretty quickly. As I have reported before the very English combination of mud and grass manages to wattle and daub tyres and frame and running gear with a particularly draggy grass fibre reinforced mix. A few people had rear mechs rip off as a result. Fortunately no Avanti bikes succumbed. I tried to ride through puddles when possible to wash down or dilute the mud. I’m not sure it worked! So traction was at a premium and that was the main challenge – keep momentum in corners and the sticky bits. And the uphill bits. I was relearning a lot of skills that I had not realised had become dulled. In my last lap I tried desperately to chase down a guy I usually battle with, but did not quite manage it – he could see me coming and put in just enough effort to keep me at bay. It was fun to chase, though!
    All too soon time was up. Riding in those conditions is utterly absorbing and the best part of the challenge of cross for me. Rob was well ahead of me in the results at exactly halfway in the field. We all know how strong Rob is so that shows the quality of the riders out there this weekend. Well done Rob. Bill, Steve and I formed a firm foundation of the final third of the field. Most of us were smiling. Bill looked grateful to have survived.
    And then – bike wash!

    • #19551

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      This was by far the hardest cross race I’ve faced.
      I’ve had some wet ones, some freezing cold ones, one where I chipped my knee bone on slippery concrete, slippery sooty ones, technical+rooty ones and the occasional fast, flat and twisty.
      This was my first ‘stick as much mud and grass to your bike as possible’ one.
      I watched the kids race as I arrived early – and there were so many sad faces walking off the course with broken dreams and broken mechs.
      When we went out for our first recce lap – it was tough! It took me longer to try to pick the mud off my bike than to ride the lap!
      This was definitely a race for single-speed bikes with dedicated mud tyres.
      None of us had this setup.
      Ah well.
      In for a penny, in for a pound 🙂
      We set off – it was a slippery mess on the first lap – carnage at most of the bends.
      Traction was lost within the first few 100 m – tyres bunged up – it was like riding slicks for most of the ride.
      The fun bit was trying to meter out power and balance to try to keep some form of traction.

      Every other lap I had to stop and slop out the mud and grass that was blocking everything – thankfully my bike survived intact.
      Definitely not a sport for those that like to have a polished, shiny bike.

      Great fun to be out with fellow Avantis!

      • #19552

        Bill Fitzgerald
        Participant

        LOL, the first line of your comments was music to my ears Steve. To know that was the hardest you have raced makes me feel better as I was wondering since how I would manage racing like that every time. It was a great race, but damn hard.

        I echo all of the comments made by the guys. I’ve raced in some very tough crits and road races in the last 7-8 years, but that race was up there way out as the number one for me.

        My finishing position at Herne Hill a few weeks back bagged me a grid position at Ardingly which was a complete surprise. This enabled me to start only a couple of rows behind Steve and another 2-3 rows further back from Simon.

        It really was a race of attrition in terms of rear mechs for some and also a test of who remembers how bambi stood up on ice, as navigating the muddy conditions was like that at times.

        All said and done I’m still hooked and will make as many races as I can. Roll on next year’s summer series LOL.

        Cheers
        Bill

    • #19550

      Andy South
      Participant

      Excellent. Sounds like it was the real deal!

  • #19497

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Ardingly – October 22nd – I’m in and paid up.
    Me, Rob and Simon entered already, places going quickly.
    I am able to take 2 extra plus bikes and kit bags, happy to do so from pickup at the G.

    Bill

  • #19477

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Possibly future races?
    Considering Ardingly, CycloPark, Leeds Castle, Penshurst, Frylands Wood, Ford Manor Park.

    Any thoughts?

    Bill

    • #19478

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      I’ll be at Ardingly. November a bit hit and miss depending on where I am.
      December through the rest of the season I should be around.

      • #19480

        Simon Clarke
        Participant

        I will be at the Ramsgate race this weekend – hope to be at Ardingly and Happy Valley after that. I’ll miss the first race of November at least but then should be back for most of the races running up to Christmas. Hopefully we’ll have a really good turnout at the races this year. Brilliant to be a properly viable Team Avanti.

        • #19489

          Bill Fitzgerald
          Participant

          Scores on the doors from Herne Hill last week.
          Out of 80 riders in the Men V40 race.
          35th – Rob
          53rd – Steve
          57th – Bill
          60th – Andy

          Good starting point, getting a few more races under our belts should help us move up the starting grids to avoid any bottlenecks in the early laps.

          Good luck tomorrow guys. I should be racing next week, can offer lifts for two plus bikes now with new bike rack.

          I’m off out on some local trails in the morning, enjoy your rides everyone.

