Claire Aubrey is one of the pioneers and stars of the Canberra Cyclocross scene. We asked her how it all started, what her best memory is along with a few questions about her CX career.
1. When did you do your first cx race and where?
I had watched and supported Paul and his brilliant mate Greg run the massively successful, inaugural ‘Sweat and Sand’ cyclocross series in the summer of 2011-12. This was the real beginning of cross in WA but I was purely support as my belly grew and grew awaiting Nina’s arrival. It wasn’t until our farewell race held in July 2012 that I got to have a go. And I was hooked!
2. How was that experience?
It was great to be back racing having done a fair bit of mountain biking and road before having Nina. But what I loved was the ridiculousness of it. Doing stupid things on an inappropriate bike felt great and when I slipping and sliding through the off-camber sections in the casuarinas just made me laugh!
3. What’s your best cx memory and why?
The winter of 2019 was my best by far. I had placed 3rd in Elite at a few national rounds and was pumped for National Champs at Sam Miranda in Victoria. That Saturday is both my best and most devastating cx memory. Firmly in 3rd at the start of the final lap, I started to think that maybe, just maybe, my dream of standing on that podium with the incredible Peta Mullins and Bec Locke could be possible.
But it wasn’t to be. Somehow my rear mech got horrendously bent with a gear change in the mud, broke 4 spokes and jammed my rear wheel. I had no choice but to shoulder my bike and run half the lap through the mud to the pits for my spare. I finished 9th. But I did finish. It wasn’t until I placed 7th the next day, completely exhausted that I felt devastation sink in. But I am still proud of myself.
4. What’s your favourite thing about cx?
Everybody is welcome and everybody has a ball, however they’re part of it. The smallness of the community makes it more like a family and it’s one my family and I love being part of. And if you’re lucky enough, sometime, somebody you don’t know might chant the jaws theme through their personal megaphone as you gain on a fellow racer in the switchbacks.
5. What’s your cx goal this season?
After 3 seasons off for various reasons, I’m attempting to get fit and do a couple of the national rounds. I’m definitely on the old side but hey, it’s a family and everyone is welcome right?
6. What’s your best tip/s to someone that’s new to cx?
Watch a video on dismounting and remounting. Practice at the park sometimes. It makes a massive difference. But much more importantly: Relax, laugh and have a great time. It feels ridiculous on some level, even to the seasoned professionals (I surveyed them).
If you’d like to get involved in cyclocross, come along to our next club race Sunday 2 July. All details are on EntryBoss.
Email our race Director if you have any questions.