April 1st (no, it’s not a joke) and 2nd 2017 will see the start of the CrossduroWales17, a 295km race from North to South Wales. Organisers The Racing Collective say it’s a return to how bike racing should be… fast, wild and free.
What on earth is Crossduro? Is it anything like Adventure-Racing, Ultra-Cross, Grinduro, Gravel Enduro, Gnarmac or Gravel-Grinding? Sort of, yes. The Crossduro format takes the best elements of an MTB enduro, with bits from a cyclocross/gravel grinder style race and mixes them together to form a race that consists of 5 timed segments over the route that’s comprised of road, gravel, and the odd bike carry, with lots of time for socialising in the non-timed bits. The rider with the lowest aggregate time over the segments wins. Any bike is allowed but a cyclocross/adventurey bike with bigger than 30mm tyres would be ideal.
Timing is done via Strava, meaning there’s no need for timing chips and therefore no entry fees. And there are no prizes and no fuss, just honest racing alongside people who share a passion for adventure.
The Racing Collective see themselves as a new kind of bike club, dedicated to self-supported racing and hosting races for people who love wild places. They race from coast to coast across England, Wales, and Scotland, using two formats. The Trans races use any route from A to B via 4 virtual checkpoints (short Strava segments) like a budget version of the Transcontinental, and the first person to tweet a timestamped selfie at the finish wins. The new Crossduro uses an enduro format that entails riding from A to B using a defined route with 5 timed segments dotted along the way.
The TransEngland (250km), TransWales (350km), and TransScotland (550km) are all road races run on the first weekend of the month in May, June, and July. These races are designed to be training events for riders participating in races like The Transcontinental to test their self-sufficiency and nocturnal navigation skills. They are also open to riders who might not have the time or inclination to compete in something like the Transcontinental but want to get a flavour for what competing in such an event might be like. Just like those longer races there is absolutely no support provided on any of The Racing Collective’s events and each rider is entirely responsible for their actions from the moment someone shouts “Go”.
The inaugural Crossduro Wales starts on Sat 1 April 2017 at the YHA in Conwy and finishes on Sun 2 April at Bike Park Wales near Merthyr Tydfil. In between those two points there are 295 kilometres and 6,700m of ascent with more than 25% of the route being off-road. The five race segments add up to roughly 145km with 3900m of climbing, with the lowest aggregate time over those sections belonging to the winner. Although there are no prizes.
As this is the first year this grassroots event has been held it’s very much being treated as a test. Are people able to record such long segments? Is the route appropriate? Where do people get lost? The organisers appreciate that there might be teething problems in getting riders across most of Wales, and ask riders to come with an open mind and not get their chamois in a twist if something goes wrong.
The event on the day is essentially run by the participants, all The Racing Collective do is supply the bare bones, the rest is up to you. There is absolutely no support; each rider is responsible for themselves, the Collective itself carries no liability. You need to sort out your accommodation on the Saturday night, whether that’s finding a place to bivvy or booking a room somewhere, and you’ll need to source all your food for the weekend. How you deal with the finish being 300 kilometres from the start is your own logistical puzzle too. You are encouraged not to turn up at the start line if you are uneasy about any of this.
If you need a little more time to plan a Crossduro attempt then The Racing Collective are planning a CrossduroScotland on 4-5th August 2018 and a CrossduroEngland on 1-2nd September 2018.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.