          Bill

  • #19474

    Steve Rodgers
    Keymaster

    Just adding my comments to the write-ups from Rob, Bill and Andy.
    Glad it was enjoyed by everyone today – it’s much more fun with more club-mates.
    Hopefully we’ll have a decent Avanti turnout more regularly!

    I wasn’t feeling very healthy this week – if you saw me at the committee meeting on Monday you’ll understand.
    I had to abandon my entry last Sunday as I’d spent the night in hospital.
    I’d entered this week’s race weeks ago so I’d hoped that I’d be OK to ride.
    I had a quick, easy ride yesterday afternoon to see how I felt – Saturday was the first day I actually started to feel good.
    It was good to get a ride in so I figured I’d take part today and not push too hard and get some twisty turny stuff back in my legs.
    I’m glad I did 🙂
    The new tags this year are good – last year they were plastic things to cable-tie onto your helmet – ouch.
    This year they are neat pieces of origami that fit nicely on your seat-post.
    The new building at Herne Hill is very swish, too.
    And to top it all off – I felt a smidge of sunburn on my legs by the end of the race – should’ve worn sunscreen! In October! Nuts!

    It was great to see the others there when I arrived – Andy+Bill full of wide-eyed enthusiasm – new cycling stuff really brings out the inner child in us. An riding around in the woods with your mates is like being a kid again.
    Well – in today’s case, a knackered, sweaty wreck – but a lot of fun.

    The new gridding system is fun – everyone lines up like some triumphant entrance to a coliseum and the magical grid positions are read out in order and the riders make their way to the front.
    I heard my name called out for the first time in a gridding – wayhay! – which meant I started on Rob’s wheel – about about mid-pack.
    Bill was 2 or 3 bikes back and Andy about a bike or two behind Bill.
    I lost sight of Rob after a couple of laps – even when he’s not on form he’s still a formidable rider 🙂
    I found out on the first recce lap that my lungs were not up to much – so I had no engine to push on on the flat bits today. I’m still learning on the bendy bits so usually I can make up time on the straightish bits – not today. So I chugged around trying my best not to overcook things. I tried a few efforts – tried to pedal up Big Bob – just the once – got a foot from the top and had to leap off before doing a backflip back down the hill. I was tempted to try bunny-hopping the hurdles on my second attempt at them, but similarly to Andy’s experience – the guy in front of me tried and failed – painfully face-planting – so I thought better of it.

    Because of the twisty bits doubling back – I could see Bill on every lap – I shouted encouragement at him and could see he was gradually gaining ground – I thought he’d catch me by the end – he didn’t quite but was not far behind when I crossed the line – well done!

    Anyway – looks like we’ve got 2 new CX converts – come on Avanti!!!

  • #19473

    Steve Rodgers
    Keymaster
  • #19464

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Hi all.
    Let’s just say, take my money I am hooked.
    Just a week after taking the plunge and buying a Cyclo-X bike I entered my first race.
    Being a rookie at Cyclo-X racing I turned up with over inflated tyres and without practicing some dismounting and remounting the bike.
    After signing on in a the very plush new facilities at Herne Hill Rob suggested I had a quick dismount practice nearby, so I was rather relieved that it was easier than you would first think.
    A quick recce lap later we all assembled near the start area, with higher ranked riders in the league being called up first (which included Rob then Steve) then myself and Andy South included in the rest to join the rear of the pack. I don’t know how many raced yet, but maybe 80+ ?
    A rather frantic first lap with some late arriving faster riders making their way through any gaps led to a more strung out 2nd, 3rd and so on laps.
    Herne Hill is a very good course for testing your technical skills, with numerous switchbacks, testing bumps, off camber turns, a set of steps, a testing off the bike climb and a couple of boards to either bunny hop or carry the bike over. Needless to say I didn’t bunny hop them.
    With very few passing opportunities both Andy and I made up some places on the flats, but also running past riders on the climb or remounting quicker than them after cresting the top of the climb.
    Before the start I was keen to get it over and done with asap, but once I had got into a rhythm and used to the course I didn’t want it to end.
    I can’t make next week’s race due to family commitments, but I will definitely be back racing asap after.
    If you have an MTB, CX bike or can borrow one I really recommend you having a go.
    I’ll be trying to make it to the CycloPark XC training evenings on Thursdays if anyone wants to join me.

