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The UKs best cyclocross course? - Peel Park, Bradford

Alan Dorrington is a Planet X cyclocross team rider and 'cross blogger. Over the weekend Alan headed over to Bradford for the Peel Park round of the National Trophy. Part of Britain's elite 'cross series, Peel Park is regarded as one of the best our country has to offer.

The National Trophy course at Peel Park, Bradford is for me, the complete cyclocross course. It has everything – hard climbs, running climbs, treacherous descents, tricky off camber, barriers and slick corners. Lots of slick corners. It is regarded as the hardest of the current crop of National standard courses and as successful ‘cross book author Simon Burney puts it – ‘it shows up the technical limitations of many.’ As he explains, good technique there leads to 'free' time gains, no extra training required.

I also always look forward to riding Bradford because with its December or January slot in the calendar, mud always plays a big part. Lots of mud. Even when conditions are relatively dry, as they were this past weekend, the mud makes itself felt in the most innocuous of places, where very short sections that are ridden sub-optimally can result in big time losses over the course of a race. When properly muddy is it is the ultimate mudder where you better hope you can get a spare bike, or better still have a competent pit crew.

And then there is the run up before the finish straight. Steep, very slippy and uneven under foot, this too can be a race decider or somewhere a lot of time can be gained with good technique. Try it without toes studs and you’ll be flat on your face. Teammate Dave Haygarth took this great video of action on the run up:


Bradford is also a great social event - as the main Northern National Trophy round it attracts a lot of people as spectators rather than riders and catching up with everyone is always part of the day. I met up with friends Richard and Jo Allen to prepare for my morning race. As well as being an elite level startline-helper and ‘cross soigneur, Jo is also a prolific photographer of all things ‘cross. Her pics tell the story of the day:

Planet X XLS carbon cyclocross bike from the rear

Time for a warm up and a course recce

Planet X XLS gets involved in the Peel Park National Trophy

Turbo warm-up

Alan Dorrington prepares for the National Trophy with his On-One Pickenflick Ti

To the start line

The Pickenflick flying over one of the infamous push sections

In to the infamous run up

Alan shouldering the Pickenflick up one of the tougher inclines


On-One Pickenflick deep in mud at the National Trophy 2014

Neatly over the barriers

Alan takes advantage of the Pickenflick's generous mud clearance

A bit of leg

On-One Pickenflick Ti in all its muddy glory

My On-One Pickenflick was completely clog free in the sticky conditions

Finishing straight On-One Pickenflick National Trophy

Final push to the finish

All Pictures: Jo Allen

17 December 2013


  • Max W
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    Great to see you going so well. I was looking forward to riding this course again and looking for a top ten finish, but my dirty disco needs a new mech hanger and wheel caps for planet x carbon tubular wheels none in stock. Never mind!

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