Phil Gillam: Saddle up for Cyclo-cross championships in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury's best-kept secret. That's what Terry Egglestone of the Mid Shropshire Wheelers cycling club calls it.
What's he referring to?
Well, the fact that the county town is one of the hosts for a prestigious national cycling race – the Cyclo-cross championships.
Shrewsbury's involvement in the event has also been described as "an incredible coup for the town."
And it's all happening this coming weekend.
Round Five of the 2016/17 British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross series will take place at Shrewsbury Sports Village off Sundorne Road.
Almost 500 riders are taking part – men and women, boys and girls – across 10 races.
And if you fancy popping along to enjoy the action, it's completely free to spectate.
Terry says the high quality of the cycle circuit there at Sundorne was key to attracting such an important event to the town and he is keen to salute the former Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council for creating Shrewsbury Sports Village 10 years ago.
Enthusing about the cycle facilities at the sports village, Terry said: "This is one of only two purpose-built and fully-lit facilities in the West Midlands and was the result of Mid Shropshire Wheelers lobbying the local authority and approaching British Cycling for funding advice.
"By the way, in 2016 alone the Mid Shropshire Wheelers spent almost £5,000 in hiring the track for training sessions and races for all cyclists, all abilities and all ages from six to 60-plus.
"And anyone is welcome to join us at one of our Tuesday evening all-ability sessions."
Turning his attention to this Sunday's event, Terry said: There will be 10 races ranging from Under-14 Boys then Girls through to Veteran Women and Men. This is one of a number of regional and national events which the club have promoted during the last 10 years and the cycling community at large – perhaps unlike most Shrewsbury residents – are well aware of the site and its great potential."
The race programme on Sunday commences at 10.15am and the last race starts at 2.45pm.
Further information at the Mid Shropshire Wheelers website: www.midshropshirewheelers.com
CYCLING NEWS ITEM 2: While on the subject of two-wheeled transportation (and with Christmas on the horizon) I want to mention a superb little video that's been created by Shrewsbury's specialist bike shop, the Quest 88 Cycling Hub at St Julian's Friars near the Greyfriars Bridge. The festive film cleverly brings together bicycle bells and jingle bells in a little seasonal treat. Check it out:
AND FINALLY: If you haven't yet got yourself tickets for this year's pantomime – Cinderella – at Theatre Severn, then do so. It's marvellous.
I've got to say that the show is not only all the things you expect a pantomime to be (colourful, outrageous, ridiculous, fast-moving, and hilarious), but it is also (at times) genuinely moving.
My admiration for the brilliant Brad Fitt (this year playing the part of Buttons) knows no bounds.
Yes, he's a natural comedian with fantastic comic timing, but he also managed to bring a tear to my eye during the romantic scenes between himself and Cinders. In the great tradition of comic actors like Norman Wisdom, Brad Fitt is able to have you laughing one minute, crying the next. This guy is just so talented.
As I say, if you and the family fancy an evening of pure escapism, do yourself a favour and go and see Cinderella.