Monday, 16 June 2014

Round 2: California Dreamin'

Yesterday was one of those days that makes it all worthwhile.

Almost 150 riders joined us in mostly sunny and calm conditions to sample the second round of our burgeoning cyclocross series. The interim results should be available later this week, there will be a slight delay as a number of registrants opted not to write down their race number. 

The course was some 2.6 km long and took in the best features of California Park. A particular favourite of mine was the greasy hairpin around the tree at the south end, which by the end of the day necessitated staying well away from the brakes and embracing the art of the two wheel drift.

The C-grade field had a few kids who had opted to step up from the Kids' race. Even on an easy course this would be admirable, but on the selective parcours we'd set out it's damn impressive. Even with a relatively clean run, the course looked demanding. Troy Turner nabbed the win, ahead of Craig Anderson in 2nd and Rowan Cordwell in 3rd.

An enormous B-grade field lined up, with certain competitors making themselves inconspicuous on the start line for fear of being promoted to A-grade. The course spread the field out well, but there were still some severe bottlenecks. Local roadie hard man Brent Backhouse looked good for his debut, and we might have even gotten a smile out of him once it was all said and done. Kelvin Arthur took the win, up from 3rd the previous week, while Gary Moller grabbed 2nd, and the obviously virile Hugh Jorgen came in 3rd.

The Kids' race was not without its drama. Most seemed to have fun, but I was present to witness a brother/sister sprint where the sister just managed to edge out the brother, prompting the brother to throw his bike down in disgust and let his emotions flow. A poignant reminder that even on these seemingly innocuous and remote grassy slopes of Upper Hutt, a lot can hang in the balance.

The A-grade race was another good one. Brendon Sharratt cleared out like a cut cat from the beginning, and wouldn't be reeled in again. Meanwhile Alex Revell duked it out with young gun Simon Lawson, who was assisted through the technical sections by being on his mountain bike but unable to match Alex's finesse in the later stages of the race - with Alex securing 2nd place. Big T-Rex flapped about for half the race having his lunch cut by yours truly before he remembered how to lay down the power and motored his way up to 3rd place, passing Simon and the classy 'cross regular Ben Knight in the process. In the main field, Jon Barnes had stepped up from his post as a competitive B-grader. Unfortunately he encountered problems early on, but came back to put in a solid ride. With a couple more rounds following wheels in A-grade and learning the tricks of the trade, he'll be one to watch for sure. Also present, having thrown himself firmly in the deep end, was the good sort on the loaner bike from Biketec NZ - check out their website for this great service that they're offering.

We'd also like to extend our thanks to Cam Wood and the Barnes family for their assistance with timing, and to Dave Sharpe, Malcolm and the various others who helped us to pack down the gear.

We were stoked with the reception of this cool little series, which seems to be bringing a lot of smiles to a great many dials. A few choice photos appear below; there are plenty more on the Hüttcross page. Stay tuned for results, once we're done divining the identities of the various competitors.

See you all in a fortnight at Moonshine Park.


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