    Thanks all

    Bill

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  • #19463

    Rob G
    Participant

    London X League – Round 5.
    Gorgeous day out for cyclocross in the sunshine at Herne Hill.
    Nice seeing a couple of new faces with Bill F and Andy S trying cross out for the first time.
    Its the only race in the calender that I ride out to, so I got a decent warm up for once and arrived in time to see my brother race in the under 16s.
    He’s slowly climbing up the rankings, getting better with each race, great to see!
    At sign on I purchased “Rainbows in the Mud” by Paul Maunder. Only read a few pages so far but looks like a good read for CX fans.
    The course had some regular attractions/obstacles to get over.
    “Big Bob” the ramp that has all but the strongest riders scrambling up its surface and the usual smallish hurdles as well as numerous switchbacks and a set of steps to run up.
    I wasnt really on top form but tried to hang in there with a super high heart rate until alas the leader came through with 200 metres to go making it my last lap.
    Sometimes its annoying to get lapped just before the finish but I was pretty glad today, it gave me a chance to watch the rest of the avanti’s cross the line before hitting the cake and coffee stall.
    Well done to Bill, Andy and Steve. Looked like everyone enjoyed themselves.
    I’ve registered for next sunday’s East Kent Cross League down near Ramsgate if anyone wants to rideshare.

    • #19470

      Andy South
      Participant

      London X League – Round 5 – Herne Hill – Newbie report

      Having swotted up on numerous YouTube videos ahead of my first CX outing, I felt like we were being somewhat spoilt with weather atypical of this particular cycling discipline as I arrived at a sun-drenched Herne Hill velodrome. The grass still looked green and there were no rivers of mud. That said, I’d heard the course was fairly “technical”, so I wasn’t complaining about the fact that there might be better-than-average grip on the squillions of hairpin bends which CX is known for.

      I quickly bumped into Bill, Rob, and Steve before signing on and going for a bit of a warm-up. It was very nice to have some club-mates who knew what they were doing, meaning we hopped onto the course at the first possible opportunity for a couple of hurried practice laps and a first introduction to various lumps, bumps, a staircase, and a very steep hill.

      Being first timers, Bill and I weren’t called to any particular start position, but did an OK job of getting as far forward as we could. The first lap was mayhem – in a fun way – with lots of riders in close proximity tackling some challenging terrain. On lap 2, two modestly-sized barriers had been put in, and the first rider in my group of 5 or so tried – and failed – to hop them, flipping gracefully over his bars, landing on his back with his bike on top of him, muttering: “…and that’s why you should get off and run.” To which a nearby marshall replied: “Never mind. You gave it a good try,” as he helped untangle and pick up man and machine. This kind of epitomised the good-natured feel of the whole event.

      To be honest, I’m at a bit of a fitness low, so I felt fairly cooked after just the recce, let alone the race! By the time the board said “3 laps to go” I was secretly hoping I’d get lapped by the leaders a second time, which would have reduced it some more. That said, I was pleased that what little practice I’d done at getting on and off the bike smoothly seemed to pay dividends when it mattered, and I was able to overtake some people when I had the bike in my hands – they just re-overtook me a few seconds/minutes later! Something to build on, as they say.

      Overall, a great first experience and happy with the result of “maybe not (although at the same time maybe) completely stone cold last”. I’ll be back for more. Might just need to ramp up the turbo trainer sessions in the meantime!

      Andy

      P.S. Thanks to Rob for lending me the mighty Puch. If not for my performance, I at least got some kudos in the paddock and on the course for riding a vintage steel-framed single-speed. Can’t imagine how much more complicated it would be having to think about gear changes too…

  • #19462

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Just a quick note to wish today’s racers at Herne Hill the best of luck. Especially those for whom it’s their first race. Just sprint off the line, then raise the pace, then keep it there.

  • #19412

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London Cross League – Happy Valley
    Just two of us down at Happy Valley near Brighton for this Sunday’s race. Rob and me. Steve would have joined us but was taken out of contention with a nasty migraine. A shame as this course is set on a grass park and perfect for his powerful style.
    There were a couple of changes for this race, though. Firstly the course designers had found three short sections through wooded areas to mix up the surfaces a little. And the course was much improved as a result – a lot of the technical challenge in cyclocross is in reacting to differing levels of grip and camber round the lap – variety is good. A second difference was the way we lined up before gridding, we made a couple of lines of riders either side of the track leaving space in between for riders to come forward as their name was called. Much more civilised than usual. The race itself was hard work and my heart rate seemed to be super high throughout. I was lower in the race than I expected and was trying to squeeze as much energy out of my legs as I could all the time, but it seemed to just keep me in my lowly position rather than rising up the ranks as I hoped. The competition is getting tough out there! I was going as hard as I could on the last lap having just been overtaken by the leading junior rider and a couple of leading vets when I came down on a slippery corner. I fumbled with my chain trying to get it back on and lost a few places. So, it was a frustrating outing for me, but Rob looked to have been going well. We’ll soon see when we get the results.
    Our lunchtime race was lucky in that we had no rain, later races took place in drizzle and showers making the corners and slopes very slick indeed. There are some comedy videos on the league Facebook page that make the conditions look tough/slippery/hilarious.
    The next race is at Herne Hill next Sunday. I can’t make it, but there should be a good Avanti crowd there, including a couple of new racers. Sign up soon as this weekend’s race was almost sold out on line and HHV is a popular venue. Good luck to all who race – you’ll have a blast.

