A week ago, New Zealand hosted its 2016 Cyclocross National Championships, and it was an epic day of muddy racing. Thanks to our friends at ChainSlap Mag, we've got some great photos of the day's racing from Digby Shaw and a recap from Brett Kennedy.
In true Wellington and cyclocross fashion, the weather was suitably windy, rainy and bitterly cold for the best cyclocross racers in the country to come together and battle it out for the National Championship titles last weekend.
With a few solid days of rain soaking the course at Moonshine Park in the lead up, not even gale force winds could dry out the course, with riders rubbing their hands together in anticipation and spectators wishing they'd packed another layer or two.
The rain mainly stayed away, which was neither here nor there in the big picture as the grassy surface quickly turned to deep sticky ruts where it wasn't covered in puddles. Cheap beer flowed on the sidelines and on the course as the true spirit of ’cross––drinking and heckling––mingled with the more serious matters at the head of the races for the coveted purple champs jersey, specially designed by the Hüttcross crew whose reputation as sadistic course designers was only enhanced.
The Elite races were both won comfortably by second time champs Anja Macdonald and Brendan Sharratt. The men's field boasted a number of ex-champs, including Wellington local and former World Cup mustache-wielding celebrity Alex Revell, plus Dan Warren, Gary Hall and defending champ Tristan Rawlence.
But it was all Sharratt, who took the lead early and held a comfortable gap before easing up on the last lap to cruise to his second title.
Macdonald likewise took off early, and despite a moment of desperately wrenching at a jammed chain, was never really bothered by second place Gayle Brownlee and U19 winner Niamh Black.
Black's brother Finn also took the U19 boys to make it a good day out for the siblings. A host of other age group titles saw fierce racing and a slew of broken derailleurs, bodies and spirits, yet all came away smiling and not just because of the cheap beer on offer.
Full photo gallery below the results.
2016 New Zealand Cyclocross National Championships - Elite Men's Results
|1st||Brendon Sharratt||6 laps|
|2nd||Sam Gardner||6 laps|
|3rd||Ryan Christensen||6 laps|
|4th||Tristan Rawlence||6 laps|
|5th||Gary Hall||6 laps|
2016 New Zealand Cyclocross National Championships - Elite Women's Results
|1st||Anja Mcdonald||5 laps|
|2nd||Gayle Brownlee||5 laps|
|3rd||Louise Foley||4 laps|
|4th||Lisa Hunkin||4 laps|
Full results from other categories are here.