Words Tom Lynskey. Photos Digby Shaw

Sunday saw the series tip its hat for 2017. A settled day broke over Wellington and gentle winds played down the valley. As the day wore on, the slow draw of clouds traded off into lavender pastels and an easiness built in the air.

The ground was soft, tacky even, but dry. A slight slip lay beneath the grass like winter’s lingering finish – a casual reminder she’d been there.

It felt like transition, but before long the switch will flip and rake us all back into its clutch. September ain’t out of the woods, and we ain’t out of August.

If a rider disliked an effort they would have been beside themself with the day’s parcours. The course engaged, but it was a straight up slog for most of the lap. The season lay like ballast in the legs, standing you up and urging you to just slow down – stop even – a wee break couldn’t hurt.

But inevitably the yoyo would thrust some rider through the corners and up your rangus and you’d have no choice but to sigh and drop the heels to churn along the earth just a little longer. Heat lay thick on the forehead and all around lethargy pressed down. How the hell do people do this for a living?

As the lavenders shaded off into cool blues and, inevitably, inky blacks it begged the question of what next. Some clown will float the idea of a summer CX series, and there would be a good case for quietly putting him in the sea and letting the crabbies deal with him.

For everyone else, the weekends will be filled one way or another. It’ll be interesting to see which way CX goes in 2018. While it’s gone from strength to strength, it’s hard to escape the feeling that its popularity might have peaked. A more diffuse calendar wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing – less volume and more variety. But those calls lie in the hands of organisers.

In the meantime glasses should be raised to the crews putting in the hard yards. It’s an exhausting and fairly thankless task, but without it the sport would simply fold into the mud to decay.

In the meantime, and with the HüttGord’s good graces, we’re out the other side and onto lighter and dustier things.

2017 was a good season.