DERP Report 4: DVV Trofee Krawatencross Lille

Love Thy Rainy Forecast

Krawatencross, or any sandy race for that matter, is about the only time I rejoice over a rainy forecast. But Drewfus, all cross racers love mud!!!!!?!?! Well on Instagram they sure do. When they’re scrubbing drivetrains, power washing kits, and picking grit out of their bellybuttons for three days, well, ask them then. But right now, ask me, “Why would you ever enjoy a rainy day at the beach?”

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

Elementary, Dear Watson. Rain makes the otherwise unforgiving sand just a little more merciful. A few thousand passes throughout the day will pack in a proper race line that rolls fast and berms up oh so nice in the corners. Of course this race line is like powering along a tight rope of pain and misery, which brings us to our next point…

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

The Three-Meter Myth

First of all, I invite you all to find a Euro Cross course (outside of the heavily scrutinized World Cup tracks) that adhere to the three meter rule, which states courses must be three meters (ninish American feet) from tape to tape, start to finish. A track like Lille is no exception, though compliance would be futile anyway. They could give racers 20 feet, and we’d still gravitate to those eight inches of race line that swoop through the beach.

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

In reality, the ruts, berms and straights that form are the only place to be. Stray from the well worn path, and it’s sand plowing and compounding misery for the remainder of the race. Stuck in the rut–it’s the only place to be…

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

What Lies Beneath

Over the course of the race the ruts deepen into become rim-swallowing holes. They hook closer to the posts. They grow braking bumps in the ruts (a proper bicycle bucking bronco ride, if you ask me). The tires erode the beach at a pace nature can only envy. They excavate all kinds of long lost, often malicious objects. What the Television does not show, are the square edge metal plates that emerge in the ruts.

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

The sharp edges that you still speed toward (don’t even think about touching those brakes), and hop up, float over, or just plain smash into. The sand maestros dance through these narrow chasms, floating over the shrapnel with grace and poise. The others? Well poor timing may send them scurrying to the pit on a sidewall-less tubular, hoping for better luck next ronde…

Two of Those Things Are Not Like the Others

For all the hero ruts on the beach and loamy lines in Lille’s pine forest, the track has two corners glaringly out of place. These muddy, greasy bends catch riders out, even the best of ‘em. One is just before the first wooded section and the barriers. It’s a muddy right-hander into a climb with grease from tape to tape. There are two ruts, and FYI, the deep one on the right is NOT the right choice (better luck next ronde).

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

In past years this corner has taken out rippers like Lars Van Der Haar. The other sneaker comes after the long power section following the start finish straight. It’s a harmless looking chicane with schmeary, off-camber apex. It’s so tricky that it sent Mathieu Van Der Poel uncharacteristically slipping and sliding along the ground. Not even the World Champ is safe, on a course like Krawatencross…

© 2019 Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

All Photos by Tomás Montes / @arrieredupeloton

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One thought on “DERP Report 4: DVV Trofee Krawatencross Lille

  1. Ain’t nothin’ lie the Real thing Baby !

    Almost like being there… great riding…writing… nice work .

    Stanley Frank

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