It’s always good to get out on a bright Autumn day.
I love this time of year as the Summer turns to Autumn, the leaves begin to turn some of the most amazing colours and winter gradually gets its claws into the land as the frosty mornings start cold and bright. However if I’m really honest I hate the cold dark dank days that also come in late autumn and winter. However on the bright side it is a great time to get out and play in the mud!
As many a great explorer has said “there is no such thing as bad weather just poor preparation” actually I’m not really sure who said that maybe not Scott! But seriously you can ride in any weather if you are wearing the correct clothing or have some of the top tips below to keep feet and hands warm.
So do not be afraid of the weather hug it tight and be a conquering hero of Autumn and Winter riding.
I noticed just this last week that the number of CX Sportives is on the increase and a quick trawl through the events list suggests that they are very popular in the South, come on you guys in the North make sure your events are publicised.
I rode my very first CX Sportive this year, the amazing Adventure X event based around Keswick. What an experience it was, don’t forget to read my review of the event elsewhere on this website.
So if you fancy trying a little bit of cyclocross but don’t have a CX bike, well don’t worry most events are open to wide range of bikes, pretty much anything will do, except perhaps your pride and joy the full carbon road bike!
From my experience riders will turn up on any bike from a full carbon CX bike, hardtail MTB, Full suspension MTB to a flat bar hybrid. The only thing I would recommend is that you check the ride profile and make sure you have a suitable range of gears for the event unless you are riding single speed! I got caught out on the Mini Monster Adventure X in Keswick.
CX Sportive (www.cxsportive.com) has several good rides available this season:
CX Sportives are the fantastic new mixed surface events that are combining the thrills of on and off-road riding into one awesome experience!
•Sportive style events on fast, mixed surface courses
•Courses from 40-80km
•Full sportive support and infrastructure
•Great for all kinds of bikes: CX, MTB, Hybrid, 29er, Singlespeed & even Road!*
Riding a mix of road and off road is so exhilarating.
Big challenge rides tend to come in two flavours; massive road sportives and hardcore MTB enduros. But why not mix it up, take on the best of both and spice up your riding?
CX Sportive is an exciting new ride format. It’s ideal for your cross bike, but equally suitable for your XC MTB or even road winter training bike, tweaked for a little rough stuff!* The course mixes back roads, interwoven with byways and a few short tougher off road links that will certainly bring on the heat!
Your choice of steed will define your ride. Will the versatility of a MTB offer the best performance over mixed terrain? Will the pure speed of your road bike make up for time lost on the short, occasional off road dismounts? Or will the CX bike give you the best return where it counts?
To prove a point (or just let you fly the flag for your tribe), they even include your bike choice in your results listing; so if you insist on tackling the route on your mum’s folding shopper, they’ll credit your lunacy!**
You’ll have a range of time targets to aim for, with age and gender adjustments; including full route marking, RFID timing, top notch catering and first class, friendly organisation and support.
*Not recommended for your beloved, super-light carbon road thoroughbred!
**Disclaimer: Don’t tackle the route on your mum’s folding shopper!
Ride X the Evan CX rides
The bike supermarket that is Evans have also added CX Sportives to their list of Ride It events this year. They might well be worth checking out if you live in the South (Evans Ride it CX Sportives).
For the Autumn/Winter season they’ve added 4 exciting mixed terrain routes to their existing Sportive offering. As with all of their road sportives, all routes will be fully way-marked with GPX files published pre-event. High5 sponsored feed stations will help you tackle a variety of riding surfaces (tarmac, mud, grass & more!) whilst clocking up some worthy mileage in this new format. The routes are best suited to cyclocross and adventure-road bikes that are up to some off-road exploring.
All rides include: Fully way-marked routes • Well stocked High5 feed stations • Mechanical support • GPS files published pre-event • Free High5 pack worth £10 when you sign up 8 weeks in advance • Free Garmin hire • Times published post-event
Cycling Weekly Adventure X Series
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for next years Adventure X series promoted and run by Cycling Weekly with the support of changing sponsors. The event I rode in October was amazing, one of the best challenges I have have ever taken part in (more details can be found in my report on Adventure X Lakeland Monster Miles)
With so much going on on the cyclocross sportive scene surely it must be time for you to ditch the winter rode bike and get yourself a CX bike and rise to the challenge. I did and I haven’t looked back :)
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Cycling Shorts turns Paparazzi at the Revolution.
