We don’t want to harp on as we’ve had a fairly good summer here in the UK, but the nights are drawing in – Fact! A good ride after work now means lights are essential and anything before 06:30 is just miserable, dark and misty.
Anyone who’s been out riding and has ridden through the day – night light transition will know how hard it is on the eyes and this is often when close calls happen! This doesn’t deter the Pro’s though, nor many racers in fact. Hey if I can manage it anyone can!
The dusk-time hire bike race.
The array of night races is quite interesting and they are definitely thrilling to watch, here are a few;
Cross Vegas: the largest cyclocross event in North America.
Taking place tomorrow night (Wednesday) Cross Vegas is the first UCI C1 race of the year. Last year the race was graced with Mr Lance Armstrong’s presence:
Not on this years start list he’s sure to be missed although knowing Las Vegas, there will still be plenty of people wanting to party the night away afterwards. It always seemed to attract a certain Tiger Woods for some reason….!
“Heading into its fourth year, CrossVegas has become a fixture on the U.S. cyclocross calendar attracting almost 10,000 spectators to the stadium-like setting of Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas. The race takes place after the first day of the Interbike Show and attracts bicycling industry members from around the world as well as cycling and cross enthusiasts from throughout the U.S.”
Last year’s overall series winner Jeremy Powers is racing plus Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll (all US trophy winners). One to watch out for is the Rapha-Focus rider Chris Jones who’s been training hard and keen to make an impression on this years standings.
If you go let us see your pictures – prizes for PBK jerseys on show!
In the UK, the Newport Nocturne is one of the biggest night races we have. A usually sleepy town with historic buildings and cobbles is the host to an evening of bike racing which the town’s businesses really get behind. 25 sets of floodlights do their best to light the way, with over 14,000 fans cheering the riders on. The atmosphere created by the fast racing, live music and superstar riders makes for a great night.
24 hour racing: a new phenomenon?
With the rise in popularity of 24 hour races (many for charity) racing in the dark in unavoidable. We’ve had a go at the Ride24 race and found it tough, Dave has raced the Castelli 24 hour race in Italy (review here) and there are plenty more to choose from if the thought of racing in the dark for 3 hours appeals.
Don’t forget that even on a nice summers night the temperature will drop quickly with clear skies. Warmers are vital to make sure you can ride through it.
The Vuelta Stage 1 Night TTT
An artificially illuminated 13km course greeted the riders on the opening team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana in Seville where Mark Cavendish managed to win the red jersey. If the Pro’s can do it anyone can and there is something about night racing which makes it a whole lot more exciting.
Next up is a set of monster lights! If you can get your hands on some decent lights it will make the night stints far easier and enjoyable: a 900 lumen beast like this should do the trick!
If you’re regularly training or commuting in the dark then anything with reflective elements will help to keep you safe and visible on the roads. Look out for gloves, overshoes and warmers which feature some sort of reflective logo – car lights really catch these and will help you to be seen.
A couple of hints & tips:
- When oncoming cars start to blind you, close one eye on approach and then open it after the car has passed for a slightly less blurred view (don’t end up in the hedge for the first few tries! Try at your own risk.).
- Warmers, whether arm, leg or knee all help to keep you warm once the sun drops. If you’re regularly riding in the dark then a high viz jacket makes good sense.
- In that dusky period between day and night things get harder to spot and you WILL get caught out. Whether it’s hitting that drain cover or not seeing a branch which sticks out of the hedgerow, you need to make sure your attention doesn’t drop.
- Lights are an important addition, check out our massive range here.
- Also at this time, vehicles will be having the same problems, while your white vernice shoes might look bright as anything at home without sunlight they aren’t. Keep your brakes covered when riding past junctions and expect drivers not to see you!
- Racing in the dark is great but again, your attention will drop at times and in a pack on a tight course this can be bad news!
- Those of you who normally wear a cap with a peak, make sure if you’re riding using flasher/strobe lights that the underside of the visor isn’t catching these pulses as they can really mess with your head!
Who’s entered a night-race then? Any more night riding tips? Hopefully this has encouraged rather than put you off, it’s quite an addictive pursuit and once you give it a go, you may no longer look forward to those long summer night crits!