Crystal Palace is one of the most well known of the London circuits, and possibly the oldest, with cycle racing having taken place there as far back as 1937. Circuits used in the past were on the full perimeter of the old 2-mile motor racing track.
In the modern era, the cycle circuit covers a 0.8-kilometre loop in the upper section of Crystal Palace Park. Its notorious dead turn known as “willow tree corner”, the sweeping bend at the bottom of the descent, and the drag back up to the finishing straight make this course a real adrenaline ride. Handy hint - on the sweeping bend at the bottom of the descent, look through the bush on the left, rather than down the banking on the right! Every Tuesday, while at work, racers of all levels are filled with a mixture of dread and excitement in the hours running up to the evening blast around the Palace.
After the race, people are buzzing after what will have been the best work-out of the week. In short, Crystal Palace is exciting!
It’s also a great place for spectators. The pleasant parkland surroundings allow people to sit on the grass and picnic while watching the riders whizz round no fewer than 30 times. It’s also a convenient weekly meeting point for the London cycling community.
Dulwich Paragon rider Karen Price, gives her thoughts on racing at Crystal Palace:
"It’s a love-hate relationship that I have with Crystal Palace. When I'm riding well I love that tough small twisting circuit. I love flying into the corners, braking as late as possible and then sprinting out but as it's such a small circuit, there's little time to recover and that hill always finds me out if I'm not as fit as I should be.
The trick with willow tree corner is to brake as late as possible going into
the corner, take the outside line and cut the apex. You'll probably be in
high gear before the corner as its at the end of the flat finishing straight
so remember to change down a couple of gears so that its possible to sprint
out of the corner.
Best of all, the Palace circuit is very close to where I live, and to the Dulwich Woodhouse which serves the best recovery drink of Double Chocolate Stout!"
Ananichoola will be offering a goody bag to the highest placed league rider at the round 3 race at Crystal Palace on April 20th. It will be a well earned prize!