Photos by Tristan Fopma
Sometimes we organize events just because we are in love with the subject, such as Cyclocross. If you zoom in to cycling in general, with all its different disciplines, cyclocross is probably one of the most inaccessible. You need a special bike, it is difficult to train/practice and it often looks 'tricky' on TV. Moreover, you often have to be a member of a cycling club, you need to pre-register for the entire season and you cannot simply join on the day itself. That does not alter the fact that CX is pure excitement and that made that we like to introduce people to something new and offer the opportunity to do something that may not be in his or her comfort zone. Cyclocross is amazing and absolutley worth trying! That is why we came with the idea to organise an accessible cyclocross event: Cross Clash.
Maats x Rapha
Organizing a cyclocross event is not easy, that is why we needed a strong partner to make this a success. We joined forces with Rapha Amsterdam because CX is in the DNA of this London based brand and years ago they released an exclusive CX collection, which is a classic nowadays. Together we came up with a program and invited both Maats and Rapha Amsterdam's community to participate.
Initially there were many plans and ideas for various CX challenges during Cross Clash. Things link of a relay for teams, a bunny-hop competition and a clash between shops. At the end of the day we founded out that people were just looking to test themselves on a CX course and therefore decided to fall back on an 'oldskool' CX Race, or actually three races. One for women, one for non-binary and a race for men.
For Cross Clash we were guests at the CX course of cycling club ARC ULysses in Amsterdam North. This club has a 'closed' road circuit around which they create a CX course in winter. Trainings are given here and competitions are organized in the winter months. It is a classic cyclocross course equipped with muddy strokes, s-bends and of course bars for bunny-hopping. On the other hand, it is not the most technical CX course, so it is perfect for people to get acquainted with CX.
Participants were welcome on the course around noon. Here they could sign up, have a coffee, warm up and test the course. After a word of welcome from Rapha's race director Dave de Graaff, the ladies combined with the Non-binary race started at 2:00 PM. After the starting shot, they had to complete 3 laps of the course as quickly as possible. The men's race started afterwards with approximately 35 participants. They had to complete four rounds, which amounted to approximately 45 minutes of full gas racing.
There was a groupstart in both races. In the men's and in the women's/non-binary races, the difference was made swiftly and gaps emerged between the riders. It became clear once again that cyclocross is about much more than just being able to push watts, technique in particular plays a very important role. The difference quickly became visible between participants who made their CX-debut at Cross Clash and the people who had done this before.
Womens podium with (l) Jennifer, Ingeborgh and Daniela (r).
Non-binary podium with (l) Anna and Seb.
Mens podium with (l) Michael, Koos Jeroen and John (r).
Rapha's Race Director Diffa de Graaf and Stadium Speaker Kiki Morales
People brought their cx-bike, mtb-bike or gravelbike for the race.
After the races, it was lively for a long time at the ARC Ulysses cycling club. There was a lot to talk about. For some this was their first cross experience and also the last, but for others it was a taste for more and hopefully this was the kick-start to more cx competitions in the coming winters. People stuck around for a while, probably because of the burgers, beats and cold beers.
The Next edition
Organizing our first CX event tasted like more. With approximately fifty participants and a large crew of spectators, the first edition was more than we could hoped for. Our goal with was to infect people with the CX-virus or to relight the cx-fire and we certainly succeeded in this, as evidenced by all the positive reactions and happy faces afterwards. Special thanks to our friends from Rapha, without them this would never have been possible. We are currently working on some ideas for the next edition of Cross Clash. Maybe next winter, maybe sooner... Stay tuned.
Many thanks go to our partners. They were indispensable to the success of Cross Clash
Jeroen from cycling laundry Chasse Patate in the Pijp cleaned all the bikes after the cross. He made sure that everyone went home with a spotless bike. Go see this guy if you want to have your bike thoroughly cleaned during your cycling season. He is also our partner for rental bikes in Amsterdam.
The mechanics from Concourse provided technical support during Cross Clash. Participants who had doubts about their bicycle or wanted to do a final check could go see them. Visit them at their locatons in Betondrop or near Westerpark for excellent service on your bike, but also the inspiring story behind their own brand Ger Bikes.
Valters and his crew provided beats and cburgers during cross clash. Both served from a cargo bike and therefore perfectly connected to the event. Would you like to organize an event in a cool place or throw a cycling party? Contact them! They will undoubtedly join us more often at one of our Maats events.