Having done many lengthy road rides over the course of the year, I approached this event with a level of misplaced arrogance that was soon punished.
Despite having lived in London for many years, upon rocking up to Alexandra Palace with my friend Rob, I was completely shocked as to how hilly the park around the palace was.
Watching the pro race struck fear into me – the pain etched upon their drawn faces after just a couple of laps suggested that we, in the later novice category, were in for a testing time.
I wasn’t wrong. What ensued was probably the most brutal 40 minutes that I’ve ever spent on a bike – a ridiculously intense and relentless course.
I was very unprepared and I couldn’t blame the bike that I used, having borrowed my girlfriend Lindsay’s excellent Condor Bivio-X bike (which I stacked emphatically when attempting to overtake a young girl). It was simply a big challenge, but ultimately a highly rewarding one.
On what was a beautiful autumnal, warm October day, we had great fun and the event organisation was brilliant – incessantly ringing cowbells courtesy of Rouleur and catering delivered by the team from Look Mum No Hands.
While sipping on a well-earned beer, we got chatting to another participant who had come down with his wife and two kids. They told us of the Muddy Hell cross event that they’d been to at Herne Hill velodrome – essentially cyclo-cross by night.
This year’s Muddy Hell, organised by Rollapaluza and sponsored by Knog, takes place on Saturday 27th October and features a full programme of events for all ages from 5pm. To enter a race costs between £0-£12, while spectators go free.
In addition to the racing, there’ll be a bar, hot food, DJs, giveaways, face painting and roller racing.
It promises to be a great night and entries are still open.
The Rapha Super-Cross event returns to Alexandra Palace the following day. Limited places in certain categories are still available.