Words by Anna Magrath, Images by John Allen
The crowds started spilling in to the velodrome, and with just 15 minutes to go the velodrome was packed. A really excellent turnout for the first Revolution of the new year and, considering there was another major cycling event taking place on the same weekend [British Cyclo-Cross Championships], it was great to see a sell out crowd.
Tonight we’d see the Revolution debut of Luke Rowe in his new Team Sky colours and a tantalising tandem omnium between GB and the Netherlands, I think I recall a distant memory of tandems competing within a Revolution, but if it happened it was a long time ago…. it was going to be great to see them in action.
There was a slight hitch in the proceedings for Cunga as they were missing all three of their élite riders, so the pressure was on their Future Stars riders. It just so happens they have the current DHL Girls leader Emily Kay and strong riders like Adam Lewis and Emily Nelson in their ranks, but it was a tough evening for the team in their half empty pen.
Heading into the 35th Revolution the overall standings were led by Team UK Youth with 370 points followed by Maxgear racing on 341.
The yellow jerseys in the DHL Future Stars Championships were still being held by Emily Kay and Jake Ragan, Emily will win the championship now by a huge margin, she’s won every race of the season, lets see what treats tonight holds in store…
The first race of the evening was the Elite 10km Scratch Race, spread out over 40 laps of the track the riders got off to a fast but evenly paced start Luke Rowe went off the front of the pack to test everyone and was joined by a Team UK Youth rider for a while, but both decided not to persist and rejoined the peloton. With 1km to go Luke put in another attack, this time with Jon Mould of Howies, this looked more promising, but in the end Jon couldn’t match the pace so Luke was left on his own.He took victory in 11:46.581 soaking up championship points, with Marcel Kalz of CHEP rolling in in second place and Russ Downing taking 3rd for Howies.
Luc Hall And Chris Lowsley Williams of Maxgear Racing - ©Copyright John Allen/Cycling Shorts.
In the DHL boys competition there was a lot to play for. Ollie Wood was snapping at the heels of Jake Ragan in the overall standings, Ollie with 122 points and Jake on 143. Ollie showed throughout the evening that he had no intention of letting Jake out of his sight! In the DHL 5km boys Scratch race Jake led out towards the finish line but Ollie pushed on. Ollie came over the line first in 6:05.144 with Jake having to settle for 2nd and Owen James 3rd. It was a fast paced race from the start, everyone was eager to make an impression early on.
In the boys elimination scratch race Oliver Wood was the last to be eliminated witch was costly. It left Ragan and Chris Lawless to fight it out for 1st and 2nd respectively. Maybe Ollie pushed too hard in the earlier race, but elimination races are tough.
Adam Lewis got the boys points race off to a good start taking 5 points in the first sprint, Jake Ragan looked attentive to all the moves but got caught out and Chris Lawless, Owen James and Gabriel Cullaigh got away and tried to take a lap, in the end that was the order they came in with Jacob Scott taking 4th thanks to his early scoring.
All in all a very exciting night for the boys. The points have been shared around a bit and the fight will be on at the last Revolution for the championship podium. Jacob Scott and Ollie Wood are tied on 184 and Jake Ragan has 218, Chris Lawless is on 167.
Tandem Sprint Omnium
The tandem Sprint omnium got underway with the sprint flying lap. Four teams took part, two GB and two Netherlands.
Representing GB were Barney Storey & Neil Fachie and the punchy Craig MacLean with Anthony Kappes. The Dutch teams consisted of Patrick Bos & Rinne Oost and Yorick Bos & Bonnhof. The dutch riders finished in 13.535 (P Bos/Oost) and 13.898 (Y Bos/Bonnhof), but with the GB pairing of Storey & Fachie knocking nearly half a second of that time it was obvious that Maclean and Kappes who were the final pair on the track were going to grit their teeth and try to power round, and they didn’t disappoint. They came in over a second faster than the slowest pairing at 12.830 averaging 70kmph. A great start to the proceedings.
Match 1 – Both the British teams won their races against the Dutch Rabobank riders, Storey and Fachie being the fastest in 10.644.