  • #19367

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Hello. I found out this evening that the cross race training at Cyclopark is indeed on a Thursday evening. It is highly rated by those that have been, but is quite limited in numbers and you have to book. It’s not advertised on their website, so you have to call the Cyclopark and book over the phone. It’s been fully sold out for the last couple of weeks, so if you want to go you might need to book early. I have seen some of the course that I guess they must use for the training and there are loads of nasty cambers on it that look quite challenging. It could be a really good thing to go and try out.

    I have also learnt that I am not very good at ensuring my posts on this thread go where they need to. I did answer some recent questions a bit further down the thread in a bit of a random place. Sorry.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
    • #19409

      Bill Fitzgerald
      Participant

      Hey guys.
      Are we entering under the VET40 MEN category?
      Cheers
      Bill

      • #19410

        Steve Rodgers
        Keymaster

        Yep.
        You can enter the seniors if you like but they are younger and fitter 🙂

        • #19411

          Bill Fitzgerald
          Participant

          I’m in. signed up for the league and Herne Hill this Sunday Vets 40.

          • #19413

            Andy South
            Participant

            I’m signed up for Herne Hill too.

  • #19359

    Steve Rodgers
    Keymaster

    I’ve entered Happy Valley this weekend and Herne Hill the following.
    Given the lack of parking – do we want to try to car pool?

    • #19365

      Simon Clarke
      Participant
    • #19361

      Andy South
      Participant

      The calendar has conspired against me and now means I can’t do the Happy Valley CX race after all. Dangnabbit. October 8 at Herne Hill the new target. However, some progress in that I did get mountain bike shoes and Rob has kindly let me borrow the (mighty) Puch. Any advice on where/how to do some technique practice?

      • #19362

        Bill Fitzgerald
        Participant

        I think I am in the same boat for Happy Valley, as I have DIY work to complete before wardrobes get fitted on Monday and it’s my birthday weekend so I’m out with Jo and Sophie.
        Herne Hill should be cool for me, looking forward to it.
        Just need to get my MTB gears adjusted and all should be fine.

        • #19363

          Andy South
          Participant

          Any insight on what the Herne Hill course is like? Grassy and bendy? I hear tell of a staircase…

          • #19364

            Simon Clarke
            Participant

            Hello All – I’m entered for Happy Valley. But I can’t make Herne Hill.
            As for some skill sessions I am happy to pass on what little I know. And to be honest the best place to learn is really close to the G. We have a couple of places where the principles of riding singletrack can be practiced. The rest of the stuff can be learnt and practiced on flat grassy ground – the park off Tubbenden Lane is perfect and has a few steps to practice on too. Also, I’ll check on the Cyclopark sessions tomorrow evening when I am there. The other thing you can do is check the GCN videos on You Tube, which I think are pretty good – they are linked in the bottomest comment on this thread.I will pick some out and link them directly later.
            It would be good to have practiced jumping off and on the bike and cornering on grass, etc. Tyre pressure is also key and a bit counter intuitive for those used to the road.
            I can be free any evening from six, or do Saturday morning this weekend. I like a skills session..

            Herne Hill – A less tight and twisty course than you might imagine, but known for causing pinch punctures as it has a few stones and bricks in the rough ground. There is single track, a steep run up a banking, stairs and low hurdles (250mm high?). The parking will get full in the stadium, so you end up parking in nearby streets, not a massive issue.

            • #19378

              Steve Rodgers
              Keymaster

              Might be a wet, muddy one Sunday.
              Anyone else going?
              Me+Simon+???
              Rob?

  • #19335

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Hi guys.
    As a Cyclocross newbie I’m keen to learn some skills outside of a racing environment when fellow riders behind you might moan and groan etc…
    I’ve seen that the Cyclopark offer CX training sessions between 19:00 – 20:30on Tuesdays, anyone onterested?
    It’s only £5 which might help make our first few CX races a little more enjoyable and rewarding.

