Sunday saw the final race in my cyclocross tour of Australia, 3 races over consecutive weekends. The most exciting part for me was that this race was the first organised by myself. I was super nervous about everything, but the day went off smoothly and everyone I spoke to had a ball - that's a win in my books.
A group of us got to the crit track early and started to setup the course while dodging the Saturday morning races. A few coffee breaks later and the course was set to go. The SRAM/ZIPP van arrived and popped up a tent filled with posh bikes & wheels.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast thunderstorms earlier in the week but they never came... what? So the course remained dry, flat and fast. These conditions still had their own challenges. Off-camber turns on the dry grass made it easy to get the back sideways and loose dirt in sections could wash a front wheel out if you weren't paying attention.
The course was set a little shorter for the kids, but because I forgot to go down to the start/finish and give a briefing, young Zoe ended up doing the full course. Despite this, she still placed 4th, what an effort! A mechanical saw SRAM swing into action and fix a broken chain to get Darcy back on the track to finish off the last lap. All the kids received SRAM/ZIPP prize packs, I even saw one young lad pimping out his bike using ALL the ZIPP stickers in the bag.
Surprisingly the Open category had the smallest field - has everyone upgraded their mountain bikes to cyclocross? However small, this race was made up by almost 50% female competitors, which was awesome. If this trend continues, we will run some woman's only skills sessions next year.
Andrew was asking for a picture of Pete going OTB, here it is.
Pete wasn't too fazed as he went on to win his race.
It was our biggest field of the day and where yours truly was entered. Time to cast aside the worries of organising and focus on the race. I knew heaps of people at the start line so this was going to be fun.
After seeing a few guys end up on their heads after failed bunny hop attempts I was cautious as I first approached the half height barriers. All went OK, unlike Andrew who dropped his chain twice, and had to work extra hard to regain lost places.
The difference between road and mountain bike riders showed in the different sections of the course. The long flats saw the road riders gain the advantage but this was lost through the twists and turns of the more technical sections.
It's not uncommon for competitors to dress up and put on a show for the crowd at cross races. We didn't have any on Saturday, instead we had Marty, doing his best Mario Cipollini style sexy man ride. As sexy as he was, he couldn't hold his place against a last second sprint from Imogen on the finish line.
There were 3 skittles coloured CruX in A grade, suddenly I didn't feel special anymore. The riders were on everything from the fully loaded Crux (below) to a steel frame single speed.
There was an ongoing battle for first between Matt and Josh, with Matt riding past the single speed to victory on the final straight. Proving that even in a small field there are no easy wins.
Obviously these guys were quick and skilled up and it was great to see this level of expertise from local riders. With talent this good we are sure to see cyclocross continue to grow in SEQ.
More race reports can be found here.
Links to pictures
There was even some video taken by Simon!
Volunteers and Sponsors
Putting together a Cyclocross race takes a lot of time and without a team it would never happen. I would like to thank Balmoral Cycling Club for hosting the race, providing the race commissaire Louise Jones and lots of advice for a first time race organiser. SRAM are worldwide supporters of Cyclocross and they provided prizes, barrier tape, mechanical assistance and bike porn. They really did make the event feel a lot more professional then I ever could have imagined.
A very big thanks go to the volunteers that helped setup and pull down the course. Simon, Mark, Marty and Scott were all at the grounds early (4 hours before the first race) banging in stakes and rolling out km's of barrier tape. Andrew Demack and Ernie Tye kept the crowed informed and amused on the microphone, by the end of the day the spiral of death had about 6 names. I also need to thank my wife who held in our first baby, days from due, to work the registration desk.
The crowed, especially the FoA crew, added to the party atmosphere by banging on cowbells, bike parts and kitchen implements and demanding riders pop wheelies.
|Courtesy of Nathan|
Cyclocross racing is fun, and when you get all the pieces together you get a day out you can't beat.
If you see your name in the top 3 for any category and gender and you missed presentations, drop me an e-mail and I will get your prize out to you.
What's next? Keep an eye on the blog for what could be a fun summer.