The NHRC Cycle-cross sponsored by Pedalon is a round of the Wessex Cyclo-cross. It is a fun competition for both novice and experienced cyclists, with numerous competitions across a multitude of disciplines. Anyone can join in
The club has been involved with cyclo cross since its forming way back in the mists of time, in more recent years the cyclo cross sport has evolved into a fast mass participation, well organised sport, where you can race cx as an individual and also as part of a team within the region and nationally.
The local wessex league is very well run and provides a varied race programme around the region. North Hampshire organise a round of the league in conjunction with Pedal On bike shop of Tadley, the areas premier bike shop, and the shop provide help and support to the NHRC cx team through team discount and technical back up along side there own race team.
WHAT IS Cycle-Cross ?
Cyclo-Cross is an off-road version of cycle racing with races held over several laps of a parkland circuit. Typically a circuit is 3km in length and will cover a variety of terrain including inclines, woodland trails, natural obstacles and corners. Man-made obstacles may also be added in the form of short boards which force the rider to dismount and then remount.
The Wessex Cyclo-Cross League-
The Wessex Cyclo-Cross League is a series of races organised by various cycling clubs within the Wessex Region.
The league is open to any cyclist irrespective of ability and caters for all ages from 7 to 70.
The cyclo-cross season runs from September to January and the Wessex League competition usually consists of 12 races with each race counting towards the overall league positions for individuals and clubs.
At the end of the season there is a presentation evening and awards are made in the various age categories for individual and team performances.
The Wessex region covers the area including Hampshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire and Wiltshire with races in Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Southampton and places in between.
How to take part-
First check the Event calendar for the date, location and race times of the League race you intend to ride in.
Get to the venue in plenty of time to allow for entry and signing on, getting changed and prepared, and then riding a couple of warm-up laps.
Entry for Wessex League Events is payable on the day (although some events allow online pre-entry).
Entry fees vary between events but is typically about £15 for adults, £6 for Under 16s, and £2 for Under 12s.
If you are not a British Cycling Member then you will also have to pay an additional day-licence levy of £3.00 as all races are run under British Cycling regulations. It is recommended you take out British Cycling membership which starts from £20.00 for Bronze membership. This will include the provisional licence which is sufficient to participate in local and league level cyclo-cross races. Membership includes many other benefits as described on their website.
Under 12s do not need a licence or have to pay a day-licence levy. Events for the Under 12s are organised as British Cycling Go-Cross Events. These events are either free or have a small entry charge of £1 or £2.
Most events also promote a Novice race for newcomers to the sport who are nervous about a one hour race in the senior event. The novice race is run just after the Youth start (so you ride around at the same time as the Youths) and complete a race of around 30 minutes. There is less pressure in this race so just come along, enter and have fun. A smaller field means less bumping and barging and a chance to race the course at your own pace. Novice races are usually organised as Go-Cross introductory events so no licence is needed to take part, and the entry fee is lower.
When you enter you will be given a race number which you attach to the back of your jersey.
Before each race starts there is usually a window of 25 to 30 minutes when the circuit is clear. This is the time to do a couple of laps to familiarise yourself with the circuit and check your bike is working correctly. This should also get your muscles warmed up and ready for the race.
Just before the race starts the seeded riders are called forward to start at the front of the race. Everyone else starts behind them. When the race commences the riders will usually start fast in order to get a good position on the first lap. As a beginner just hang back and try to stay with the main group, there is plenty of time to catch and overtake later.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
A cyclo-cross bike is similar to a road bike in appearance except the frame has wider clearance for fatter tyres, has cantilever or disc brakes, fitted with nobbly tyres for better grip, and has lower gear ratios.
Cyclo-cross bikes are also incredibly versatile.
You can also ride Mountain Bikes in the Wessex League races so riding your existing MTB is a good way of trying the sport out.