    Cheers

    Bill

    • #19345

      Rob G
      Participant

      As Simon said Tuesdays session is for under 16’s but I heard theres a CX training session on Thursdays 7pm – 8:30 £7:50. Not been up there yet. I think you have to phone to book up beforehand.

    • #19344

      Simon Clarke
      Participant

      Hi Bill,

      I’ll ask about the CX training at Cyclopark when I’m there on Wednesday. I can only see that session listed as being for under sixteens. But I know there has been some discussion on Wednesdays about sessions for adults too, but I don’t see them listed. If you have more up to date info than I can see let me know.

  • #19320

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Hi All, With The PORC round of the London League cancelled the event down at Stanmer Park on Oct 1st will be the next race that we can do. I’m up for it. Sounds like Andy is too. Who else? Bill, Rob, Paul, Johnny, Steve – we could get a good team out!

    • #19325

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      I’m in!

      • #19346

        Rob G
        Participant

        Course has been changed to Happy Valley. Im up for it!

  • #19221

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Great write up Simon. Sounds like you all had a great race.
    I’m hoping to be out in two weeks once Brands Hatch is out of the way.
    What is Penshurst like as a CX course especially for newbies?
    Cheers
    Bill

    • #19297

      Andy South
      Participant

      Looks like the CX race at Penshurst on Sept. 24 is cancelled. I’m now aiming for the next one on Oct. 1.

    • #19269

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Johnny what were the pics you uploaded?
      They’re too big – can you upload a smaller version? 🙂
      Found this one of you on the builders obstacles.

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    • #19234

      Simon Clarke
      Participant

      Bill, The PORC course is reckoned to be one of the least manicured of the year. No grass tracking in the local park! There’s a long descent that is probably fastest on a mountain bike and then a long ascent (surprise!) that just has a couple of steep step-up ramps in it. Then a drag on fire road across the top of the valley. I have seen some of the fitter, but not so technical riders leave their carbon cross machines in the pits and ridden a flat barred option instead.
      So, not as technical as Brighton Big Dog, but I don’t think that you’re at much of a disadvantage on your 29er.
      I think it’s a great course – but can I risk my tubs? I think that’s the next race I can make, so up for sharing a lift if you like.

  • #19218

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    East Kent CX league. Round One. Sandwich Tech
    It’s a long drive down to Sandwich, but worth it for grassroots racing at its best. Steve R and I were joined by cross new boy Johnny Edwards for a blast round the V40s race. I think I was just outside of the top ten for last year’s league so no gridding for me but I was far enough forwards at the start to avoid a crash that took out a couple of riders and delayed a few more. So I found myself ahead of S and J for the first lap. Then on the second Steve powered past me and four other riders in the space of 200 metres and I thought that was the last I’d see of him… However I was making up time on the corners being able to to rail them pretty well on my low pressure tubs. And there were loads of corners, well over 50 per lap (we counted them on the course map!). So I caught Steve on the twisty bits and overtook, then he powered past, then I caught up, then he… well, you get the picture. This made for totally absorbing racing. I think my final advantage came when Steve got derailed off the course while going through the sandpit and then got caught up in a bit of hedge on the outside of a corner. I got a bit of a lead then and squeezed out all the power my spindly legs could give up to hold on. Just. There were lots of close battles all round the field and I’m sure that Steve and Johnny will have their own take on them. Awesome to have team Avanti out in force today.
    There was plenty of chatter between racers after our finish and we stopped to watch some really strong juniors get shown a lesson by the rising star that is Ben Tulett. I also hung around to see some of the south east’s fastest senior riders get shown a real lesson by (five times and current) national champ Ian Field. The smooth application of big watts is impressive to see. That will be the last we see of him as he goes abroad to race against the best in the world for another season. Us less talented riders continue locally with races available every weekend until mid December.

    • #19229

      Johnny Edwards
      Keymaster

      I was always interested in cyclocross ever since I started reading Simon’s infectious post event write ups many years ago. So with a bit of prompting from Steve I decided to try it out for fun and so Steve kindly picked me up and drove us both to the Sandwich. Not having a CX bike (or even a hardtail) I gave it a go on my faithful full suspension mtb (whose rear felt extra bouncy as I lined up against all those riders on lightweight CX bikes.) The atmosphere was very friendly, as much so as the few MTB races I’ve ridden.

