Riders queue up to tackle snowbound courses

The national championships might have fallen foul of the weather this weekend, but Cyclocross racers are a hardy bunch and have turned out in force over the last few days.

Nearly 200 racers turned out on a glorious midwinter day to race in Todmorden's Centre Vale Park. They ranged in age from five to over-50 and came to compete in the final round of the Yorkshire Cyclocross Points Series.

And more than 150 riders battled their way through snow and ice to take part in Round 11 of the Notts & Derby Cyclo Cross League at Thornbridge Outdoors near Bakewell. The course was set out in open fields and areas of woodland, sections of off-camber single track, a flight of uneven steps and some challenging descents made more demanding by the sudden fall of heavy snow.

In Tormorden, which has seen some of the heaviest snowfalls in the UK, the much-feared cobbled section that runs up through the woods had to be left out this year due to the amount of ice on both the climb and descent but the rejigged course still had plenty of opportunity for riders to test their skills.

Sadly, anyone fancying the annual winter swim in Tormorden would've been disappointed as it was cancelled, but at least the Tordmorden Brass Band was on hand to provide the soundtrack for a two-wheeled display of northern grit.

The big drama was in the senior race as some of the nation's top racers whizzed round the park with apparent nonchalance, despite the frozen ground. Last year's winner, Ian Bibby returned for a hard fought battle with top junior racer Dan McLay. Bibby eventually broke away, but Dan's obviously someone to watch in future.

In Matlock, part of the event was held in a blizzard but rather than cancel, organisers simply shortened the race.