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Super Cross Finale
The final round of the Rapha Super Cross series takes place this Sunday at Alexandra Palace. Beginning at midday, there are children's races, a novice event, a mass start race of 140 screaming adults; and of course the elite race which is shaping up to be a battle between Hope Factory Racing And Scott UK. Look out for local team Vicious Velo in their punk-inspired skinsuits as well as a festival of food, beer, music and partying in the Autumn sunshine.
The mud came thick and fast at Saturday’s Super Cross event in Windermere. Scattered with slippery roots and technical climbs, we hammered on.
In my easiest gear, clogged with grass and caked with quickly drying clay, my borrowed bike spun out and sunk deep into the ruddy bogs. But my legs kept churning around, slowly slowly creeping out of the swamp. I just didn’t want to get hurt. I wanted to stay upright and finish the race.
It’s a learning experience. It’ll help with the MTB skills. It’ll be a decent workout. But Ahart, just don’t crash. Don’t fly headfirst into a tree. Please don’t shed any blood. You have a dinner to go to tonight.
My gut reaction was to avoid the mud, find a better line; but good lines quickly devolved into soupy mess as the race pursued. The first 15 minutes disappeared. My senses sharpened by the metallic ringing of twigs caught in my spokes, merged with the banging of cowbells and cheering children.
Wheelie! Wheelie! WHEELIE! WHAAAHHEEEEEE!!
Much to their delight, the guy in front of me artfully jumped the barrier, leaving them with somewhat resolute disappointment at my feeble attempts at a dismount.
It’s okay! Keep it up! You’re doing really well!
I couldn’t believe I was being consoled by 12 year olds… those kids could probably school me on this course with their mini bikes and mini gears. Usually plagued by the language of a drunken sailor, I tried to curse but realized my mouth was actually laughing.
Saturday at 12:59 I wasn’t a cross racer. By 1:15, I was. Law of physics, these things just happen apparently. I was happy. I was racing and I was happy. Maybe I didn’t push myself hard enough, but it really didn’t matter.
The festival-like atmosphere of the race left me in a hazy high. All the cheering and laughter seemed more like a village fete than a bike race. Where were the tears? Where were the broken collarbones? Where were the angry curses at the finish line? Surely this was not the same sport. People hugged each other in muddy embraces and laughed over plastic pints of beer soiled with fizzing clots of manure.
As the winter creeps in and the leafs get stuck in our wheels, the other shoe drops. And this time, it’s covered in mud.
Only 10 places left in the novice race at Rapha Super Cross on Sunday if anyone else wants to give it a go. Register here »
"Rapha Super Cross Series is a game changer for the world of UK cyclocross… For London cross fans, you have a week to wait but something special is coming your way and you'll love it."
"Rapha Super Cross was something just a bit more important than it seemed… But now we have grown to something big news. The racing today was just another step on."
"125 is the total number of Under 16’s which is more than you get at National Trophy events. 88 U12’s is unheard of – National level stuff gets 60ish usually (figures from the BC Commissaire at Huddersfield, Pete Sutton)."
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