A tough day for all… The winter sun shone its hardest on the south facing slopes of Edgeside Park, but the snow and ice stuck stubbonly to the ground, as a total of 100 riders from the ages of 6 to 75 took to the Rossendale park in its first ever cyclocross race.
The races were generously supported by Wheelbase.co.uk, whose staff, riders and managers all mucked in to put together their team’s third cyclocross promotion.
The course was always going to be a slog on the slopes of Edgeside Park, but early plans to ease the gradient with a few stretches of recovery tarmac were terminated by the stubborn packed ice that has held to the valley sides since Tuesday. The resulting course was one of cyclocross’s toughest. The climbs were slow and painful, with regular dismounts. The descents were scant reward with pedalling needed all the way down almost all of the downhill stretches.
Stuart Reid (Wheelbase) spent the entire morning helping organiser and team mate Dave Haygarth mark out the course, but still had the energy to ride off the front of the race to win the event comfortably over yorkshire visitor Graham Briggs (Rapha) and Rob Pugh (FP Mailing). Despite the convincing win, Reid’s victory only became assured in the latter stages of the race, after he was forced to run half of the third lap of the race when some wire on the course tangled up and then snapped two spokes of his rear wheel.
The crisp snow on the course cruelly betrayed a soft under-soil and riders moved from ice to mud throughout the laps and rarely got the chance to spin out a pace much faster than a run.
Sue Clarke made the visit from Cumbria worthwhile by taking the first spot in the ladies, whilst fellow Cumbrian Jeff Standly was the first in the 60+ category. Mick Style was firs V40 whilst Lancaster’s Graham Kennerly took the V50 category.
Over a nasty lap with four forced dismounts, Jack Humphreys (Red Rose Olympic) proved strongest in a field of 14 riders. Becky Preece was the top girl finisher and Andrew Nickson was best U14 rider.
Under 12 race
In conditions that would test the best elite riders, 19 under 12s applied themselves to the snow, ice and mud of Edgeside park and every rider deserved a medal. Battling it out at the front were Alex Braybrooke (Eastlands Velo) and Fabian Brennan (Salt Ayre Cog Set), but when Brennan experienced a minor mechanical on the final lap, Braybrooke pushed forward and gave no second chance – taking the win by a good margin by the finish line. Top girl was Moira Davies (Eastland Velo)
Results from all events are here.