Having photographed CycloCross at PORC a couple of months ago I was eager to return to another race and take in the action (see Issue 3 of Different Perspective magazine below). As a triathlete I am drawn to try this genre of cycling to test myself and build fitness over winter having taken an intentional rest period after the Tri season. Not only is it off-road and away from cycle hating motorists but there is mud. Lots of mud. I am no expert but common sense dictates that this equates to a force preventing the wheels for rolling so subsequently increasing leg power with the bonus of improved technical ability.
Todays race would prove challenging not least because the UK has experienced one of the wettest Januarys on record. The race circuit had in places become a mud infested ice rink it was so slippery. To tackle the course would need supreme skill and strength and a desire to ride through bogs. I even heard of a few people deciding not to race having completed a one lap recce of the course.
Speaking with some of the racers it became obvious that tyre choice and pressure would be paramount to place in any of the races. The consensus from one of the guys at the pointy end of the race was to run handmade French tyres (I forget the name so if anyone can comment..) at 20 PSI for maximum grip. In addtion, those with aspirations of a podium place would need a competent pit crew and spare bike to alternate with on each lap. As the race unfolded I witnessed how true this was. The guys at the front had relatively unclogged bikes whilst those further bike had Lbs of mud stuck onto their machines. Brakes almost became obsolete the wheel rims were so caked in the brown stuff. Deralieurs hung off multiple bikes and I only hope they were bottom of the range models. I saw one racer with disk brakes and wondered how they performed but sadly I did not see him afterwards to chat to.
With so many competitors in shorts I was surprised to see no one wearing any compression wear. In triathlon it is very prevalent and as Cyclocross invloves an element of running, often in taxing mud I thought more people would take advantage of its benefits. If you are unfamiliar with how it can help you prevent muscle tears and aid recovery have a look at www.compressport.uk.com whose products are invaluable.
I have posted a selection of images below from the race with the remainder coming tomorrow. As ever, please share this post on social media or use this LINK to post with an autommatic link on Twitter
To view 20 more images please click below:-