Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

CityCross 2

Now for something completely different - CityCross 2.

All set inside the Piece Hall in Halifax, it was totally unique experience comprising a mostly cobbled/flagged, tight, twisty and punishing lap, with a little foray onto some small grassed sections (surprisingly muddy!). There was a 12 ton sandpit, bermed corners, flyover bridge, good food, beer and step climb onto the DJ stage, where said DJ seemed hell bent on blowing his smoke machine right in your face every lap!  Didn't really matter to me because I was blowing through my backside for the majority of the race!  It was intense - so intense it was difficult cast an eye sideways to smile and thank the abundant spectators, who all seemed to love seeing a struggling HCtB!

All this madness took part over a series of 20min Moto heats throughout the day and finals in the evening. The idea being to finish top 50% and progressed to the final.  However, everyone did get chance to race a second 'last chance saloon' race in a bid to make it to the final.  So basically everyone got at least two races if they wanted for the entry fee.  As an incentive the Final took to the covered walkways of the Piece Hall on two levels.  Must have been exciting.  Alas, due to family commitments, my race day was restricted to only one Moto.

Now, I don't know why but, after much Facebook discussion and chats over a pint or two during the build up to CityCross, I opted to give single speeding a go, and to race on 28c hybrid tyres.  This was based on a presumed mostly flat cobbled/flagged lap.  And we all know what they say about presumption don't we?  It being the mother of all @#*£$~<!

So here I am lined up as the only single speeder in my Moto, on a very wet - and now very muddy - day, on virtually smooth tyres in a remarkably slopey Piece Hall!  The prospect of a very hard race dawned on me.  This indeed was confirmed once Garmin uploaded to Strava indicated Points in Read = Suffer Score!  Basically couldn't have gone harder without dying!

For most of the first lap I managed to cling onto the back of the pack, before they eased away from me. The single speed aspect of my chosen whip was ok - darn hard but ok.  My tyre selection was where things started to fall apart somewhat.  Fair enough, the mud was muddy, but perhaps surprisingly, rear wheel traction wasn't as big an issue as I suspected, it was front wheel wash out on the tight turns that caused most head aches.  But I plodded on.

So last - yes dead last - in my Moto.  And it's been a good while since I came dead last I can tell you!  But as a fellow HCtB team mate commented, I was the first single speeder on slicks!  Yeah baby!

 Thanks to Emma Osenton for organising a fab event, and Jo Allen for the photos.

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