Sunday, November 28, 2010

Anatomy Of A Cyclocross Corner

 Today the last race of the Kona Cyclocross series took place at Seaview Park Lookoff hosted by Cyclesmith under blue skies and moderate temperatures. My intention was to compete in the last race but a late night abiding in too much wine made me rather unmotivated this morning. Knowing I was playing goal later in the day I figured I would just cheer the racers on from the sideline.

  The course has quite a bit of climbing and descending with one particular steep(er) descent into a rising left hand corner. On hard pack trail or pavement it would be fast and quick after the singletrack descent.

Today the (formerly) grassy corner was greasy as the sun warmed up the turf and mud and carrying speed from the descent meant any sudden braking or change in line meant a loss of grip. Some guys took a high line.....

...and some racers took a low line......

It really was a case of determining the(proper)speed to best to navigate the corner knowing any attempt at adjusting your angle of approach or braking once in the corner could result in a fall.You also didn't want to drop too much speed knowing your would then lose momentum on the subsequent slight climb.Cross racing is all about carrying momentum especially in the mud or on grass. There was lots of tripoding and fishtailing as riders of all abilities negotiated the left hand turn as best they could with varying degrees of success.

Needless to say the corner still claimed quite a few victims today. Crashes certainly made for some interesting viewing as following riders had to factor in those who were either down or remounting into their approach and may well have had to take a path not chosen.

Cyclocross racing is pretty exciting stuff for both the spectators and the participants. Lots of action on relatively short track courses means both the fans and racers are actively engaged in the proceedings. My first season of cross racing saw me participate in the first three races and as a spectator for the last two. It sure would be nice to snag a second hand CX bike for next season as lugging my heavy hardtail up run-ups and over barriers wreaked havoc on my wonky back and neck. Never say never(wink).

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