As I write this, warm and cosy at my kitchen table on a work from home day, I’m listening to the rain increase its intensity just two metres away on the other side of my kitchen window. I hadn’t planned to write a Ride High Country blog post today, but the cold and wet conditions outside reminded me firstly of how useful windows are at keeping us warm, and secondly of the joys of winter cyclocross racing.
I’m not a mad CX competitor, mind you. The one CX race I’ve entered to date was at Mount Beauty on an old hardtail 26er mountain bike (converted to 700c wheels and drop bars). I entered Open rather than C grade, thinking that would net me a possible podium finish. My dreams were thwarted by two things:
- On lap 1, trying to keep up with the C graders who were on course at the same time, I crashed on a sketchy, leaf-strewn, rooty, off camber, downhill, u-turn corner and took a not inconsiderable amount of time to pick myself up and get going again. Later I learnt that this kind of corner is par for the course when it comes to High Country CX. It would have been nice to have known that earlier.
- The other entrants in Open were juniors. However, they were Bright juniors. Which, if you know anything about anything, means they were fit, fast, and could have been racing B grade.
Still, I completed the race and despite breaking my RH shifter and finishing fourth of five against the kids, I had a great day out. The best bit was probably the hour or so I spent later in the day on ‘my corner’, heckling as many riders as I could in A and B grade and secretly hoping at least one would crash like me. Nobody did.
Which brings me to this season.
Kicking off in a few weeks’ time with a Queens Birthday long weekend double header, the Victorian State CX Series is set to visit the High Country bike towns of Mount Beauty and Beechworth in 2022. Get involved! You don’t have to be at the pointy end of racing to have a good time. The series is designed to encourage participation alongside recognising individual rider achievement.
The Mount Beauty event, hosted by Team Mount Beauty, is round one and two of the series and will be held at the Big Hill Mountain Bike Park on Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12. The Beechworth round is hosted by the Beechworth Chain Gang and is scheduled for August 13-14.
Book some accommodation, get up to the High Country and enjoy some winter CX. And please look out for me when you’re racing. I’ll be the one at the back getting in your way.