By Andrew Mitchell
With the provincial mountain bike and road racing seasons over, cycling enthusiasts of all stripes have converged on the B.C. Cup cyclocross series this fall.
Long used as a training event by both disciplines, cyclocross is a hybrid event, although it’s been around longer than mountain biking. Riders used modified 10 speeds and slightly knobbier tires to race several laps of a dirt and gravel course that includes hills, turns and obstacles that require carrying your bike.
Organizers time the first lap, then set a fixed number of laps to the finish with the goal of making the race one hour in length.
The fourth event of the six race provincial series took place in Delta on Saturday with a solid turnout of riders.
Trevor Hopkins, who rides with Team Whistler-Nature’s Path, won the Men’s B category, moving him into first overall in the points standings with two races left.
Hopkins credits his win to getting a good start. “It’s extremely anaerobic, you spring from the start, and all the way to the finish,” he said “Nobody carries water bottles or gels because everyone wants to keep their bikes as light as possible.
“I broke away at the start with one other guy — you pretty much have to be in sight of the leader on the first lap, it’s really hard to move up — and with three laps to go I broke away from the other rider and had the course to myself to the finish. It’s really nice not having anyone around you, all you have to focus on is pedaling and staying upright.”
Some of Hopkins’s teammates have also been racing this fall. Mike Charuk joined Hopkins in Delta, finishing 24 th , while Dave Burch raced two weeks ago in White Rock and placed first.
“It’s pretty sketchy,” said Burch of his first Cyclocross race. “You’re just flying down these trails under the trees, but you’re riding basically a 10-speed with drop down bars, v-brakes, skinny tires. And it’s pretty intense, there are wipeouts and guys elbowing, and you’re racing guys over these barriers.”
Hopkins will take part in the fifth race this weekend in Vanier Park in Vancouver, and the weekend after that he’ll be racing in the finals at Jericho Park.
The national cyclocross championships will also be taking place in Vancouver this year, on Nov. 11.
B.C. Cup results are posted online at www.cycling.bc.ca.