This Saturday a UCI World Cup Cyclocross competition will be held in Milton Keynes and it will be the first event of its kind ever to come outside of mainland Europe.
Hugely popular in Belgium, cyclocross has been gathering more and more steam in the UK in recent years, and on Saturday 29th November we’ll be treated to a performance from international riders.
A cyclocross race is typically around 60 minutes long, and riders compete on bikes that look like road bikes, attacking mud, sand, gravel, grass, and occasionally a little bit of tarmac. Obstacles are placed in their path, meaning they need to bunny hop over them, or artfully jump off the bike, and back on.
Races take place over laps, that can be around 10 minutes long, so if you position yourself in a spot where they’ll double back on themselves, you get to see the action 10 times over or more. Since the field often spreads out, all this makes CX a very spectator friendly sport.
The event village
An International event such as this, sponsored by Shimano and other major brands, brings with it plenty of food and drinks stands – and there’s usually some cheesy music on at all times – it would be hard not to have a ball at a ‘cross race.
The event village will have stands with plenty of goodies for a cycling fan to fall in love with – and Radial, Madison (Garmin, GoPro, Shimano..), Trek, Ridley, Felt, Kinesis, Lapierre and Raleigh are all on the event village ‘stands to visit’ list.
Paul Beales, the man behind organising the spectator village, has said: “[The Expo will be] right opposite the start/finish straight so spectators will have plenty of things to keep them occupied between the races. [This event] will be a first and [we] should give the travelling supporters something completely new and different… we have some fantastic brands showcasing over the weekend.”
He added: “There will be freebies everywhere but I will leave it up to the spectators to go hunting for treasure throughout the weekend.”
Riders to watch, where and when
This weekends event will feature some top female riders – Nikki Harris, Helen Wyman and Gabby Day – and British women have been high in the international rankings over the last 3 years. Also competing will be US champ, Katy Compton, who is currently second in the World Cup standings, and Sanne Cant, who won the last round in Belgium.
Britain is sending 8 elite men to the event – including three-time British Champ Ian Field.
The course for the event, in Campbell Park, looks to have plenty of interesting hairpin turns and a few spots where you will be able to see the action from both sides.
The elite womens race will begin at 12.30, and the mens at 2pm:
From central London to Milton Keynes, it’s a 55 mile drive, via the M1, or you can get a train from London Bridge via London Euston, which takes about 1 hour 10 – 1 hour 20 to get to Milton Keynes central – so it’s a fair journey, but not a huge ask for the celebrations available at the other end.
Tickets are £10 for adults, and free for under 12s and you can find all the info you need here: http://www.miltonkeynesworldcupx.com
Author Michelle Arthurs Brennan went to see the last round in Belgium last weekend – read her report and check out the pics.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.