Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Hüttcross 2014 Finale: The Wrap Üp

With misty eyes and heavy hearts, over a hundred people bid farewell to the 2014 Hüttcross series on Sunday.

Well maybe it didn't quite go down like that.

I think we speak on behalf of everyone when we say that was a tough round. It was the end of the season, and constitutions were disarrayed. Those who favoured the racing spirit over the celebrations had to confront the accumulated weight of a pretty decent season in the legs, and it only took one or two laps for the faces to begin to change. Our National Champ Brendon found after a few laps that the fight just wasn't in him. I think we can forgive him that.

But what a venue! Mud, glorious mud. Two bogs. One of them was off-camber and swallowed your leg right up to the shin. Running through yoghurt would have been easier! Plus it stunk like cow shit. The stop bank was also much bigger than Moonshine Park. If you didn't notice that straight away, you certainly knew after a few laps. And while the dry, fast areas might have signalled a chance for rest, they really just compelled you to keep the hammer down.  

It was definitely fun though. The weather gods smiled upon us once again, making 6 from 6. Quite a record for a winter sport. We had delicious coffee and food for sale, and there was no shortage of costumes. Kids frolicked and took turns at the jump that was set up near rego, and people came straight from their races to regale one another with fresh war stories. Having everyone hanging round throughout the day created a real nice atmosphere. 

Richard Hoskin won the feature spot prize. Bad luck to Rowan Cordwell, who was called first but was not present to collect. Richard will have a beautiful custom frame in his hands before he knows it. Speaking of which, Anders is having an open night at his workshop this Friday. Complimentary beer and a tour of the workshop sounds like a nice time to us. Head to 128 Nelson St, Petone this Friday, 29 August to check it out. 4-6 pm.

Your merry band of organisers is pretty chuffed to have put on a fun season of 'cross. Cheers to Lisa Hunkin and Matt Disney who provided a large rigger of frosty brew as thanks. We enjoyed that over an afternoon session discussing the future of the series.

You can help us on that, actually. We'd be interested to hear what you loved, what you hated and what you would have liked to see. Next year we want to hit the ground running and go grande. And who knows, maybe we'll finally crack that precious, impenetrable pool of road riders who seem to be deathly afraid of the mud. Nothing's impossible, you know. 

A final thanks to all the participants whose smiles and kind words validated our efforts. The finale had the precise atmosphere that we hoped for - true enthusiasts coming together to celebrate the end of a great season. We've got some loose plans for summer - think gravel grinder, not cyclocross - but anything we settle on will be announced well in advance. Keep your finger on the pulse.

Until then, have a delightful summer, lovers. Whether you're hanging the 'cross bike up in favour of a MTB, a roadie, a tourer, or not hanging it up at all, you have our blessing. In our weird little winter world, you are the colour and the shape. There's a special place for you in the collective heart, and we look forward to doing it all again next year.

Gentlest kisses,



Rad Photties from Mike Molony:

 From Jono Baddiley:

From Lisa Morgan:

And from Peter Barnes, Son of Jimmy, Who Begat Johnny:

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hüttcross 2014 Major Spot Prize

Alright, crossfiends. Damn, what a weekend, eh? Now it's time for some info.

Anders Waiker is Wellington's local frame craftsman. A regular attendee at the CX races over the years, he's been known in our circles for a while now. When the Hüttcross series was in its infancy, Anders approached us and said he would be willing to offer a custom built frame as a major spot prize. At this point we had no sponsors, no idea of the actual demand for an ongoing cyclocross series and no good reason to believe it was worth his while. But there you go.

Along the way we've kept the series pretty grass roots, so the ability to offer up a custom frame is a cool feature. We think it's appropriate, however. This isn't a series that has been carved off the marketing budget of some big bike brand - we cobbled together the gear we inherited from the Bike Hutt series, borrowed some more, and downloaded a free program to do the timing on. From the beginning we insisted that the entry fee be low. 

It's all been makeshift, but crafted with love. It's not a money maker, it's just a way to let people come together and celebrate a shared passion for this weird and wonderful code. We feel like a custom frame - something that will probably stay with the lucky recipient for a lifetime - is a fitting hat tip to the ethos. Happily, however, Anders' work is far from cobbled together.

Anders' website speaks for itself. His work is superb. Aside from the fact that you can provide each of the specifications for the build, you'll end up with a very carefully prepared bicycle. The quality of Anders' fillet brazing shows a meticulous attention to detail - no corners cut. The result will be a strong, stiff and comfortable frame that should last a very, very long time. 

We really want to thank Anders. Not for giving us a spot prize to tempt more people to attend, but for getting behind our outfit from the beginning and for sharing our vision. As a result, some lucky person will get one hell of a bike out of it.

The prize draw will follow the A grade race next weekend, Sunday August 24th. You must be present to collect. Each entry into a Hüttcross race equals an entry into the prize draw. The winner will be selected electronically, at random. Once the winner is identified, they will liaise with Anders to get their project underway, dependent on his schedule. The build will be subject to whatever materials he has available.

So we'll see you next Sunday, crosslovers. August 24th. One more week to sneak in some panic training and/or work on your costume. See the post below for a map indicating the location of the carpark, or plug Michigan Crescent into google maps to get directions. 

Warmest kisses for the working week ahead,



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Post-Nationals, Pre-Extravaganza

Good evening, lovers.

Your trusty scribe is back to breathe some warmth into the 'cross cockles and get you excited for our grand finale. But first, a brief on Nationals.

Wellington generally and Hüttcross specifically sent up a strong contingent to duke it out on a fast course in dry conditions. Of the 8 jerseys on offer, we came away with 5. Big congrats to Martine Barnes, Kim Hurst, Rob Kilvington, Ben Knight and Brendon Sharratt for their respective national titles.

As organisers of this fair series, we felt some vicarious pride in those titles. While the hard work that each rider put in spoke for itself, we were stoked that our series provided fertile training ground for 5 national champs and several more podium finishers.


Anyhow, Nationals aside, the best is yet to come.

Just as tuning out after the Road World Champs risks missing Il Lombardia, you'd do well to look forward to 24 August. We want to crack this baby open and encourage mass participation. We anticipate the biggest field yet. But we also want to encourage spectators, friends, lovers (of you lovers) and rogues alike.  

We're also excited to put the new venue through its paces. The event will reflect the good times you've grown accustomed to (however difficult they may be to extract at the time) and a celebration to thank you all for your participation. While we put our hands up to organise the 2014 series, you gave us a reason to do so. Your enthusiasm and kind words at each and every round validated that decision.

The location of the final round is a source of mild confusion. Some maps have it named Awa Kairangi, others have it named Ngati Tama. For the avoidance of doubt, I've prepared this very sophisticated map that is both sociologically and geographically accurate:

Which brings me roughly to the end of my spiel. But never fear, I'll be back at the weekend with the tap-tippy-tap of plastic keys and the unravelling thread to guide you into the queer abyss once more. 

Friday tomorrow, champs. Make it one to remember.

Big love,