With the new year here, cyclo-cross was back to full force over the weekend with Belfast hosting the National Cyclo-cross Championships.
Some 133 riders signed up to compete across the women's, vets', juniors' and the elite men's events.
Straight from the gun, Roger Aiken of Belfast, last year's champion, was off and into the first corner, steadily opening a gap on the rest of the field as the rain came down in full force and transformed the course into a muddy, puddle-ladened nightmare for some.
Robin Seymour and Aiken's technical skills equipped them with steady hands and sound minds as they battled the course's hilly terrain. Seymour, 18-time national cyclo-cross champion, gave Aiken solid pressure throughout the day but in the end Aiken triumphed with nearly a two minute lead.
Seymour said Aiken was in a league of his own on the day. Glenn Kinning came in third.
Fran Meehan, the defending elite women's champion, retained her title-- despite the threat of Mel Spath and Maeve O'Grady, who finished second and third respectively. Meehan gave it her all -- and then some, after suffering a crash -- but she got back on the bike and made up lost time and despite requiring five stitches, claimed victory.