Another year of cyclocross racing is over and for those of us who love it, it feels like boxing day. The mass of race tape is our pile of wrapping paper, we have a gazebo to put away instead of a tree, all the other equipment needs packed away in a cupboard and we are definitely hungover. If today is boxing day for a CX enthusiast then yesterday was Christmas. The weather was fine, numbers were high, the course was great, AND we were based at a brewery!
The course took us right past the porch of Emerson’s brewery where spectators were able to have a beer and a bowl of chips while shouting encouragement. There were several dragstrips on the course, one on gravel, one on a bike path and one on a state highway but that certainly didn’t make it easy. There were some very tight corners, mud, puddles, gutters, off camber grass banks, barriers and stairs to give everyone a chance to show how their skills have come along.
An explosive start in the stadium carpark saw the pack strung out with Joel Anderson taking an early (but brief) lead. After getting through the first technical section the trio of Guy Carter, Paul Gough and Tom Kaminszky broke off the front and once Tom dropped off, the other two just slowly pulled away. In the final laps Paul tried to attack but to no avail with Guy showing his strength finishing in front. Tom punctured and lost a few places. Thomas Wood put in a solid performance to finish third ahead of Dave Hedley.
While most of the competitors never saw these guys again the nature of the course lent itself to mini battles all over the place. In the words of cyclocross icon Richard Woodward “It was a race within a race. Phil and I duked it out between the technical sections and the tail wind where he used his gears and I got spun out on my singlespeed. Back and forth it went down to the line. The visitor victorious.” This was a common thread in the post race discussions.
Erin Greene was the first female across the line, an awesome feat on a singlespeed. Merrin Brewster was the fastest on a CX bike showing her form from a recent trip to Europe!
All of the newcomers swore they’d be back and Chris O’Leary who showed up representing Emersons posted “I am completely buggered after racing but forgot how damn good it feels post race: the buzz people the buzz!” and he’s already talking about next year.
The prizegiving completed the formalities and then we were free to eat, drink and be merry. There are unconfirmed reports that members of the cyclocross crew were the last to leave and we reckon every race should finish at a pub.
The race was a fantastic culmination to a season that has been a huge success. Now we are off to nurse our hangovers clean our bikes and start dreaming about next season!