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WIVELSDEN FARM CX 23|11|2014

I will admit that it wasn’t the venue I had originally wanted, even though I imagined that working with the other place again would be an unnecessary stress.

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As it happened it couldn’t have worked out any smoother. Nick the landowner was perfectly accommodating, he did what he said he was going to do and he didn’t mind what we were planning to do on his land.

The rain, the rain, the rain. For weeks it has rained. Saturating the land. When we got on site on the Saturday it was clear we’d have to modify the planned course – the grass had got too long in one of the fields I had planned to use and couldn’t be cut due to the rain, which meant we were restricted to a single field and circumnavigating round one of the lakes – I was hopeful that we could keep the run up, which in the end was turned into a down with a technical off camber climb out.

Jo, with the help of Rich and Kris mocked up a course with a number of loops, making use of an abandoned trailer in one of the corners as a feature – given the rutted and heavy nature of the field it was going to be a slog whatever we did. The benefit of using private land, rather than municipal council owned land, is the access you’re given to set up the day before (and the control you have on the day too) – something none of us really wanted to do, on a cold and dark November morning, is stagger about trying to set up before the first people arrived.

Most promotion of the race is done by the London and SE Cyclo-Cross League via their website http://www.londonxleague.co.uk/, they have a Facebook page too. I wanted to continue to use the www.whitechalkhills.cx site to promote on my own terms too – I had organised some sponsorship and I owed it to these very generous benefactors to offer the PR in association with the race. The site was hacked and crashed right at the point where I was looking to begin promoting – the cost of setting it right, for me, was crippling – thankfully my good friend Lois designed a site on WordPress and we were go again http://wivelsdenfarmcx.wordpress.com/. I lament the loss of www.whitechalkhills.cx but really there wasn’t much to be done.

The forecast for the Sunday was looking ominous. It rained the day we set up, only briefly, but the Atlantic was set to do its thing of dropping a load on us all day long on the Sunday. And it did. This acted as both a curse and a blessing – it flooded the fields – to make use of those beautiful Sussex adjectives the course had become stoached -an entry to a field in bad weather is stoached (and poached). stodge – thick puddingy mud. stug – watery mud. stuggy – filled with watery mud. Hard work as an organiser and for those people volunteering as help on the day, but in the end not a terrible nuisance for those racing as any mud was immediately washed off the bike – no cledgy, clodgy gawm to rip off rear mechs and get into the drivetrain.

I am grateful, hugely grateful to those people who gave up their Sunday to help out; helping to set up, stood in the rain, on registration, with cakes, EZ-ups and all manner of things to ensure a successful event – a list of individuals can be found on the wivelsden farm CX website. Without that support this race would have been a disaster. Yes, I am the organiser, it is my name on the league website, but without that support it just wouldn’t happen, and I’d be found a nervous wreck, on my own, shaking and muttering in the fetal position in the corner of a dark room somewhere.

All result, some photographs and video can be found on the League website. Thanks to the riders who turned up and congratulations to those who made it onto the podium. Thanks also to the race officials and those running the timing system – accurate results are always useful.

A link to fantastic images by Gavin Peacock can be found in Further Works below.

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Further works:

TheManFromIcon Wivelsden Farm Flickr Set