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The Winter CX season kicked off in summer-like Adelaide conditions today. Where was the rain? The mud? Well we hope we might see some at some point throughout the “Winter” series. Round 1 saw 148 riders line up to give CX a crack in Victoria Park, as just one of the events incorporated into ‘Velo in the Park’.
The course included the Forest of Doom, and (some might say) a few dreaded grassy and windy straights, broken up with some sandy and off-camber corners. The start/finish area was the main excitement for spectators as it included a couple of barriers and some freshly dumped sand to create a run section.
With temperatures of 20+ degrees, there were plenty of riders ready to race with a bidon onboard, and a feed zone was included for those inclined. Some hoping for hand-ups of a malty beverage... apparently good for the onset of cramps but not so good for coordination. In true Port Adelaide CX style, there is a possibility that further scientific research on ‘sports drinks’ will be undertaken at next Friday’s Roller Frenzy to determine the pros and cons.
The little crossers got racing underway, as 20 future champions cut some modified laps - a few newbies and bingles, and plenty of smiles.
Great numbers throughout all grades, with the “any bike – any rider” policy out in full swing. A thriving family atmosphere with Kidlets, Mums & Dads all giving it a go, with 4-legged friends watching eagerly, awaiting their turn.
In the A grade women, 17 ladies set heart rate records battling it out for 30 minutes (5 laps). Sarah Holmes lead out the first lap with Jenny Macpherson, Carla Franson & Annabel Cox in tow. As expected, Jenny went full throttle opening up a gap fairly quickly, where she managed to stay for the entire race extending her lead to over a minute. It was on for the chasing group with a tough battle between Annabel, Sarah & Carla for the remaining laps, with positions determined in the final lap. Sarah made her way into 2nd place in the run section, and shortly after Carla caught and passed Annabel to round out the top 3. Annabel secured 4th place and Gemma Kernich went top 5, after a knee injury at the last CX race (and shoveling the sand pit as her race warmup).
The A grade men’s field had some exciting battles throughout the field of 38 riders. The pointy end involved and impressive pace set by Chris Jongewaard and the Focus Express; Jade Lean, Shaun Lewis, Mark Chadwick and Tom Chapman. Quality racing from the top 5, with Chris attacking solo off the front and the Focus boys appeared to form their own peleton at times. It was the second lap when Chris began opening up a gap, which he increased and maintained for the remaining 7 laps, with the Focus lads chasing hard. Shaun finished in style 24 seconds back, a further 20 seconds later saw Tom ride into 3rd place in a close finish with Mark, and Jade rounded out the top 5.