Photos Digby Shaw

It’s like Jonty says: one minute you’re just trying to go about your life, the next minute you’re plunged straight into hell.

Forget the catch cries of ’cross is coming. It’s here. And there is nothing your husk-filled lungs or jammy legs can do about it. The first round was about as good an introduction as one could hope for. New formats were rolled out (the ladies get their own race this year – go, ladies) and the course was quick and rideable – albeit in a contingent and rather taxing way.

Hüttcross 2017.1 finds Upper Hutt in the throes of bureaucratic microcrisis. What if the stop banks are damaged and the scars cannot be mitigated before the 1000 year flood hits? Edgecumbe happened, and we sure as shit don’t want that. And it was because there was some grass missing from the stop banks, right?

Or was it the dam?

In any case, there are some 150 people getting out and enjoying Upper Hutt’s recreation areas of a Sunday. Perhaps that’s worth something. Perhaps it calls for proof, rather than fear, before they’re shuffled on. Put on When the Levee Breaks and raise your glass. Time will tell and the world will turn on by. We’re outsiders anyway; perhaps that’s the way it’s meant to be.

It’s a vibrant and engaging sport, cyclocross. Find me another code where you can get in a gentle bit of argy-bargy, two wheel drift a flat corner, teeter on the precipice of prolapse and then sink a beer hand-up and I’ll fucking be there.

But for now, there are a couple of hundred people who sure seem to be glad it’s winter again.

Strap in, lovers. 2017 looks set to be a wild ride.