It’s that time of year again, leaves have fallen, Christmas adverts are starting to appear and we’re right in the middle of Cyclocross season. Here at Hiplok, some of the team are hiding their bikes in the garage until next spring, whilst a couple of the team are trying cyclocross. We thought we’d better speak to Jack (Official Hiplok Cyclocross Convert) about how he got on and get his opinion on whether Cyclocross really is boss.
Where are you racing?
I have been racing in the Leicestershire Cyclocross League. It’s a relatively new series based as the name would suggest in Leicestershire. It consists of 6 races running from September through to January –https://www.ukcyclocrossevents.co.uk/cyclocross-leagues/leicestershire-cyclocross-league/. I have so far, taken part in the Brooksby round of the series, the course had some real tech areas, where you had steep descents into hairpins followed by even steeper ascents, as well some off-camber climbs and a few barriers thrown in. I’ll be racing Beaumont Park round on Sunday, no idea what the course will be like but as a novice everything is terrifying!
Is this your first time riding cross?
Yep, first timer this season. I’ve been meaning to give it a go for ages. The real catalyst was when Ben (the boss) announced he was giving it a go. I assumed that you’d need a BC licence to race but Ben confirmed you didn’t so I just Googled my nearest cross race and entered that day. It was surprisingly easy to find and enter.
What are you riding?
At the minute, I’m borrowing my Dads old steel framed Orbit CX. It’s a total relic with brakes that haven’t been fully functional since Gareth Southgate missed that penalty in Euro 96. It may seem like a hindrance riding on a museum piece, but I have been reliable informed by several men of a certain age (who weren’t racing mind) that it’s “all about your legs and your lungs lad”. Also, legend has it this bike use to belong to Dimension Data DS Roger Hammond (pretty sure it’s only legend though).
Tell us a bit about the race
From an enjoyment point of view, the race went very well. From an athletic point of view, not so good. I dropped my chain a few times, so I had a couple of frantic moments trying to get that back on. I didn’t fall off though, which one of the guys at the race pointed out meant I wasn’t going fast enough! I’m a massive convert, it’s an incredibly accessible form of cycle sport with events consisting of multiple races throughout the day for different ages, genders and abilities. Plus everyone likes messing about on obstacles in the mud.
Any tips for newcomers to cross?
Yes, learn how to dismount and remount smoothly, clipping in and out of your pedals. I lost a lot of time and momentum staring at my feet trying to clip in because I hadn’t bothered practising that motion beforehand which in hindsight was silly.
If you’re inspired by Jack’s cross prowess, find a local race here – https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/ and check out our RACE PACK – a bundle of great accessories to make your race-day a bit easier. It contains the Z LOK that Jack used to secure his bike temporarily before the race, and also secure his helmet to his bike, a Hiplok Key Clip to keep your Z LOK key safe and also includes the FLIP STAND. A great solution to keeping your bike safe when flipped to work on it.