Event Review

REVIEW: The Green Jersey SportCross 2014

by Emma Osenton

REVIEW: The Green Jersey SportCross 2014 


Date: 2nd February 2014 
Distances: 50km 
Entry fee: £25 
Start: 9am 
Feedstops: one at 30km with soft drinks and cake 
Catering: hot drinks, sausage butties at finish 
Timed: yes 
Signs: some 
Roads: mixture of country roads, bridleways and a 'red' trail centre route. 

With sales of 'cross bikes rocketing of late there are new events popping up for riders to extend their winter seasons and not have to get their summer pride and joy out just yet. The Green Jersey over in Clitheroe, Lancashire have done just this with the inaugural running of their Sport Cross event. The route takes in the quieter roads and bridleways in the area before heading up to Gisburn Forrest Trail Centre where it sends you down the Hope Tech 'red' trail. 

We arrived in good time - quite a change for us - and sign on was a pleasant and well organised affair. Dibbers were handed to each rider to track their progress round the route. Easy-ups we're in place with a selection of bikes on display including the whole of the new range of off-road bikes from Felt, and some really tasty Lazer helmets - I do wish they'd stop tempting me like that - maybe I do need some neon in my life! 


After a short briefing we dibbed our timers and were off, around 90 riders in total, the dibber system keeps pelotons from forming. A wide range of styles of bikes had set off, some CX and some MTB, it would be seen shortly as to who had made the best decision. I'd chosen to ride my Kinesis ATR Tripster - an adventure 'cross type of bike - and my partner Ali had chosen to ride her Kinesis FF29'er. We hadn't realised at the time which bike would be favoured where. Setting off up the road with quite high pressures in my tyres for a cx bike I was spinning along nicely. 

Now it must be pointed out (just incase you'd not noticed) that it has rained rather a lot of late. As we headed off up the first soggy track we got a first taste of just how much. My small nobly tyres had started to spin and Ali's big nobly tyres were taking the lead. That was until the slop really began, and the climbing. Thick sloppy gloopy shoe sucking mud greeted us as we made our way up onto the moors.

The Tripster is easy to carry, sitting on my shoulder as I squelched my way upwards. Ali however was having a bit more fun pushing her big wheels upwards. There was good humour from the other riders as they helped her get her bike over a small river and then one kind gent dragged it up the steep bank on the other side as Ali let the spikes in her shoes aid her scramble. 


Still heading north, we made it up onto a flatter action of moorland; I was sinking with my skinnier tyres into 5-6" of surface water and the marshy surface, Ali however, was getting on a little better with her wider tyres.

A super sloppy descent followed, which I found quite tricky with the hidden rocks in the mud soup so ran quite a bit, while Ali rode - much to the amusement of SportSunday's photographers who kept shouting "get back on the bloody thing". Come to think of it they're always shouting that at me!  

Thankfully we hit some track and were able to finally feel like we were getting somewhere. The slop, however, wasn't being too kind to brake pads. I'd had a feeling that it might be the case and had stuck a spare set in my pocket. My front brake was doing very little and the back one not much more. Stopping to swap pads cost us some time and in a small field it then put us close to the back. 

The feed was at Tosside with huge slab sized portions of ginger and chocolate flapjack. It was a chance for one of the Green Jersey mechanics to have a quick check of my brakes before setting off into Gisburn Forrest Trail centre and down the Hope line.


Now if I'm honest the Hope line was a bit much for me, it's designed for MTB and not CX although a skilled rider may well be fine. The North Shore section scared me as my brain reads wet wood as super skippy, I think it did take a couple of cx riders out too. Safely back onto the roads and dibbing in again we headed off to make our way back south to the Green Jersey. 

The wind had picked up a bit and Ali was tucked in behind me, we did see a couple of riders who'd got lost suddenly pass us again. They were in good spirits though. There does seem to be a large amount of event sabotage going on these days. When I'd chatted with the organiser about the signs it appears that around half of them had gone missing over night. GPX coming into it's own. 


Turning off the tarmac once again we were back into water saturated moorland. I do wonder what this route would be like if the off-road sections were a bit more ridable, it was all very beautiful on the moors though. Ali passed me and into a near axle deep puddle. A laughing farmer pointed us in the direction of the route, glistening in the wintery sun. Slop slop slop, squelch squelch squelch. Dibbing in again and off onto some more rideable tracks. I quite enjoyed this bit as we wove our way back towards Clitheroe and a well deserved giant sausage butty and a freshly brewed coffee. 


Now something that marks this event out as different is the finish. A warm greeting inside the shop from the staff and the roaring log burner. A huge TV on the wall with the Worlds CycloCross playing out. All in all a well organised event with really good safety checks in place with all the timing boxes round the course. We were relatively lucky with the weather as those moors can be harsh if it turns on you. Really good fun - nice to do something a bit different too. I'll have some waterproof socks for next time though! 

Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 7 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 6 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 10 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 7 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 7 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 9 out of 10
Overall Rating 80.0%