Cyclocross racing in the dark made it's annual return to the Herne Hill Velodrome at the weekend when a field of 313 riders, many in fancy dress, turned out to battle it out at Muddy Hell for a prize pot worth £2700 and £1000 in cash. Jody Crawforth won the big prize beating British mountain biking, cyclocross and Three Peaks legend, Nick Craig in to second place.
Before the senior race though there was a whole programme of top racing to enjoy in other categories. First out at sunset were the under 12 riders who tackled a shortened course the still contained all of the special features added by the designer, Phil Glowinski including the TZG wall-ride, , an enormous scaffold bridge, tabletop and the 40cm high Knog double-hurdles. The action wasn't confined to the 'cross course either with the event is organised by Rollapaluza so roller racing action also featured in the bar tent.
Then it was the turn of the under 14 and under 16s to battle it out on the full course in front of hundreds of spectators, they were followed by the GoCross/Novice race by which time it was fully dark and the riders were required to spark up their compulsory lights to pick their way around the unlit back end of the course before hitting the floodlit main arena and those special features.
The vets, women and juniors raced together and this is when the spectators really began to witness the speed of experts in the discipline as well as some showboating from the best bike handlers with Anna Glowinsky being the only woman, in a record female field, to clear the tabletop. Mick Bell took the vets race, with Claire Beaumont of Condor cycles taking the ladies and Alec Briggs of Arctic Premier RT (guesting for Team Mule Bar Girl) taking the Juniors.
Finally it was time for the senior race and Craig and Crawforth quickly turned it into their own personal battle getting well clear of the rest of the field to the point where they able to indulge in getting some air for the crowd on the tabletop and the wall. Aferwards Nick Craig described the event as "one of the best cross races I've ridden, this is how 'cross should be."
Full results in all categories can be viewed here on Rollapaluza website
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.