Cyclo-cross taking Kiwis by storm
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 6:39p.m.
By David Di Somma
It's got mud, obstacles, plenty of action - and now cyclo-cross is coming to a town near you.
Cyclo-cross is a relatively new sport in New Zealand, but is gaining popularity and now has its own series.
Races are usually 50 minutes long and are held on a lapped course with obstacles and mud. The first person past the line is the winner.
Gary Hall and Kim Hamer-Hurst are the national champions, having won in Napier last month.
Hamer-Hurst says it is all about pushing contestants to their limits.
“It’s all about discomfort and managing pain thresholds, it’s a pretty full-on race,” she says.
The sport is only just finding its feet here, but Hall says it is proving a winner.
“Everyone who does it is always back the next week - it's a growing sport, real fast,” he says.
Some competitors use mountain bikes, but specialist cyclo-cross bikes are much lighter and faster.
Cyclo-cross is massive in Europe, and has been around in places like Belgium, France and the Netherlands for over a century. There is a big emphasis on fun and spectator participation.
For Hamer-Hurst, however, who is an accomplished mountain-biker, it may end up being quite a serious sport.
“I'd like to represent New Zealand over there at the world championships in 2014,” she says.
Hall is also keen to see if he can race overseas.
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