      However the course was nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before. It looked like some bizarre optical illusion, with ribbon crossing every which way regardless of where you looked. If there was a tree then you would likely be doing a u-turn around it and if there was the space you’d being going round it more than once per lap. The grassy course itself had more corners than a Muller yogurt factory and whilst warming up those bends proved to be quite a challenge, even in the dry, with absolutely no chance for carrying your speed through those corners. God only knows how slippery it would have been in the depths of winter.

      So I placed myself out of the way of most the racers towards the back and suddenly we were off. The pace was fast and furious and I quickly found myself drifting backwards, both from lack of fitness and riding my bouncy 13kg MBT (no lockout 🙁 ). With my aim being just to finish, this didn’t bother me, it was still good fun trying to work the twisty course as best I could. After about 25 mins the paced started to take its toll and that was when I started to corner a little less carefully, attempting to prune the hedges with my shoulders. The only advantage of my bouncy bike appeared to be through the (long jump) sand pit which was easy as pie, as long as I pushed my weight to the rear and allowed the front to float on the surface in the rough direction.
      My only complaint was that someone had forgotten their DIY materials and had carelessly left two 40cm planks right in the middle of the course. Everyone had to get off to run over them. Completely thoughtless if you ask me.

      I finished almost 44th /59 (Simon and Steve did brilliantly placing 24th and 26th) but had a whale of a time. It was harder than any other race in recent memory and I was absolutely knackered at the end of it (fell asleep on the sofa much to the disgust of my good lady wife). I think I also achieved a new HR max on my final lap too.
      Looking forward to CXing again, but less so on my MTB. N+1 anyone?

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      • #19233

        Simon Clarke
        Participant

        “more corners than a Muller yogurt factory” – Classic

    • #19223

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Cheers for the write-up Simon – captured the day nicely.
      After a bit of coaxing we managed to get Johnny Edwards out on his 26″ MTB today – I think he felt the cross love – even if he got home a bit later than expected.
      This was my earliest start to a CX season – the past 2 years it’s been in the middle of freezing, wet miserable winter.
      It was such a pleasant change to be racing in the sunshine today – and no mud to clean off the bike or myself!
      This year I’ve switched to tubeless tyres and they felt great!
      As I was starting my recce lap I realised my Garmin was out of battery – must’ve left it on when I unplugged it from the PC 🙁
      I popped back to the car to charge it up a bit and then headed out on a recce lap. Pootling around making mental notes that there were more corners than I could count I saw riders massing at the start – bugger!
      I picked up the bike and jumped over a couple of the bits of tape marking the course and hurried to the start – no time to get the Garmin from the car and started pretty much at the back of the field.
      Simon was ahead of the crash – Johnny and I were far enough behind it to see it and avoid it. One more incident shortly later when 2 riders played a game of chicken on a tight bend and both won/lost – ending in game over for one and some fruity language.

      With that over, Johnny and I settled into some twisty bits and then the first bit of straight I nipped ahead and wished him luck.
      I was quite amazed that by the end of that lap I’d caught up with Simon – I think he was waiting for me to get some team work going.
      One guy that ended up in a small game of to and fro behind us thought we were running some team tactics 🙂
      In reality I was just trying to go as fast as I could on the straights where I knew I could gain some time, and hang on for dear life on the twisty bits. After a few laps I was starting to enjoy the wider twisty bits where I was able to get the tyres digging in and pedal to keep the speed up. Only a few technical bits scuppered by flow – wrapping my bars in the tape by the sandpit – yes we had to ride through the long jump pit, fighting a hedge (actually did that every lap – I have a turning circle of a London bus) – and one foot unclipping griding through the sandpit. Hurdles right after a 180 degree bend were also hard to get right – but watching the experienced juniors later – they made it look easy!
      Laps doubled-back in so many places – it was fun to give Johnny and Simon some cheers as I rode past in the opposite direction.
      Also my first cross race where I avoided being lapped – bonus!
      Top top it all off – I ate a sandwich in Sandwich!
      Ace day out.

  • #19196

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    See the attachment for the dates of the East Kent races. Steve and I will travel down to Sandwich on Sunday for the first one. These are really good little grassroots races. I remember the Sandwich course having more turns than any other course ever!
    See also their twitter feed for details of the courses as they are planned:
    https://twitter.com/eastkentcx?lang=en-gb&ref_src=twsrc%5Eappleosx%7Ctwcamp%5Esafari%7Ctwgr%5Esearch

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    • #19212

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      I didn’t quite keep up with this one – busy week!
      Didn’t realise it was entry on BC website – was waiting for it on RiderHQ.
      I notice it’s closed – but I’ll get there for the 10:30 sign-on and enter on the day 🙂
      Johnny Edwards might be up for joining us too to give it a go.
      Anyone else fancy it?

