Cyclists will converge on sunny Hawke’s Bay this weekend for the inaugural New Zealand Cyclocross National Championships.
The UCI sanctioned event, which will take place at EIT Taradale in Napier, has attracted more than 80 entrants from around the country.
World number two Katie Compton from the USA will be at the race, alongside her ex-pat Kiwi husband Mark Legg who is an ex-pro rider himself and will be racing the Master’s event.
Compton is one of the world’s most successful cyclocross athletes, with 12 World Cup wins, three medals at World Championships, and an unbeaten record of eight successive victories at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
Compton will also be running a free skills clinic for participants, offering advice on technique, skills, set up, and the course. This will be held on Saturday at 2pm and the length of the session will be weather-dependant.
Wintery weather is no obstruction to racing, however, as it is traditionally held in harsh European winters. So the heavy rain forecasted for the days leading into the weekend should merely add to the excitement.
Challenging conditions including copious amounts of mud will make for interesting racing on the campus course.
Race organiser Andrew Barlow says there are plenty of spectator viewpoints on course for people to make the most of the action, including a bamboo forest, stairs, a valley, and paddocks; the information tent will have maps available highlighting the best viewing areas.
The weekend will also recreate the atmosphere of the classic European cyclocross racing. Spectators can enjoy a barbeque provided by the local Hawke’s Bay BMX Club, and those who are over 18 can warm up with a glass of mulled wine.
The Cyclocross National Championships is part of the “Ride of Your Life” Napier Festival. Other events include a criterium, bike polo, the Napier Prison Brake, BMX Big Air, Pathways Passport, and a City Showcase. For more information about what is happening over the weekend, please visit www.fortherideofyourlife.co.nz.