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Sun, 14 Nov 2010
Another CX race in Canberra - 15:33
I went along again and I think this was an even better set up for CX racing than last time. I no longer have a CX bike at the moment as mine was stolen earlier in the year. However they were allowing other bikes to enter. Though I could have ridden a mountain bike I decided I should have drop bars so rocked up to race on my commuter, the 1984 steel Apollo single speed road bike with mud guards. There was a smaller turnout this year, partly due to clashing events and things on, a less CX friendly time of year, less promotion the week before the event (Canberrans have a bad habit of deciding what to do the day before it happens) and a few other reasons.
I feel sorry for everyone who missed out as this was one of the most fun races I have done in ages. The course was set up around the Narrabundah Velodrome (Simon N got the idea when he saw a velodrome used in a similar manner at a CX event in Illawarra earlier in the year) and it worked really well. Jump boards to do your running dismounts over littered around the course, using the oval in the middle of the velodrome, the track itself and the hilly surface around the back of it to make an interesting but not too technical (ie beginners would have no problems) course.
Racing started at 12pm and they had 4 races over the following hours, a novice event (to get the feel for the track or to try out CX for some), a single speed event (there were 6 of us competing in that one), a masters race (I could not do that obviously) and then the open race. So for the $10 entry fee (MTBA license covered my insurance) I was able to do 3 short hard fun races (the longest, open race at 6 laps was around 40 minutes). It was a completely different feel to mountain bike events and different skills helped even. Also the course could be seen almost entirely by spectators from almost everywhere. They had a bbq and beer for sale which was great, I was able to refresh myself with a Boags after each race.
A crew from Melbourne rocked up, they race dwell and shared their experiences from running their own CX race series. Sounds like they have a good local scene with 120 or so people at each round. They have a format where there is a pure cross race and a separate event for all other bikes. Thus mtb owners can race but not in the CX only event. All sorts of things could work, however I think this was a great event and hope like heck something can be done to get a series of 3 races or so (May, June, July maybe) next year at the velodrome. They are planning at least one event in June and I would strongly recommend attending, whether it be to watch with beer in hand and cheer or rattle cowbells at people racing, or to compete. Fun is almost guaranteed, Simon was even talking about trying to get some earth moving equipment to make the course more interesting (soft sand/mud pits, some rolling lumps like found on parts of a 4X track (though not jump sized) and other features.
Anyway I had a great time and would like to thank Simon, Simon and vikings for another excellent event.