Patrick Bos & Rinne Oost -Tandem Sprint - Revolution 35 - ©Copyright John Allen/Cycling Shorts.
Match 2 – In the second of the omnium matches we saw the GB teams up against each other – Maclean and Kappes took the win over Storey and Fachie. In the Dutch battle Patrick Bos and Oost beat their fellow countrymen.
Match 3 – Maclean & Kappes beat Patrick Bos & Oost, while Yorick Bos & Bonnhof jump Storey & Fachie but the GB team take the long way round and it pays off. The overall winners of the Tandem Sprint omnium were Craig Maclean and Anthony Kappes.
Ronnie O'Sullivan - Image ©Copyright John Allen @Cycling Shorts.
John who was with me on photography duty had been A.W.O.L. for about half an hour and turned up camera in hand, “I’ve just papped Ronnie O’Sullivan” I looked at him puzzled since I thought he’d been in the team enclosure snapping away, I didn’t think he’d quite make it down to the Crucible or the nearest snooker hall and back, but I remembered that earlier I’d told him of the delights of the Dutch pancake stand so it was feasible he’d taken a detour of some sort and got lost, after all we had just spent the past hour being teased and tormented by the visual and aromatic feast laid on for the VIP’s, their 3 course meal always gets delivered and served from the edge of the media enclosure (I’m convinced it’s done deliberately to torment us with our packed lunch style nibbles). I certainly didn’t recall Ronnie being a cyclist or a fan. “Erm… Are you sure?” I said, “Well I think so, he was a long way off but this character with a cap on caught my eye. At first glance I thought it was Dean Downing watching his brother on the track.” (this did seem a more logical conclusion). I looked up and there was Ronnie, talking to Steve Peters of Team Sky under the scoreboard! So dear readers that is Cycling Shorts first ever paparazzi moment, it will probably be the last. So thank you John!
Emily Kay & DHL Future Stars Girls - ©Copyright John Allen/CyclingShorts.
Meanwhile back on the track…
DHL Future Stars Girls Points Race 5km
The girls competition was a lot more divided than the boys, everyone was chasing Emily Kay and throughout the evening she knew she wouldn’t have allies in the peloton or in a break away but she never let that bother her, she knows when to conserve her energy and she has a strong sprint ready when she needs it, Emily is always very focused cool and calm.
The rest of the top girls were bunched quite tightly together in the championship points so 2nd place is where the competition will be.
In the points race Emily let a few points slip, Rebecca Hunt pushed for a well deserved 5 points on the 3rd sprint of the race but Emily charged back for the finishing sprint to the line. Emily 1st with 18 points, Rebecca Hunt 2nd with 8 points and Ellie Coster 3rd with 6.
In the girls scratch race Melissa Lowther left the pack early on and managed to stay away, but with just 6 laps to go they were all back together and Emily Kay pipped Ellie Coster, Rebecca Hunt and Megan Boyd to the post.
You may be tired of my repeating her name but you don’t get tired of watching her. In the girls Elimination race Kay does it again with an amazingly fast finish over Rebecca Hunt, Emily Haycox takes 3rd.
By the end of the evening Emily’s domination was obvious, she could have been on a different scoreboard. There wasn’t much separating Megan Boyd, Rebecca Hunt, Melissa Lowther and Ellie Coster, but Emily has 78 points over her nearest rival Ellie Coster. All the girls at the top of the rankings have great strength and talent and obviously have great futures ahead of them but the fight is on for the 2nd & 3rd Championship positions now.
Elite Riders Elimination Race - Revolution 35 - ©Copyright John Allen @ Cycling Shorts.
Elite 1km Madison Time Trial
The Madison was one team short (Cunga) so the remaining seven teams fought it out. All eyes were on former Madison Champion Luke Rowe with partner Andreas Muller for Sky but the CHEP UK pairing of Jon Dibben and Marcel Kalz came in with a blistering 58.422 pushing Sky into 2nd with 58.537.
Elite Team Elimination
Rapha and Maxgear Racing fought it out for the crown. It was quite an edgy race with a number of teams struggling with riders bunched at the back of the peloton dangling in the danger zone. Maxgear pushed hard and true to their name maxed a rider out in order to get the other two over the line in first place. There was quite a gap between them and the first Rapha rider across the line.
