The White Chalk Hills Ultracross was originally inspired by a blog post by BOULDER ULTRACROSS, listing an event that was heavily inspired by the Three Peaks Cyclocross race in the UK.

I’ve been involved in organising many racing events, road races, cyclocross races and rides over the years, and I liked the ‘there’s this thing, it’s free to enter’ ethos of Boulder Ultracross, it was honest and inclusive, except as is our wont (or is that our whim?) we took it one step further and branded it as a Thing and gave it the tongue in cheek VAINGLORIOUS | FUTILE tag line. It is a genuine pleasure to organise this event and meet and ride with all the vainglorious fools, old friends and new friends, that turn up on the day.

To celebrate the event, and to recoup some out of pocket expenses of putting on the event, and for some beer money, some friends and I usually get together and produce something creative to sell – you may remember the UCX POSTER.

I’ve long been in the possession of this scratchy, delicate, brittle pencil drawing that my brother had left on the bottom of a poem, contained within a batch of poems, that he sent me many years ago… when you ride the ULTRACROSS you resign yourself to the futility of it all, a concentration of what it means to live, to make the effort to live and sacrifice yourself to something above and beyond yourself. The beautiful futility.

That scratchy, delicate, and brittle pencil drawing spoke to me in that way. The realisation that one day we will soon be dust, so why not live, even just for the moment… 45+ miles across the bleak midwinter landscape of the South Downs.

That drawing inspired this cap, the sketch used with permission by my dear brother, digitised from a photograph of the drawing and emblazoned on the peak of the cap, black on black with the white highlight – a tribute to my sturdy and brittle brother. The words ‘FUTILITY DEFINES ME’ coined by Jo Burt; those solitary words embossed with so much poetry and meaning, adorn the side of the cap.

Aided by Lois, doing those whizzbit things with pens, pencils and her design software, with her keen eye for balance and tasteful composure she produced the mock up design and EPS files ready for those fine people at This Is Cambridge (TIC) to turn into a beautiful Special Edition WHITE CHALK HILLS Panache Cap.

A limited number of caps will be available at the UCX on 27th December 2014, and if they run out pre-orders taken, priced at £23 - cash payable on the day.

If you are unable to make it to the UCX please do not despair, TIC will be making them available on their website for £23+p&p, usual terms and conditions apply.

Image courtesy of This is Cambridge

Image courtesy of This is Cambridge

Grateful thanks to Lois and Jo, and Andrew and Daphne at TIC.

Dennis, a handshake in my thoughts dear brother.

Further works

For further details of This is Cambridge please see this review TIC Panache Cap Review