Cyclo Cross is often described as the “Punk Rock” of cycle sport. It’s predominately a winter pastime, and races (for seniors) are short one hour long efforts that require determined legs, waterproof skin, and antifreeze in the blood.
At one end of the scale, the serious riders kick hard for the top placings, yet at the other end, there’s a large number of riders in it “for fun” and to keep motivated through the long winter months.
B&DCC burst onto the local cyclo cross scene back in 2008, when just two members were competing regularly, and a third had to be dragged kicking and screaming to give us the required number of riders to qualify for a team standing. Needless to say, the club finished lowest in the NDCXL (Notts & Derbys Cyclo Cross) league positions.
We were once featured in a BBC video on the sport.
Fast forward a few years from those humble beginnings and it’s a very different story indeed, as you can see below.
In the few years since 2008, when we had to conscript people into the team, B&DCC have rapidly expanded into one of the largest clubs on the circuit.
Our riders range from 5 years old, to 65 years old…from first timers through to National Champions and plenty of different abilities in between.
Most riders are fairly new to the sport, a handful have a few years experience under their belt, and there’s a small number that will happily tell you how hard it was back in the 50’s and 60’s when the bikes were cast iron, the mud was knee deep and the winters Siberian.
For the last three years, the club has won the “Harry Gould Participation Award” for the greatest number of competing riders from any club competing in the Notts & Derbys League
Our riders also like to stretch their legs further afield, with many riding events in the neighbouring Lincolnshire league, the Yorkshire league and occasionally the West Midlands league. A growing number of riders are also stepping up a gear and taking part in the British Cycling National Series.
We are especially proud of our young riders. Cross is a great sport for young legs, and there are separate races for under 9’s , under 12’ s and through the Youth and Junior categories.
Cross events are very family friendly. The shorter courses and multiple laps mean they are great for spectators (wrapped up warm) and the “pits” are a place where everyone from the team gets stuck in when they aren’t racing and helps keep their teammates moving by handing up spare bikes, jetwashing the muddy ones and shouting encouragement or heckling.
For anyone wanting to try the sport for the first time, a mountain bike is a suitable first ride, but B&DCC have several loan cyclo cross bikes suitable for both adults and kids that are great to experience the turn of speed that a proper cyclo cross machine can deliver.
The sport wouldn’t exist without the keen volunteers within the local clubs promoting their share of events. B&DCC have been keen promoters of a round of the NDCXL league since 2010.
Our first promotion was held in thick fog at Glapwell Country Park in 2010, but the amount of parking spaces needed limited the usefulness of this venue.
In 2011 we relocated to Holmebrook valley Park in Chesterfield, on a day that was so windy the marshals couldn’t communicate using the radios, and that caused much fun!
In 2012 we partnered with the National Trust at Hardwick Hall , and that’s remained our venue of choice for our annual promotion of our NDCXL round, as well as the 2014 Midland Championships and 2015 Inter Area championships in-between.
The facilities at Hardwick are excellent for a cross race, and the course has evolved over the years into a challenging circuit, and a great venue. We are indebted to the National trust for the support that they offer.
Spurred on by the encouragement and support that comes from being in B&DCC, the club has emerged into a cylco cross superpower regionally, and is increasingly showing itself on the National circuit.
We have several cyclo cross specific coaches available to work with riders (usually for a small monthly fee) and this is often the secret in turning your performances from “dabbling” to “dangerous”.
Leading up to each Cross season (starts in September) we run several skills sessions for our riders to develop the cross specific skills needed to take on the technicalities of the sport.
Alan is a keystone of the clubs cyclo cross promotions and represents the club regionally on the NDCXL league committee meetings. A Retired PE Teacher, recent injuries have prevented him racing cross as often as he would like, but he still travels the length of the UK supporting our riders from behind the barriers. Alan is the planning engine behind our annual cross promotion
Sam is a rising star on the local cyclo cross scene and was a very talented Junior rider. He starts the 2016/17 season with his first races as a senior ahead of him. There are few people as passionate and knowledgeable about the sport as Sam, and if you have any questions about how to get involved then “Sams the Man!”
Mick has over 40 years of experience in Cyclo Cross, with a National championship jersey on his wall and has coached many rising stars of the local cross scene including Annie and Tom Last. He has a deep knowledge of the skills required to win a cross race.
Graham is an ex semi-pro road racer, ex British National squad rider and an ex regional BAR Time Trial champion. His recent Cyclo Cross palmares includes XX in the National Series, and has been NDCXL Super Vet champion for the last three years. Graham coaches many of our current cross riders, most notably the current National vet Womens Champion Maddi Smith. He is able to supplement his coaching with extensive yoga tutoring.