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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

I Don't Always Know What You Are Saying

Up until a week ago you could almost be sure it was still 'cross season with the weather we had been having here in Melbourne. 

A trip out on the trails on Christmas Eve had us riding through moonscapes of thick brake-clogging mud, navigating fallen trees and playing guess-the-puddle depth while getting some good work done on our tanlines.

As much as I love the mud it was a bit hectic at times... and I began to long for some fast dry trails to 'roop' around on.

But really it wasn't as hectic as the recent US 'Cross Nats and I'm going to assure you this is the last batch of shots I'll post from it.


In other more local (and more interesting news) I can announce that Dirty Deeds now has something of a cousin/uncle in the form of a new schedule/series of rides. Based on a style of ride that is becoming popular (again, some might say) called the 'gravel grinder' it is better explained here.

With some eager and experienced riders behind it, it promises to provide some fun and challenging days in the saddle through terrain that may not be familiar to you (and if it is, all the better as they'd love your input on how we can adjust and improve in the future).

The first event is on Feb 6th and is ~80kms of mainly gravel with some asphalt in there. Details can be found on the site (and will continue to appear in the coming weeks).

For those of you wanting an excuse to build up your cross bike, or get some time out on the bike off-road this will be a great time and is a very grass-roots event.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Six Months In A Leaky Boat

More shots and a great video...
Embrocation Magazine do a wonderful printed publication and have partnered with some awesome people to make some sweet stuff. I really should posted their gift-buying tips before xmas.





Halloween Cross racing!


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

All-o-gistics

I'm a bit behind with the posts as I have a few pages open both at work that I've been meaning to put up here to showcase.

The first comes in the form of more amazing imagery from the very talented hands/eyes/cameras of Joe Sales in Portland.





Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

You Can't Make Friends With Salad

So much of the 'standard'  Euro 'cross race footage is focused on the actual race (often the last 2 laps) and comes with a soundtrack of commentators chatting along in an almost monotonic flemish.

However, the following videos are outstanding for a number of reasons. They capture more than just the racing, they have a (sometimes) decent soundtrack, they are amazingly well shot and most importantly they are all about the under-represented Womens Elite races.

Did you know that until this year only the World Cup races were required to have a Womens category, the 3 other major European UCI series had no such requirement. Given that the all-important starting call-up positions are decided by UCI points this is a huge deal.

I'm going to quote directly from CXMag's posts for each of them to emphasise the highlights:

Aigle

Aigle 2010 - 1ère manche de CDM cyclo-cross from Web Petitesreines on Vimeo.

No narration, just ambient sounds, stunning imagery and a glimpse behind the scenes of the top end of cyclocross. The short film has a little of the feel of the classic La Course en Tete, and to watch Sanne van Paassen crank on the trainer is reminiscent of a similar scene with Merckx riding the rollers in his attic.

Plzen

Plzen 2010 - 2nde manche de CDM cyclo cross from Web Petitesreines on Vimeo.

Mixed in you’ll find an explanation of sidewall protection, via sealant, in French (“plus robuste!”), warm-ups and course scouting, mechanics at work…. And the race footage? It’s the Cyclocross Coupe de Monde – oh yeah, it’s awesome. Think that these women don’t give it absolutely everything? Check out the post-race shots of American Sue Butler and others just after the finish line and you’ll quickly change that assessment.

Koksijde

Koksijde - 3ème Manche de CDM cyclo cross 2010/2011 from Web Petitesreines on Vimeo.


The scene now shifts to Koksijde, Belgium, for World Cup Round 3, and there’s plenty of flying sand, bulging muscles, grit and determination.

And that concludes our viewing for today...

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Sing-Along Summer Song

The always informative HipsterNascar has some great shots/captions of the Illinois State CX Champs. Looks like a complete contrast to our balmy/stormy weather here that is playing merry hell with the trails and regular rides.

In other news there is a new contender in the 'cross parts market... for all your technical and psychological needs please only consider SKRONGLITE.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Friends Back East

While 'Cross is all-encompassing, friendly and a heck of a lot of silly don't think there isn't a whole set of 'rules' that define PRO.

