(Do the...) Haughcross Hustle

New Format For Season Starter

31st July-1st August 2015

words: John McComisky
pics: Mark McGhee, Neon Velo (James McCallum & Hugo Robinson)

Crowds turn out for Dig In!

It seems surreal to be kicking up the dust and talking about the Cyclocross season at the beginning of July, but when there’s such a thirst and passion for the overflowing cup that has become Cyclocross in Scotland, and a raft of events ready to set sail from August all the way through to the end of February, now does indeed seem the most logical start-point to the season.

Summer-cross is not a new gig; it’s been kicked around in the UK and US for years, but in Scotland it’s taken a proper hold with the first few running's of the Haugh+Cross event which had tagged onto the popular Aberdour Festival.
Races getting busier all the time
With the event only a few weeks away, and entries online filling up by the day, it would be wise to throw an entry in because, like most popular cross races up here, they have a habit of selling out well before the closing date.

The return of Haugh+Cross, brought to you by Ronde Bicycle Outfitters and META, will see a lot of changes from previous editions, the first being the format.

Cross racers up here, as well as elsewhere, have been used to the hour plus the bell lap, but event co-ordinator James McCallum (META) wanted to try something new.

“I've been looking at improving and tweaking any of the events that I am running or involved in, and the logical thing was to have two races in a day for every rider. Most cross races you turn up, ride and go home but we wanted to give the riders and the public a better experience, and with this format riders get more bang for their buck and there will be plenty track-side activities going on all day, not just for riders, but for family and friends.”

James also added: 

“We've laid the Whisky Shortcut to rest for now, but spectators and riders are in for a few surprises with the course. I like to see riders challenged and the modifications will certainly do that; you will just need to pop along on the day to see all the action unfold.”

Inventive formats like Hallocross are hugely popular
The format looks like it will definitely lend itself to the day’s proceedings, with a full day of racing from 12pm till 8pm, and the added attraction of on-site ales flowing from the Festival Marquee and locally sourced produce to tickle the tastebuds, it is certainly going to be more than just a bike race.

With this in mind, the organisers Ronde and Meta made this clear with the following comments:

“Join us for a day of highly charged Cyclocross racing and much more. Experience the cheer of the crowd, and the ring of cowbells. Spectators can enjoy racing of all abilities, from the best the UK has to offer to absolute beginners. Following the racing, a family ceilidh will take place in the Festival Marquee, entry for spectators is free but all donations towards the costs for this exceptional event will be gratefully received.”

Appetite for Instruction

Competitors who are thinking of making a weekend of it even have the option of arriving on Friday after booking a place at the Cyclocross Clinic and spending a full evening under the blazing wings of Scottish National Cyclocross Champion Rab Wardell (Dirt School) and one of the United Kingdom's top International cross racers Hugo Robinson (Neon Velo).

Expert tuition from Neon Velo's Hugo Robinson
This pairing know the sport inside out as well as upside down, so whether you are a seasoned racer in need of some portage tune up tips or a raw novice lining up for a first event, you could do a lot worse than learn from a couple of riders who have raced in World Cup, Internationals, and even competed next to the likes of Nys, Van Aert and Pauwels.

Cyclocross is one of those disciplines where technique can really make a difference, even against riders fitter and stronger than you are. Simple things like tyre pressure, and what gear to be using can all be ironed out by your cross coaches on the evening, and unlike most tutorials, the lads here will welcome and answer any questions and offer all sorts of tips and tricks from the pro rider's kit bag.

Dirt School masterclass from Rab Wardell
On the day Ronde Bicycle Outfitters, Shimano, LAZER, Genesis, Ridley and Mule Bar will be on site in the race village with a selection of merchandise, clothing and accessories to satisfy your Cross cravings and help you kick off your 2015 season.

You'll even stand a chance of winning prizes by making a racket on the evening, a great idea for stressed parents with teething babies or anyone who has no volume control for their voice.

Festival Format

  • Register at Festival Marquee (10.30am - 11.45am)     
  • 12 noon First race (qualifying) – 100 places available (First 50% to final number 1, second 50% to final 2)
  • 1.00pm Second race (qualifying) – 100 places available (First 50% to final number 1, second 50% to final 2)
  • 2.30pm and 3.30pm Children's races - FREE
  • 5.00pm Final 1
  • 6.30pm Final 2
  • 7.00pm Podium presentation.
(Times are subject to change)

Useful links: Ronde and META