Brighton Excelsior and VC Jubilee kick off each regional cyclocross [CX] season with a racing programme at Stanmer Park. Once again it was a huge success in 2016. This comes at a time when cyclocross participation is at an all time high in the club and our Tuesday night sessions at Water Hall Rugby Club are going from strength to strength.
We asked some of our riders about the Stanmer event and CX in general. We had contributions from Lawrence Coyle, Steve Kane, Connor Murphy, Jez Parsons and Tony Salmon. Many thanks to Rob Paynter for sharing the pictures – there are more in our CX Gallery.
What did you like about the Stanmer park CX event and how did you get on?
I loved the dry dusty conditions and the tight technical sections you could really push hard in, the weather too on the day was a touch. I got on alright, expected to get lapped which happened in the second half but had a steady race and was glad it was a full hour with no mechanicals after doing no racing for a year. Afterwards I felt pleasantly exhausted, keen to do my next event which will be Happy Valley which of course I will be getting mud specific tyres for.
Really well organised and a good course with some technical sections in the woods. A brutal climb that you get to do multiple times and some grass track to stretch the gaps out.
It was a really good, well organised event and many people from the club helped out either on the day or before. The course was really fun to ride.
Connor (on Facebook)
Thanks to everyone who helped, supported and raced at the CX today, it was a great start to the season!!
Stanmer, the first race of the season, was great. It had a good mix of fast single track and a gruelling climb to test the Summer season legs. It is always very well attended and this year was no exception, the catering was great and it was nice to see the club doing the food as most other events get a caterer in, the race was hard but i managed a third in Vet 50 and felt pretty good afterwards; probably in the glow of my result...
What do you feel you get out of the training sessions at Water Hall and what's Ben like as a coach?
The training sessions are really good because interval training is hard to do on your own, plus, the skills we learn and practise have helped me no end in my racing, Ben is very good at getting the whole group involved even though the age range is 9 to 50+. You can go as hard or as easy as you want so it is good for all abilities, he stands there in the pouring rain and freezing cold teaching us every week and does not get enough praise for his efforts; they show in the results the club are getting in the CX races though.
The training is a really good way of keeping fit over the Winter. Put it together with turbo training and you could be fitter in the Winter than you are in the Summer. I focus on the CX series and try to use the Summer Time Trial series and Track Racing to get me ready for the Winter.
They’re really good! All the coaches, and especially Ben, put so much time and effort into them and they have definitely helped me to progress as a rider. The cyclo-cross sessions are fun and there is a great atmosphere within the group.
Skills, intense fitness sessions, bike handling and corner practice, group riding and a good time to play on the CX bike without any cars to worry about. Ben is very good and clearly enjoys putting everyone through pain! A good mix of technical, fitness and endurance work.
Do you have a dedicated CX bike and do you love it?
I have a road, MTB and dedicated cross bike. It does the job perfectly well, it's a Trek X0 frame with my own build including single chainring and front disc and bar end shifter. It's not the lightest bike but I like to ride it on The Downs and sometimes commute with it so reliability is more important than lightweight kit.
I have two CX bikes, a full race bike on tubular tyres with no water bottle cages and a Kinesis Pro 6 CX bike as a spare race, commuter off road racer. I’ve ridden the Pro 6 the full length of the South Downs Way in in 8 hours 15 mins, it was great fun!
I have a cyclo cross club bike. I definitely don't love it but it does an okay job, especially considering we get lent them!
Yes and yes, see the pictures who wouldn’t?!
What are your cycling ambitions in CX and other disciplines?
My CX ambition is to get in the top 5 this year in the Vet 50 cat (I really want a podium but need a bit more fitness). I would like to do a few road races just to see if I could keep with the pack plus do some more MTB races and long off road CX races.
Ambitions are to get back to a level where I'm not lapped! However, mainly to use this a spring-board to racing MTB events. I want to compete in MTB races in the Summer like the Gorricks I used to enjoy when a student. I'd like to build from shorter races, then longer endurance events, maybe even some 6 hour or longer solo events.
To get a top grade in my sports A Level, I need to be competing at national level and so that's my ambition over the next few years and then well see how it goes.
To win an event, 6th is the best so far.
CX and why you should try it – by Jez
There are many reasons to give cyclocross a try, it is a great way to keep your fitness through the long Winter months, it gets you out on those wet days where the road bike ride is too cold and wet and a MTB ride is too slow and muddy. There is something special about a group of like minded people lining up in the rain to race flat out for 45 mins and all having a laugh at the same time. I say its the best fun you can have with your clothes on! The racing is as hard and fast as you want it to be, there are so many little races going on within the main race when you do it on a regular basis you tend to be racing the same small group and soon get to know them and this gives you the impetus to try and beat them in the next race!