While the roadies have them up in lights on the internet, I'm yet to see the CX version clearly documented (perhaps for good reason).

Luckily one of the More Prominent Identities of US Cross has posted up something of a "Do's and Don'ts" to help shine a little light on how to 'look good'.



*Please note that taking any of the "rules" too seriously may affect your ability to simply enjoy cross riding and racing and if this occurs please cease to follow the directions. In fact if that happens please watch the video in this post IMMEDIATELY!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Monday, 15 November 2010

Exquisite Corpse

So you are a multiple world CX champ, have won 9 SuperPrestige titles, numerous World Cups and other big races, had UCI rule changes created because of the effect of your technical abilities... ride for a very prestigious team... purportedly turn up to races with stationwagons full of wheels.

And then this happens...

And you need a competitor's pit crew to bring you a bike.
But you are calm enough to go back out and re-establish your lead and win.
Best of all you don't have a hissyfit and blame your staff.

For some great technique check this out from the same video. Bart Wellens is a study in good form whether leaping barriers or railing turns.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Chandelier Swing

Someone remarked recently that one of the great parts of cyclocross is the imagery. So many of the shots (especially the black and white ones) carry a raw emotion that harks back to 7" record covers of my younger days. Like shots from the Spring Classics the variety of (often adverse) conditions and energy expended racing make for some brilliant shots.

But enough words... here are some images that have grabbed me recently.





Coming up soon:
- The Yoda of CX's 'Cross Fashion Do's and Don'ts'
- How to win interstate CX races and make friends

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blazing the Crop

And so it begins... after perusing the recaps of the past weekend's racing it would look like the sky has begin to fall. By that I mean that mud is now a feature rather than a threat on many of the courses and like I mentioned in my last post with it comes a new set of skills.


Of course I might just be happy because Sven Nys is finally coming into form. And what form...





Watch the first few minutes to get a feel for the course (which is awesome).


Check out 10:25 to see how you do a run-up. Fast steps, fluid movement, skilled descending and all that... even Rob Peeters has to shake his hands after that.


Then see how the former world champ and still very quality rider Niels Albert does it at 11:05 (not so well). That will certainly be in the 'Highlights Reel' at the end of the season.


Any doubt that this was a HARD course should be erased by the sight of one of the top 4 riders in the world blundering around the course. Take a look at Tom Meeusen's face to see more evidence of how much suffering was going on. 


Of course the elephant in the room is that Stybar wasn't present, prefering to spend his time in sunny (and dry) Majorca training and taking a well-earnt break from racing (actually that should be winning).


In other news: One third of the DDCX organsiers is road-tripping up to the nation's capital with a motley crue of 'crossers for the race this Saturday. Look for the Brunswick CC jerseys and don't be afraid to say Hi!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

Some great shots and words from a longtime contributor to the sport...
Who said Bicycling had nothing to offer 'real cyclists'?

For all the MTB'ers out there this looks good.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Running Up That Hill

Seeing this reminded me that I'd been meaning to post this video of how 'cross courses apparently used to be.


(as GK says 8:32 is where you get to see the mud and pain, but there is some excellent run-up footage a couple of minutes in).

If you are a budding CX course designer (like me!) you have been watching all the p.o.v course videos that are all over the sites looking for ideas.

One thing I've noticed is that US courses often tend towards the grass crit style course and the euro races have more 'challenges' and rely on more technique/skills, mud or not.

This, in fact, has been mentioned as one reason (of a few) why the top US racers tend to struggle over the ocean from home.

Not being a former/budding/current A-grader or road demon I tend to prefer courses that entertain (and maybe challenge) the rider and try and limit the leads those riders with big engines can build on the easier terrain while also making them simple enough that beginners can still complete them. We joked about a 3 flight run-up for Round#2 but ultimately i was going to veto it as it would have been a disaster after 2 laps. Slippery, wet concrete stairs while hyperventilating and carrying a mud-laden bike?