  • #19193

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    Hi all
    I’m away this weekend then the 4up TT the following week.
    I hope I to start racing early October.
    Cheers
    Bill

  • #19176

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    London X League – Round One, Stanmer Park, Brighton
    Rob and I turned up at Stanmer in separate cars today as he was giving his brother a lift. We ended up with him parked on one side of me and Tim from Southborough (Steve R’s mate) on the other side. I also saw lots of folk today that I knew and hadn’t seen since last season – handshakes and smiles all round.
    The course had been tweaked to include couple of climbs and a little more zig-zagging through the trees. Grip on the grass was brilliant, in the trees the ground was dry and deep in fine dust – like cornering on flour and I found it a challenge to brake enough and keep the front wheel from washing out. A customary hard sprint to begin and then a bit of queuing through the windy bits for us in mid pack. Then fast racing with some great battles, one I lost and a few I won. I also had a sprint for the line which I only knew I was involved in as I heard somebody tearing up behind me. No time to look round just a quick stamp on the pedals to hold him off.
    Rob was looking really strong on the open ground where I could spot him hundreds of yards ahead, but (with me knowing) he punctured halfway through and had to change a wheel. So when he came in a minute or so after me I thought he had been going so well that he was about to lap me. No, but he had been going well enough to nearly catch me after his enforced pitstop – brilliant riding there, Rob.
    The results won’t be out for a few days as the organisers are getting to grips with a new timing system. It comes with snazzy numbers you attach to your seatpost and look very pro.
    My next race will be all the way down to Sandwich at a technical college where the course has about 400 corners (or something) and we use the long jump pit to add a little Belgian flavour.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
    • #19185

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      Sounds like a fun day out!
      I’ll be out next Sunday – any of our new crossers – Heato, Bill, Rich – joining us?

  • #19125

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant
  • #19123

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Hi There – Two things:
    I’ll be going out on the cross bike tomorrow evening (Thursday) for a little while. I’ll start at the G at seven and play on some local trails and put some efforts in. 60 to 90 minutes. A bit of play and bit of a tune up. If anybody wants to join me they are welcome.
    Secondly, I’ll be travelling to Brighton for the first race with space in the car as it currently stands. If anybody wants a lift to the race i can help out!

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
  • #19110

    Rob G
    Participant

    I’ve entered too. 🙂
    London X League
    The puch is available…

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Rob G.
    • #19112

      Simon Clarke
      Participant

      Hey Rob – only 93% shorter than the races you’re used to!

  • #19108

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    A quick note – I have entered the race next Sunday (3rd Sep) down at Stanmer Park near Brighton. Just an hour’s drive away. A course of mostly grass, with a stiff climb and then a descent through some wooded tight tracks until you’re spat out onto grassland again. Firm, non-muddy conditions pretty much guaranteed (that’s that jinxed, then).
    Happy to share lifts. I’ll be obstructing faster riders in the V40 race.
    Also got a couple of cross tyres for people to borrow if they need.
    Great to hear that a few more people are interested in racing. Remember – MTBs are welcome and any questions you have will be readily answered here.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
  • #19100

    Rich Wilson
    Participant

    Hey Rob,

    That’s well nice of you to offer. Looks like there might be a few people up for a go on your single speed. I assume you guys will say on here if you’re racing and I’ll come join you if I can.

    Ta,
    Rich

  • #19099

    Bill Fitzgerald
    Participant

    I want to give this a go this winter.
    Going to clean up the MTB and start honing some off road skills.
    I am my own worst enemy too, have started looking at CX bike prices LOL.

  • #19081

    Andy South
    Participant

    I’m in the same boat as Rich: would like to give it a go so just figuring out the cheapest/quickest way to put together some kit that would work for a first attempt.

    • #19082

      Steve Rodgers
      Keymaster

      As Rob said MTB is a good way to get into it.
      And you can get skinnier tyres for your MTB to help on the grass.
      Or if your winter bike has clearance it can work.

      I bought a cheap planet-x frame last year – which is pretty much their london road commuter/disk frame with some tweaks to make it more cx – but clearances are the same – up to around 40mm.

