Mud, swamps, streams, roots, run ups, slide downs – more than a few riders got well and truly “schooled” as Cycle World CX Race 2 came to Logan Park, Dunedin, on Sunday. Balmy temperatures of 17 degrees (!!!) gave the day an eerie feeling and the pre-race description of a course that was “on the edge of what is considered Cyclocross” came to pass…

With another huge field of 80 jostling for position from the gun, the congestion caused some decent carnage the first time through the mud slide and stream, over the rooty pass and down the dreaded descent back to the top fields. Those getting a good first run through were well set up, others were unclipped and patiently waiting their turn… With no real fast sections this week and a shorter, technical lap, the MTB speedsters took full advantage. James Williamson (SS) taking overall line honours with 8 laps in 49:08, and another stellar ride second week running for Jeremy Furlong (CX M2) the first CX rider in 50:01. Very tight racing in the top ten overall. Sprint action between 2 pairs – Ali Davidson (MTB) vs Shuttles Toomey (SS) and Guy Carter (CX Open) vs Paul Gough CX M3) – kept the finish line entertained and the timing ladies on high alert.

17 riders across the categories completed 8 laps. There were stories aplenty from this group, with many experiencing jostling, crashes, and gear failure in the melee. The same was true for the rest of the field. Hecklers corner this week resided at the bottom of the rooty descent. As the laps progressed the exit point bogged up and the risk of end-o’s increased. Ahhh, many came to grief here. Matt Boivin became one with nature (thank you to wife Megan for capturing the moment) and I can report that the comments greeting my demise were not entirely accurate – the mud may have been soft but the handlebar punch to the ribs was not!  There will be some battered bodies, kit, and bikes this morning from hits on the tarseal too – the tight, twisty school section claimed several casualties.

While many were racing hard on the limit, many more were there to challenge themselves and get out of the comfort zone. Reports from first time and novice CX riders were fantastic – such an achievement as this was a tough course. Delwyn, and everyone out there giving it a go, kudos! It was great to see riders adhering to the race briefing request of “not being a dick”, and lending a helping hand to others – like Merrin helping a younger rider and bike up the steep run up. This inclusive race culture is why the numbers continue to grow.

It takes an army to run a good CX race. Logan Park High School – you rock. The course designers (OK they are a little bit evil) and set up / break down crew – we salute you. And how good are those timing ladies?!!! The Queens of multi-tasking. Seamless sign in, race admin, timing, keeping Ezra safe, and offering encouragement to the riders. Amazing photography services from Jemma Wells and others on course – this is such a vital part of creating a great event. And to Emersons as always, your support is amazing.

For race 3 on June 25th we return to the Dunedin “home of CX” – Whare Flat, Waiora Scout Camp. This is where it all started folks. We promise plenty of mud, plenty of technical, and highly likely to be plenty cold! See you all there – don’t forget to pre-register online.

Written by Paula Hasler 12/06/2017