So it should come as no surprise that I was really pumped to watch this clip. There are some tough runups and the course, while flowy looks like it has some good pinchpoints to test the riders bike handling. Add in some barriers and I'd be very happy to race it. Of course like every good cross course I know I'd be hating it by mid-race.

Check out a great post on The Service Course for some interesting history as well (and the original source of the link).

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Beard Of Shame

This looks like a (non)seriously good time...
Go Canada! (and my favourite shop 'mighty riders' reppin' a 3rd row call-up! 1:40-ish in)



Lots more hilarious photos here

Word is that it will be in SF next year... mmmm

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Over The James

Doing it right...
[photo courtesy Matt Haughey]
click for embiggening

He Was A Friend Of Mine

This post could just as easily be titled "Got Mud' as a rip-off (or homage) to the 'Got Milk' ads, except that the two authors don't drink milk and those ads really annoy me.






But instead let's focus on something more important - the fact that 'the wet' has definitely arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and with it comes great visuals from the 'cross racing that occurs there.



Coming at you courtesy of the sharp eyes and mind of Embrocation Magazine who continue to evolve and produce some great content.

Here's hoping that this weekend's forecasted storms bring a little mud back to Melbourne (but they can leave the current warmth as well thanks!)

And for a more light-hearted and amusing view of the odd world that 'cross inhabits - a comic!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Boy With the Arab Strap

Even in the off-season there are those of us who are still out riding the mixed terrain that 'cross bikes are so suited to.

At the same time with so many races occurring far, far away I'm studying other's course designs and plotting away for next year's series.

This might be one of the best PRO courses I've seen...

from here.

Some great little features- tight taped corners, twisty track, SAND! stairs, off-camber descents and corners... all the good stuff. Imagine how good it would have been with a little mud as well?

And how is this for a weekly training ride?

Boulder is a lovely city... and has a thriving 'cross scene to boot.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

People And Animals.

I know next winter is a long way away, but here at Dirty Deeds we like to plan ahead. So we're already scoping out new courses. Do you have any ideas for a sweet CX course in the inner city? Leave a comment here and we'll go check it out!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pretty Girls Make Graves

In those daydreaming moments we all have where you compile your 'ultimate' bike, the 'cross bike of my mind has always had TRP EuroX's (probably the magnesium ones because they do come in all kinds of sweet colours). Used by a lot of the elite pelotons both in upstart USA as well as the ever-traditional Europe they not only look PRO but deliver the goods (as much as cantis can).




However I started hearing hype on the new Avid Short Ultimates from our dear friends @ SRAM early this year. My first glance at them had me thinking 'Interesting... and different to the Shortys of past' (which never really stopped me short... aesthetically).

Then I read this and thought maybe I should be paying a little more attention, after all SRAM has developed quite the name for itself in 'cross circles, and I know Avid has a great name in the MTB disc braking world.



Fast forward to this, which is an excellent background the new brakes and their development/developer.

In my mind, I think I've 'made the leap'...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Made Of Bricks

This is 'blinglespeed'


Read more about it here.

The complete bike (to be won) comes set-up with custom-modified Di2 levers. High enough on the ridiculous, to be awesome.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sitting On Fire

Further to an earlier post the organisers of the CBR Cyclocross race have posted a pre-registration link.

Make your computer go here to provide your details if you plan to race...

In other news (and if you don't read the comments) plans for a Wangaratta race are moving slowly forwards and rumours are emerging of a Southern NSW 'Cross Crit later in November.

Oh and somewhere else in the world people are getting really muddy.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Not Just Another Mouth.

Hey, if anyone in the entire universe is still interested in hearing me talk about Cyclocross, I'm doing a radio interview with Geelong's 94.7 The Pulse at 3pm today. Pray for decent reception / hilarious anecdotes. That's right Eleanor, I will be talking about you.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rewind, Selector!

So you think 'cross season is over... well....
The nation's capital is coming through with something for the junkies to get another fix.

