Race date: 19 November 2022
Race distance: 8.3km
Report by Matt Broadhead
I entered this because it sounded fun, which is the best reason to enter a race. Also, I’ve never raced against anything that wasn’t runners.
Race HQ was at Bradford & Bingley Rugby Club, and the start was ten minutes’ walk away, at the bottom of a field on the far side of bridge 206 of the Leeds–Liverpool Canal. The bottom of a very steep-looking field. Knowledgeable people talked slightly disapprovingly about the number of mountain (rather than cyclocross) bikes on show, and I looked nervously at the riders from an actual factory team (Hope Technology).
Soon enough we were off, ploughing up the hill and trying to get ahead of the cyclists, who had no chance of riding the first section. West Yorkshire does a fine line in heavy clay pasture, and the first km or so was a splendid example, clearly recently vacated by its usual occupants. As it levelled out, cyclists started to zoom past me, and when we moved onto a concrete trackway they were off.
Not for long though, as we shortly joined a “no riding” section, followed by a rocky climb to the road (dodging the head-height wheels as cyclists shouldered their bikes) and then onto Baildon Moor. We climbed into fog, passed a trig point and made a loop round to the right before starting our descent. Just before we closed the loop and headed back, I heard a yell of pain from the runner behind me. His ankle had made a horrible cracking sound, so two of us helped him towards the next marshal until eventually he insisted we carry on. (He got a lift down the hill, and hadn’t broken anything thankfully.)
The second half was more interesting, because the cyclists were suddenly much faster, and I’m crap at descending. I managed to avoid any close passes though, and apart from standing on a “rock” that turned out to be a very smooth-topped cow pat, I reached the top of the start field without incident. Through the extremely slippery gateway at the top and down into the finishing funnel and we were presented with a bottle of Saltaire low-alcohol beer for the walk back to the rugby club for some food, via cleaning my shoes in the canal.
The post-race food menu was as follows:
- Pie and peas, £4
- Pie no peas, £3
(Mint sauce was free and serve yourself, it was heavenly.)
- Person behind me in queue: “Are there any vegtarian pies?”
- Person behind counter: “No.”
This was a really enjoyable race, against clubs I don’t usually come across. It’s not as big a surprise as you might think that a runner won it. The course is really well designed to slow cyclists down, especially on the way up, just enough that the runners are competitive.
223 people finished, of whom 57 were cyclists, of whom at least one was on a BMX. The race was won by Nathan Marsh of the brilliantly named Doss AC (male runner) in 35:19.8
Other winners (in time order):
- Male cyclist: David Mirfield, Hope Factory Racing, 36:27.0
- Female runner: Erica Byram, Holmfirth Harriers, 44:30.2
- Female cyclist: Amy Henchoz, Harrogate Nova, 44:42.
Full results: https://www.webscorer.com/racealldetails?raceid=298335