Report: ATH Cross 2018 at Pikionis Park
2018 is meant to be a pivotal year for cyclocross racing in Greece. After a hiatus of almost 30 years the sport is making a comeback with a National Championship announced by the Greek Cycling Federation this coming January. This amazing and technical discipline has been wiped out entirely by mountain bike racing for so long that there is practically no racer still active that remembers it. Nevertheless the resurrection is being orchestrated by few loyal followers with passion, patience and faith.
This year the 48×17 Cycles team gathered together to offer a full day of off-road CX action at the beautiful Pikionis Park location with the participation of the Filothei-Psychiko Municipality and Aetos CC. The shcedule offered Tracklocross, Cyclocross and MTB short course racing.
The event started with this year’s dose of faithful Tracklocross supporters, substantially smaller field than the previous 2 years. Tracklocross, meaning fixed gear bikes on dirt, is growing fast most notably in California and Japan with a busy racing calendar. It retains the essense of the fixed gear revolution, taking the simplest form of bike and use it in the most unconventional but fun way. This year it was Sotos Meligdis that came in with full force and using smart tactics and a fair bit of skill took the first place at the podium.
We sincerely hope that people riding fixed in Athens will give it a shot and use this chance to advance the scene into new horizons. The future will tell.
Next up was cyclocross and we couldnt be more happy with the warm reception our call has had. A record participation with racers/teams traveling from Halkida and Thessaloniki as well as some of the best crossers of Athens. The field consisted of ELITE/MASTERS and OPEN categories.
The course was designed with lots of techy details. It started with a long sprint straight and then criss-crossed through the forest with lots of tight turns and off-camper sections that would make racers use their mind to make decisions of wether to dismount and run or push/pull and ride. A steep run up and a couple of barriers made the difference and the winners in the end as the strongest riders stayed on the saddle. Those that made the best lines and had practise their technique on dismounting were the ones that made the most out of the course, as it should be with CX.
Apart from the usual strength that we have seen from Ginis, Michalis et al it was Tom Donhou’s outstanding performance that made the highlight of the day as he destroyed the field riding up the steepest climb and hoping over barriers with precise technique. Only to suffer from a flat on the last lap.
Another fresh presence was that of Nikos Maragos in the MENS ELITE riding for WEST COAST, an ex MTB champion, coming lately into CX – riding with clarity, style and a good attitude. it was him that managed to control the pace mid-race and took advantage of Donhou’s flat to claim first place at the podium.
The MTB race was as strong and fast. Many racers swap bikes to 29ers and had a go at the course again. The “King of Stoke” title for this year goes surely to Panagiotis Dallas having raced all 3 events (tracklocross, CX, MTB) and finishing in totally decent rank in all of them!
Giorgos Ginis was again spectacularly fit and we really enjoyed watching the team spirit of ALFA cycling racers and supporters and the fun aspect they brought to the game. We would like to see more of this attitude.
So that is a wrap for this year’s ATH CROSS race.
We would like to thank all racers that participated, our sponsors Handpickers Coffee Roasters, Cadence and Chrome industries.
All photographs by Petros Gkotsis.
Production team: Dionysis Souliotis, Iason Argyrakis, Fondas Nikolakopoulos, Matthaios Papadopoulos, Kostas Zdralis.
Referee: Dimitris Konstantopoulos.
With the support of Municipality of Psychiko/Filothei.
Organised by Aetos CC.