For a second year in a row with the continuous support of Filothei/Psychiko municipality, 48×17 team hosted ATH CROSS 2019 at the beautiful Pikionis Park. It was an amazing sunny 25 degrees kind of greek winter day after a few days of relentless non stop rain. The dirt was wet and soft and just ideal for off-road racing. The schedule included cyclocross (ELITE, MASTER, OPEN), tracklocross (OPEN) and MTB XC (ELITE, MASTERS, OPEN, YOUTH).
A major difference this year was a longer course, substantially more technical with extra elevation added to it. There were hurdles to jump over, tight turns, a mud pond, steep run ups and a new section with a quick steep drop followed by a techy off-camper section before it returned to flat. It was a full on technical race course and the soft dirt made it even better.
First up was tracklocross. A new style of off-road discipline for fixed-gear bikes only, it is not hard to say that 2019 was the year for tracklocross worldwide. With an ever expanding championship in the US, Japan and Europe tracklocross is bringing freshness to track bike racing reinvigorating the scene. It is the simplicity again that does the trick but this time applied to dirt. We would like to see more and more people participating and giving it a shot, and for this reason we always make sure our course is accesible and fun.
Defending champion Sotos Meligdis found it hard to defend its title, Michalis Keskinidis rode in a dominating manner all the way through cutting corners and keeping a steady rhythm that followed him to the podium. Great riding from Yiannis Karagiorgos again and great to see new comers to the small line up.
Next one up was the cyclocross race, the most difficult we have designed so far admittedly and surely the most technical. A smaller field than last year, it was felt mostly in the front pack as Dimitris Rovakis smashed the course in an almost flawless manner taking advantage of the absense of its most powerful rivals. Halfway up the race he almost lapped the tail of the field.
Other riders provided good skills, Goulielmos Sgourakis pushed for good and as always is nice to see Panos Parras creating on the dirt. Overall everybody seemed to manage the hurdles better than last year although the steep run up tricked quite few of them for one more time. As it is always the case those riders that made the right lines and the right dicissions to dismount or not made the impact although this time it was lungs and legs that made the difference for the win.
After the CX the course was ready for MTB XC. New racers joined while some swapped bikes to do the XC as well. Hurdles and obstacles were thrown out and the course became faster and more aggressive. These parks scattered around the city provide great opportunity for a fun day out with your bike and we would like to do more events that are focused on this kind of mentality. It is our belief that cycling is a great spectacle that can be enjoyed by all.
Till next year, keep shredding and never give up the stoke!
Organised by 48×17 Cycles with Panathinaikos CC.
Hosted by the Municipality of Filothei/ Psychiko.
Many thanks to Red Bull Greece for its support.
All photographs by Mike Paschos.
Kostas Zdralis, Matthaios Papadopoulos, Panos Sinopoulos, Tassos Tsakos, Iason Argyrakis.
Medical Assistance: Emmanuela Vatsaki
Referee: Dimitris Konstantopoulos
48×17 Canteen: Xristos Xronis, Marios Zaros, Tassos Bintsis.