It happens often enough in cyclo-cross. But regardless of how familiar riders get with racing in it, muddy conditions are always sure to throw a spanner in the works.
“For me, the mud was a deciding factor in all of the races at this year’s worlds,” says photographer Chris Auld. “For any rider who got a bad start it was almost impossible to come back from. The mud was so cloying it was hard to put the power down.”
No wonder then that the muddy conditions became the pre-occupative theme for Auld when shooting across the preparation and two competition days of the championships in Valkenburg.
“It amazes me how the bikes still work with all of the mud clogging up the moving parts, not to mention how impressive the riders are just pedalling through the stuff, never mind staying upright.”
Not that they managed that all the time. In this collection of pictures, Auld turns his attention to the thrills, spills and general chaos of racing, and even just warming-up, in such conditions.