The British National Cyclocross Championships took place this weekend for the first time since January 2020, after last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The battle to be crowned British cyclocross champion was decided in mudbath conditions at The South of England Showground near Crawley on 9 January.
The course featured technical downhills, unrideable banks and twisty bends. Thick mud made the going very slow, with the elite men completing only five laps in an hour’s racing.
Here, we present an in-depth look at two totally different bikes that took home the spoils in the women’s and men’s editions.
Your 2022 British cyclocross champions
Harriet Harnden of Trek Factory Racing CX produced a commanding performance to win the elite women’s race for the second time.
In the absence of Zoe Backstedt, who has won several World Cup races this year but was unable to compete due to a positive coronavirus test, the defending champion held off Annie Last (Scott Racing) by 15 seconds.
Reigning British champion and Ineos Grenadiers rider Tom Pidcock sat out the elite men’s race, but there was no shortage of drama. Cameron Mason and Thomas Mein were neck and neck until Mason’s foot slipped out halfway through.
The Trinity Racing rider dug in to catch his Tormans Cyclo Cross Team rival before Mein opened up a gap through the quarry section on the last lap. The 22-year-old held his lead to win by four seconds.
What bikes did the winners ride?
Harriet Harnden – Trek Boone
The Trek Boone is an all-out cyclocross machine from Harnden’s team sponsor and bike supplier, Trek.
At a glance, the Boone’s curvy tubes could cause you to mistake the CX racer for the Trek Emonda.
The bike has clearance for rubber up to 38mm wide. In adherence to UCI rules, Harnden opted for 33mm Challenge Limus cyclocross tyres, which proved popular with other riders in the mud. They held just 19psi and went on Bontrager Aeolus XXX2 wheels.
1x drivetrains are commonplace in cyclocross racing, where simplicity is key and the wide range of a double is unnecessary, and Harnden chose a single-ring SRAM Red eTap AXS electronic groupset with a 38t chainring and 10-33t cassette.
A Garmin mount was integrated into the 80mm stem, which Harned has gradually lowered through the current CX season, while the hoods were slightly raised for extra control on the course’s steep downhills.
Her distinctive Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals, with plastic spacers to increase foot stability, were fitted to the 170mm cranks.
Thomas Mein – Cube Cross Race TE
Last year’s version had an alloy frame, but Cube says its 2022 carbon model weighs 900g, shaving off a claimed 200g.
The biggest difference from Harnden’s bike is the groupset. Mein went for a 46-36t double Ultegra crankset, paired with an 11-32t cassette. During the race, this saw him push a larger gear than the more diminutive Mason, who rode a 42t single chainring and 10-33t cassette.
The shifters, brakes and rear mech were Shimano Dura-Ace. Mein would normally use an all-Ultegra setup but supply issues have forced him to trade up for the 2021/22 campaign.
Otherwise, Mein ran Newmen Advanced R50 Streem wheels also shod with Challenge Limus tyres, inflated to about 20psi.
A Prologo Zero saddle sat atop a Ritchey seatpost. Lastly, Mein chose a pair of Shimano’s XT M8100 pedals.