      The tyres I have available are 33mm or 35mm – there are 30mm jobs that are cheap to try out too:
      https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Tyres/SCHWALBE-Pro-700C-Cyclocross-Tyre/B01DABUZ96

  • #19079

    Rob G
    Participant

    Rich, I think you’ll struggle with clearance using CX tyres on a modern road bike, I suppose it might be possible.
    If you have one, quite a few riders use MTB with decent results.
    Also, I have a large size retro singlespeed kitted out for CX your welcome to borrow if you want.
    I have raced on it a few times with mid table kind of results. It has a tiny gear so you can muscle up the steep stuff but you have to spin like a madman downhill. It’s pretty good fun.

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    • #19091

      Simon Clarke
      Participant

      Ahh, the mighty Puch. It’s a fine weapon and many riders succeed on a single speed. If You are anything like fitting it I’d take Rob up on his offer. You’ll need mountain bike shoes with the little recessed spd cleats – there’s a bit of jumping off and on to be done.

  • #19077

    Rich Wilson
    Participant

    Nice one Steve. Any all-rounder clincher recommendations?

  • #19075

    Steve Rodgers
    Keymaster

    I’m in – finally got my tubless tyre+wheel combo working – hope to give it a spin at the weekend. Not on the hilly TT.
    Maybe bank holiday Monday.
    How about the Koksijde world cup – October 22nd?
    My mate Tim – cx Time from SDW – has been asking if we fancy going…
    http://www.veloclubkoksijde.be/worldcup/en/

    Rich – if you have the clearance and don’t mind the mess then it should be fine!
    Loads of pros (and regular punters) use rim-brakes as they’re easy to work with and generally lighter than discs – and do you really do that much braking when you go as fast as they do? 🙂
    Give it a go!

    • #19092

      Simon Clarke
      Participant

      Good shout on Koksijde. Rob, Claire (Watson), her dad and I went one year. It is really close to the tunnel has great racing with loads of sand and massive beer tents, big screens, etc. It’s also on the same time as one of the East Kent races – we could miss one of those for the opportunity to see the best riders in the world. A lot of the other really famous courses are way into Belgium – Zolder with its massive banks for instance. But could be combined with some cobbled climb hunting.

  • #19073

    Rich Wilson
    Participant

    Hi Mate,

    I’m interested in having a go this year. Could I just sling cyclocross tyres on my winter road bike and see what happens? It’s calliper brakes though, is not discing silly with all the mud?

    Just want the cheapest way to have a go.

    Cheers,
    Rich

  • #19071

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Just couldn’t get the link for the the London X league to work. Let’s try this:
    http://www.londonxleague.co.uk

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by  Simon Clarke.
  • #19069

    Simon Clarke
    Participant

    Cross is coming! The new cyclocross season is starting on September 3rd and Avanti riders will be out in (small) force. Details of the races held in SE London, Kent and Sussex can be found on the London CX League website:

    Home Page


    This shows the details for both the London League and the East Kent League. With East Kent races being smaller, more homespun style events and a little further to travel to. It’s worth noting that the London League has a £10 registration fee that covers your season’s timing chip. Both the London and east Kent leagues communicate through social media as well. Extra bits of information are available through their facebook and twitter accounts.
    Cyclocross racing is technical and intensely hard work for about an hour. It is also one of the most approachable, mutually supportive and fun forms of cycle sport that you can take part in. There are always kids’ races as part of the event and these are a really great way of getting youngsters to do a bit of cycle sport in a safe environment. You don’t have to have a cross bike – mountain bikes are acceptable and some people prefer them. In comparison to road racing the courses are slower and softer so crashes are less hazardous. And everybody is smiley. For older participants cross is one of the best excuses for acting like you are eight years old that you can possibly have. It is also insanely addictive.
    I aim to race as many times during the season as I can find space for. And I’ll use this forum thread to post up race reports and any organising that needs to done. Also if anybody has any questions about the sport, races, kit, etc. you can ask them here and me or other crossers will be along to comment.
    Of course cyclocross is massive in Belgium and it would be great to have a trip over there to watch one of their big races. I’ll have a think about a suitable race/date. 20,000 strong crowds strung out on beer, chips, mayonnaise and beer singing along to oompah-band-based-techno (really). Plus bike racing! Who’s in?
    Cyclocross racer/fan resources:
    https://www.cxmagazine.com/ – US based mag
    http://grit.cx/ – Yorkshire based mag
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUdAMlZtaV10bPzydGqn6pX7L9lEa5Cwp – Riding tips, etc
    http://www.cyclocrossable.co.uk/ – Pro racing videos for when you are on the trainer
    https://cyclesport.london/ – If you race you’ll meet John Mx. He has a website…
    http://cyclephotos.co.uk/ – Photo reportage of pro cross racing
    http://bikechannel.co.uk/whats-on/ – They show cross racing.

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