You'd be forgiven for thinking that the cyclocross season was long over, especially with the road season in full swing. There was one race this weekend however that saw a lot of the winter's cyclocross stars back in action, but not against the usual backdrop of muddy fields and dirt tracks.
The Urban Cyclocross ZÃ¼rich events traded the fields of Flanders for the urban parcours of the Josefwiese park in ZÃ¼rich, making for one incredibly entertaining mash-up event…
A new take on cyclocross
The Urban Cyclocross event, hosted by EKZ Cross Tour, took to the streets of ZÃ¼rich this weekend with a new and unique style of racing. Watching the riders charge over pavements evoked a lot of nostalgia, harking back to childhood days of racing our friends from pillar to post on oversized mountain bikes and mini BMXs.
Unlike those days however, this event was official and hard fought between some of the sport's biggest names - Ellen Van Loy dominated the women's race with an emphatic solo victory.
The format is a little different to your standard cyclocross race, operating an eliminator format that consists of a series of ranked heats before the big finale. This whittles down the rather large field to a final group of six riders, making for an elite final race.
At the ZÃ¼rich event, riders tackled a number of different obstacles on the 1.4km course, our favourites being a beach volleyball court, a flight of city stairs and a van - yes, the riders really did ride through an open van!
Join the urban revolution
These urban cyclocross races are popping up all over the world, running alongside big city bike festivals in an attempt to spark interest in the awesome sport of cyclocross. Here in the UK you've got the new and upcoming Sheffield Urban CX event that tackles the urban parcours of central Sheffield, creating a fast-paced style of racing that's perfect for screaming roadside fans.
Plans for 2019 are still well under wraps at the moment but be sure to check out their website for news on when you're able to sign-up.
This kind of riding isn't just limited to designated events, and while you might need to be a little more cautious ripping around the city streets without marshals present, you're free to ride these urban routes whenever you want.
Devising your own routes around the local city centre could be a great alternative training session or way to freshen up your commute. Incorporating long flights of stairs, cobbled side streets and grass banks will really hone your cyclocross abilities - just make sure you're allowed to ride where you're riding and don't endanger any pedestrians in the process.
Grab your own urban adventurer
As well as being able to zip around urban obstacles at high speeds, cyclocross bikes also make great commuters - wide tyres and disc brakes are perfect for the unpredictable British weather. They're the ultimate urban adventure machines, allowing you to see your city in a totally new light.
That's where the Trek Crockett and Crossrip come in, two affordable bikes that pack one hefty punch. With reliable disc brakes, super-grippy tyres and a cyclocross-optimised geometry, these bikes are the perfect urban adventure companions that also won't break the bank.