The creating of CityCross – the tale so far-more than just a ‘cross race- a blog

SetUp3So it’s been a while since I’ve written much on here. For those of you who don’t know I’ve been part of the team organising Morvelo City Cross. Mark does the clever bit, Oli does the colouring in and I’ve been doing the scrurring around.

Now that simplifies it a bit, so let me explain what we have in store for you.

As we’re not a British Cycling event we can mess with the format a bit. We have removed the usual ‘cross format and are having a series of knock out rounds. The top 50% from each moto will go through to the next round. Now normally the juniors get bundled in with the seniors and the women get bundled in with the vet men. We didn’t want to do this. We wanted each category to have their own race. This means the races have to be shorter and more intense. It also means we have to bring in chip timing so that we can keep track of everything accuratly. This is also live to web thanks to SmartTiming.

Now in a normal UK ‘cross race you may get a couple of barrier jumps, some races at a higher level have a sand pit. Again we wanted to do more than this. European races are built for purpose, we want to bring a little of this to the UK.

So we have, the course goes over itself as we’ve hired in a scaffold bridge with steps on one side and a ramp down the other. We’ve hired in a beer tent and put a sand pit through it. That’s right in true Belgian style we’re racing straight through the bar! And talking of beer there’s an optional shortcut with a shot of DarkStar IPA Espresso beer. The course will be all double taped or barriered. Yep that’s right, we want that Euro style so we’ve hired in loads of metal barriers for you to rest your arms on as you spectate. We’ve hired in a JCB to move things around so the course is just right. We’ve put in barriers and a jump of doom. There’s multiple lines to come down though the RedBull area. There’s cobbles and scrambles and a Kinesis Kowbell Alley with hundreds of Kowbells for you to make as much din as you can with. Let’s not forget the Vulpine V switchback. There’s extra features mixed in from BMX and MTB (with an escape lane).

We want everyone to get involved, so we put in a novice category and we’re having the kids racing in early in the day. And should you get knocked out early there’s a last chance saloon with a swoop of ten riders from each category getting to race round again. Whilst there aren’t enough daylight hours to have a separate womens vet race the top 50% of the women vets will go forward as well as the top 50% of the race.

Make sure you have a race face as we have Joolze Dymond and WhiteNoSugarTV capturing it all for us too.

If that’s not enough racing for you then why not have a go at Roller Racing with SouthCoastSprints. Head to head and see who’s legs fall off first!

Now that’s just the racers, what do you want when you’re not racing? Now most people only eat event food as it’s the only thing that there is, and let’s be fair, a soggy burger and weak tea doesn’t really appeal. So what have we got for you? LOADS! Anyone who hasn’t gained a couple of pounds by the end will surprise me. It took a while but I managed to find FISH& who are doing genuine frites, with moules too if you fancy. The Porkery are coming in with a Hog Roast. Streatza Pizza are bringing their woodfired pizza over in a Citroen H van. Organic House are baking away with Beetroot and chocolate shot cakes and more. We have the finest fresh coffee from Exchange Coffee who are bringing their espresso bar…..did I mention the bar? OH Yes there’s beer too.

Don’t worry if you don’t know who the racers are either as we’ve hired Matt Payne to be our commentator for the day and we have the legend that is Shedfire on the decks spinning the tunes.

If that wasn’t enough we have the wonderful Vulpine coming up with their beautiful cycle apparel. Morvelo will be there with some City Cross merchandise. AnaNichoola are coming along too.Oh and I nearly forgot, Stag will be there with their jerseys too. Now if you’re like me, I do like to have a good look before I buy, so we’re really lucky that they’re travelling all the way up.

It’s not all clothes though, we have the cycle trade coming up with Saddleback bringing the Felt, Bont, Castelli and Chris King bling. Kinesis are coming with their new range, yes that’s right, you can prod the prototypes! Charge and Madison will be there too.

There’s Singletrack and GreatRock there with their wonderful charm. There’s Anthony Oram (and a few others still to confirm) coming along with some beautiful prints.

And should you have a disaster Blazing Saddles’ James will be there to fix them for you.

That’s not all either…there’s cycle musical chairs for the kids too! Well we wouldn’t want them to get bored would we?

There’s equal cash prizes for men and women. 1st £150, 2nd £100, 3rd £50.

There’s stuff to win too. Saddleback have thrown 4 pairs of Bont CX/XC carbon shoes in, Arrundel Carbon cages, Tyres and more. There’s clothes from Morvelo. More stuff arrives by post each day.

Blimey I’ve not even mentioned the goody bag for every rider!

So as you can imagine, we’ve worked solid for the last six weeks to create this. We’ve had plenty of trials and tribulations along the way too. I’ve spent many days riding in and out from our original mill site for site reports, risk assesments, course planning, Mark and Oli have travelled from either end of the counrtry for meetings only for us to have the permission revoked at the last minute. Rather than panic we decided we’d all worked too hard to let this fold, so back I pedal to Halifax to search us out a new site. Now if you’ve ever tried to put an event on you’ll know that this is often the hardest part. There’s lots to consider, is it safe, where’s the parking, train links, can you get permission, are you crossing footpaths, roads. Now we already had all of this in place so wanted to find something within half a mile of it. Nothing like a challenge eh! This was only last Wednesday lunchtime!

I met a chap who I’ve worked with in my normal job as a painter (I’m beginning to forget I am a painter what with all this!), he points me towards Shroggs Tip. Hesitant I go off to investigate.

When I was a kid ‘Stig of the Dump’ was my favourite book. I used to go to an old quarry and play “stig”. I daren’t read it again incase it spoils my memory. As I rode onto the old tip I was a kid again. Motorcross riders have found some great lines, even if they are being a bit naughty! Then I found strips of cobbles, humps, jumps, dips, singletrack, flat bits, steep bits, tarmac bits, old railway cuttings and even an old car. Round and round I rode plotting the new course. I soon realised that we can literally pick up the course from the mill and move it here….only it’s even better, we have more space!

Next step was to ask the council….OK I’ll admit it, I was a bit scared they’d say no. We’d been wary of asking the council in the first place as they don’t want things carved up by bikes, fair enough really!

Now luckily for us the council have been watching from afar, they’d seen what we were doing and they really liked it. More than that they couldn’t wait to get involved. We’re really lucky that Calderdale Council are very pro cyclist. So we’ve redone our risk assessment, shunted the insurance to the new location. I’m off to meet them first thing tomorrow to go through the final details.

After a blip and an awful lot of work I really think this will be something special.

See you on March 3rd, Shroggs Tip. Entry on


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s