Emails are already circulating amongst the crew down here about making it up.

Given it's relative proximity to some of our new friends I'd suspect they might make an appearance as well.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Crail Life

While I look outside (down here in Melbourne) and you'd think winter was still very much in season, I can only point to the slowly rising mercury (Hey Kids - it's what we used before the internet made the B.O.M/TheAge/SMH/etc reasily available) to dissuade myself from this idea.

However on the other side of the world it's just the beginning of the 'Cross season and for those out there who have just caught the 'bug' here's some good background about who is who and what to (maybe) expect from them this year...

As for me, I'll be hoping that Tree-Bon uses his crazy long legs to push his Kona to a few titles in the US (the 'Tall Timbers' of Kona's Cx team are my favourite team hands-down - great attitudes and even better racers). The Cannondale team are really good, but to me they are bit like that team that always wins (and their goofy 9 ball kit leaves me cold, even if it isn't current).

Over in the 'heartland' I'll be watching for Nys to come back after a quieter season, as someone who is a slower starter I look to his ability to climb back through the field and into contention as an inspiration. I'm also partial to Pauwels for some reason (it may be the way his name sounds when the flemish commentators get excited) and the rationalist in me has to acknowledge Stybar for his amazing domination last year. Yeah - he was THAT good last year and earnt all his titles with hard work.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Hey! I Feel Alright!

Got a credit card? Here's how you should use it.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Here Comes Another One.

Everyone is psyched for CX! Sure, Dirty Deeds may have taken the torch and run with it this winter (and we'll be back again next June), but now it's in your hands. Convince Wangaratta Cycling Club, for example, to light some torches of their own. Scroll down that page a little bit to see what I'm talking about.

Like A Walk In The Grass.

While there's still no dedicated CX forum in Australia, if you're bored and looking to kill time at work, I'd suggest you check out here. This here blog will likely slow down a little bit over summer, but the folks at the forum there don't ever, won't ever, can't ever stop.

And yes, I know, I've gotta update the results / aggregate page. I'll get to it soon, alright?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Really Major Melody

After the fun and (mud)games of Dirty Deeds there is a heightened interest in buying a 'cross bike.
This was on my RSS reader (and is a great blog)
- which refers to this which is notable not for the actual post (which I'm not in full agreement with), but for the comments
- which lead me to this, which is a very good summary (IMO) of some of the aspects of fitting 'cross bikes.

Your mileage might vary... but you have to start somewhere.

Green Teeth Kiss

While Dirty Deeds is done for the year, the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross (the granddaddy of US CX series) is just about to begin.

Check the promo video out for some background to the series and 'cross in general (as well as some excellent race footage)...

U.S. gran prix of cyclocross from Jim Fryer/BrakeThrough Media on Vimeo.

We have also been lucky to have some great feedback on our series (and particularly the final event) from blogs, to tweets to interesting discussions to in-person high fives. Thanks again...

Monday, 30 August 2010

A Pendant.

The stage was once again set. We'd been down at the course all morning, banging in stakes and hanging up bunting. The beer was in the fridge and approximately six thousand vegie dogs were waiting to sizzle. The volunteers from Brunswick Cycling Club had purchased extra RedVines and Sesame Snaps (not to mention ten packs of ginger beer). The Morgan sisters were taking registration next to the vegan bake sale, and both were doing a roaring trade, even before the course was open. The commissaire's clipboard was poised, someone was seen on the rollers, and I was seen doing vocal warmups in the carpark. The third and final Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclocross Race was upon us.


Back at our ancestral homelands - the Harrison Street Velodrome - the course this time featured a number of extra devious additions. The first of these was a run up the side of the embankment leading on to the bike path. Pictured below is Sime, on his first and only lap. Shortly after this photo was taken he disappeared behind the clubrooms for a nasty hangover vomit.


The mudpit from round one was still included in the course, but in the ensuing months it had taken on considerably larger dimensions and a considerably more offensive stench. Which made falling into it hurt even more. Which didn't stop the good folks below from enjoying their time therein.

