We have long maintained that gravel is a logical offseason counterpart of cyclocross. Organizers of the Battle in the Bowl Super CX race in Winchester, England decided to take the connection one further and combine cyclocross with gravel.
The race combined gravel roads with twisty cyclocross turns to create a four-mile (curious the English organizers used the dreaded imperial units) course that Elite riders rode for a not-quite cyclocross and not-quite gravel two hours.
Check out this highlight video for a look at the combination cyclocross / gravel race.
With cycling talk turning to Chris Froome, salbutamol and the Tour de France, it may be easy to forget that just like two weeks ago we were all talking about rules in gravel racing. Interestingly, the cyclocross/gravel race is facing its own issues figuring out what the “spirit” of cyclogravel racing is.
From the event website:
We’ve updated the bike rules for the Elite Super CX race at Battle in the Bowl 2017. Battle in the Bowl is a unique event, merging the ever evolving gravel bike scene with the more traditional ’cross racing format to bring you a full on venue based day of racing on a grand scale. We want Battle in the Bowl to always be an inclusive event, so you can also on MTBs, 29ers or any kind of bike you like – there’s a race for you.
Last year, we relaxed the bike rules in all categories, and allowed MTBs etc. to compete across the board. Talking to riders afterwards and in the months since, it became clear that not everyone agreed with this position with regard to the Elite Race, and that some riders felt it unbalanced the competition. After giving it a lot of thought, since we have decided that as the headline event, the Elite Super CX should have a defined identity, and one that is relevant to the evolution of the riding style and new generation of bikes that inspired it. The Open category is still there for those who want to choose any bike, and we don’t want to go down a UCI style route of extreme bike regulation, but we will be enforcing bike rules as follows for this year.
Elite / Super CX Race: No suspension, 44mm tyre max on 700c or 29in (48mm max allowed on 650b). Maximum bar width 600mm.
Open Race (Open Warfare): Whatever bike you like. Knock yourself out. Make a statement.
Junior Races: All bikes welcome.
We hope you’ll agree with these decisions. Battle in the Bowl is part of a new and still developing movement, so we’ll review our rules year on year to try and keep it relevant, fair and fun.
Exceptions: These rules are applied to keep racing in the spirit of the event. As Gravel/CX is an evolving form, we have considered allowable exceptions to these rules for certain bikes. As the following have been developed with this form of riding in mind, they will be permitted in the race:
- Cannondale Slate (suspension allowed, bike must conform to other rules)
- Lauf fork equipped bikes (suspension allowed, bike must conform to other rules)
Stay tuned for more as we try to flesh out what the “spirit” of cyclogravel racing is and how it compares to the “spirit” of gravel racing here in the U.S.