The first (hopefully inaugural) Cervo Rosso "Strada Bianche Circuito" event is a wrap!
Waking to the sound of rain, and having experienced my fair share of wet weather Mountainbike racing, I must admit I wasn't overly excited about the thought of screaming over gravel roads and forrest trails on skinny tires with a bunch of super-fit road riders. That said, I had always wanted to try the whole cyclocross thing and as the term "gravel riding" has recently become a very well-used term in the international cycling vocabulary, I decided to give it a go.
Packing the race truck with all the wet weather gear I had, and picking up fellow CRTT racer Andy Porritt on the way, we headed from central Switzerland toward Bern, to ever lightening skies. Arriving in Wohlen, the rain was gone and the roads were dry. Okay we wouldn't have to contend with dust today, but I was definitely going to have to review my wet weather race strategy!
After a quick chat with Carlyle (event organiser and the driving force behind CR), we were informed that the practice lap would start in half an hour, and the main ride 10mins later! We rather quickly donned our CR gear and tried to warm up as much as possible prior to the inspection lap. The 4km loop consisted of stretches of white graveled “Strada Bianche”, forrest gravel roads, broken asphalt sections, two rather tricky left-handers and a super short but steep sealed climb reaching 20%!
Following a short pause, the Strada Bianche Circuito was officially started! What followed was four fun laps with quite a few incidents… small falls, slides, flats and a fair share of corner over-shooting! Apart from hammering the Strada Bianche, the highlight of the ride was the 20% climb – it was an absolute killer (definitely need a lower gear for next year!). I was fortunate enough to have a loaner Cyclocross bike with disc brakes for the event and found the setup fantastic in terms of comfort, control and braking – so much so that I am considering trying the odd cyclocross race this winter!
After the “dust had settled” and everyone had reached the finish, the beers were passed around and the stories started flowing. For me, one aspect which made the event really special was the diversity of cyclists who attended (cyclocrossers, road riders, mountainbikers, couriers…) in the end, all like-minded people who simply love to ride bicycles.
The evening was finished off by a rather tasty barbeque and presentation ceremony where Cinelli gave out some cool kit.
Thanks to Carlyle and team for taking the time to organise such a fantastic event – I am definitely looking forward to the 2016 edition!
Words by Anthony Mayr. Images by Rachel Bieri