If the nearest you have ever got to a full-on continental-style cyclo-cross race is watching World championships highlights on the telly, make a note of October 31 in your diary.
Rollapaluza, the team responsible for the rejuvenation of roller racing, are turning their slightly oily hands to ‘cross racing with a dark and mysterious evening of racing on Halloween. Entries are already pouring in, despite being open for just a few days.
“Muddy Hell” at Herne Hill stadium will feature apple bobbing, mulled cider (note to prospective entrants: wait until after your race for the cider), fancy dress and – most excitingly – a Euro-style beer tent with the course running smack through the middle.
Throw in some roller racing, a barbeque, a separate single-speed and fixed wheel race and guaranteed full moon (say the organisers) and you have a spectacular and unique night of ‘cross racing. With an extremely generous cash prize list of £1,000, courtesy of retro East London bike shop Tour de Ville, the event is sure to pull in a big field.
One more thing: it is going to be dark, in case you hadn’t worked that one out. The organisers are stipulating front and rear LED’s as a minimum requirement but a front lamp that throws a decent beam is recommended. Floodlights will be in use, but parts of the course are likely to remain unlit, so be prepared.
The mouth-watering prospect of a Belgian-style up-and-over scaffolding bridge is still a possibility, according to Paul Churchill of Rollapaluza, who has been involved in promoting the event alongside members of VC Londres.
With the event still some way off, the races look likely to sell out. “We have already had 35 entries,” said Churchill this week. “We were working on a field of 80 per race, but we are going to try and extend that if demand continues the way it is now. That may mean running a separate race for the women, vets and juniors.”
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Churchill stressed that prospective entrants should leave details in case separate races are held. “Register your interest anyway, even if all the places to go, because if we do release more places we can send out a blanket email to say more places are available,” he said.