In the Australian pursuit Chris Opie of Team UK Youth put in a sterling effort from the gun but Luke Rowe fought back and took the win over Robert Bengsch and Chris Opie who started to fade towards the end got 3rd.
Points race 15km
With 6 laps to go Jon Mould of Howies was leading on 15 points with Luke Rowe on 10. Jon added to his lead and won with 25 points over Luke’s 20 after the two of them lapped the field, Marcel Kalz (CHEP) got 3rd with 8 points.
I spoke to professional cyclist and Cycling Shorts writer Tom “Minty” Murray to get his thoughts on the evening, “The atmosphere is always great at the Revolution but tonight seemed a level up, maybe it was the added excitment of those tandems, they had me on my feet watching anyway!”
“My focus now is firmly on the up coming road season, I haven’t done as much track this winter, tonight was my first time on the track since the October Revolution so as to focus more time on getting ready for the road for 2012. Next up I am away for two important training camps with the rest of the IG-Sigmasport team and away to Italy in February”.
At the end of the evening I caught up with Revolution favourite Christian Grasmann who rides on the Revolution Maxgear team and played a major role in their success during the evening particularly in the Team Elimination win where his skill and experience shone through. Maxgear are now leading the Series Championship.
Revolution 35 - Maxgear Racing lead the Championship - ©Copyright John Allen @Cycling Shorts.
Cycling Shorts: How did it go?
Christian: I really enjoyed myself tonight I love racing in the Revs. I’ve done it a lot over the years and I’m always amazed at how great cycling is doing in the UK, the hard work that’s put in by the Revolution organisers and by Team GB.
CS: How is cycling doing in Germany as a sport?
Christian: We are so far a way from this level in Germany – and I’m dreaming that this same feeling will come back to German cycling, it would be nice for both countries interest in the sport to be at the same level in public popularity at the same time. So that’s my aim to help bring this same experience to German cycling while also racing well myself. I’d like to continue to do the Revolutions in the coming years. My team Rudy Project Racing Team is now in it’s 3rd year. I try to bring the same style and experience to the spectators and supporters that the British have, but we still have a way to go!
CS: You must be pleased with the team tonight…
Christian: My Revolution team Maxgear and I could now win the overall championship so it was a great race day for us. The youngsters did a super job. For me. Revolution and racing in the UK is the biggest motivation and a reason why I love this sport so much.
Dont’ forget the Revolution highlights are on ITV4 at 7pm on Monday 9th Jan 2012
For more information on the Revolution Series and to book tickets please click here.
10km Scratch Race – Luke Rowe Team Sky
DHL Future Stars 5km Scratch Race – Boys – Ollie Wood
Revolution Tandem Sprint Omnium Round 1 – flying lap – GB Maclean & Kappes 12.830
DHL Future Stars Points Race – Girls – Emily Kay Cunga Bikes
1km Madison Time Trial – CHEP UK
DHL Future Stars Elimination – Boys – Jake Ragan Maxgear Racing
Revolution Tandem Sprint Round 2 – Match 1 – Heat 1 GB Storey & Fachie 10.644 Heat 2 NED P Bos & Oost 11.497
Team Elimination – Maxgear Racing
DHL Future Stars Scratch Race – Girls – Emily Kay
Revolution Tandem Sprint Round 2 – Match 2 – Heat 1 GB Maclean & Kappes 11.136 Heat 2 P Bos & Oost 11.211
Australian Pursuit – Luke Rowe Team Sky
DHL Future Stars Points Race – Boys – Chris Lawless Maxgear Racing
Revolution Tandem Sprint Round 2 – Match 3 – Heat 1 GB Storey/Fachie 11.683 Heat 2 GB Maclean/Kappes 11.293
Points Race – Jon Mould Howies
DHL Future Stars Elimination – Girls – Emily Kay
Revolution Tandem Sprint Round 3 – Team Sprint – GB 33.328
Overall Points Leaders after three rounds:
Team Championship Leaders – Maxgear Racing
Future Stars Girls – Emily Kay
Future Stars Boys – Jake Ragan
For full results of the 35th Revolution download the pdf here.