Sean The Man Hurley


Aron "Grandpa" Hemingway


Gene "On The Run". Sometimes these writeups feel a little bit too Benny Hill for my liking.


And, left to right, Jess, Anne-Michelle and Eleanor. The mudpit became one of the most popular viewing areas - whenever those of us in the middle of the track heard a roar from the mudpit (a roar that would make a Collingwood crowd complain about the noise) we knew someone else had just binned it - and as such it features in a number of photo albums I've linked to below. Jess spent more time in the mud than most people, and as such has her muddy face plastered all over the internet right now. She also won the prizes for best stack, which included a massage from Impact Massage (to soothe her battered body) and a bike service from Commuter Cycles (to soothe her battered bike).


Matt Gray had come second in the open category in the previous two races, and later admitted that he was pretty damn keen on getting the win this time around. And while Dyon Balding held on to his wheel for as long as humanly possible, Matt and his modified, brakeless fixie ended up winning by the proverbial paddock.


But let's face it, the real winner from the open category was Mr Dylan, who rode all three races on his BMX, and was given the persistance award for his efforts. He backed up Sunday's BMX ride with a ride in the CX category, and was heard to remark with earnest surprise how much easier it was on a bike designed for the type of race it was in. True to his roots, however, he is pictured here showing the young 'uns how it's done.


The Bananaspokes Crew came over from Adelaide and had obviously heard about the hotly contested "Best Outfit" award. Pictured is Sam Bell, who not only had that prize in the bag, but also put a lock on first place in the women's CX category, and also - in a shock turn of events - the women's CX aggregate. The Milky Bars were on her all the way home.


Greg Brunt helped set up and take down every course over the last few months, and brought the true Brunswick spirit to every race - that is, to be both fierce and and ridiculous. He was later given the "Inappropribike" award, even though his chicken-and-gumboots combo was more about his outfit.


A widely circulated GIF file from the first race shows Benzy Dowling being sprayed with beer. Here he is exacting revenge. Later those in the crowd simply shrugged their shoulders and said, "Yeah, we probably deserved that."


Eleanor - of Helmets are Hot Blog fame - is a poet. No kidding, she gets paid to write poems and read them out to people. So it's perhaps not altogether that surprising that this was her first ever venture into organized sport. Yeah, no kidding - no poison ball in primary school, no netball in highschool, no university drinking games. I can only hope that we encouraged her, and a future of living to beat the bejesus out of others is ahead of her. Either that or she writes a sweet poem about Cyclocross.


Huw Vellacot of Commuter Cycles was on hand early, offering free 'race prep' for the bikes of racers, and generally adding an air of charm and sophistication to proceedings. Somehow he made it around the entire course seven times with an open fourpack of Heinekens in his basket and didn't spill a drop.

After the race was done a call went up for the organizing team to have a crack at the course. One hot, timed lap. The course record was 4 minutes 57 seconds. Only the commentator - ie, me - took up the offer. A bike was procured, shoes and helmet donned, and the race of truth was on. The seconds ticked by. People began to look at each other. Perhaps I'd binned it? Perhaps I'd got lost? But when I returned to the track a new record was set. Yep, 4.11. The trash talking was a little quieter later in the day.

After a free barbecue (vegan!) and a number of free beers presentations were once again held in the Brunswick Cycling Club clubrooms. More than thirty people received prizes in the end - almost one third of those racing. Because that's how we roll. Rolling like this, however, means that you give out some prizes for spurious reasons. Youngest rider went to Emily Hughes, oldest Rider was meant to go to Geoff Lees, but he wasn't there, so it went to some other old bloke. King of the Hill went to Sime for his Vom, and Mrs Helpful went to Kimberly Morgan for her work at the rego table.

But there were some serious prizes.


The women's open category was dominated by newcomer Caff Harmsen, who rolled down on her Polo bike, spokecards intact. Second was Helen Newman and third was Emma Caddy. Jess Morgan, pictured looking glum behind them, came fourth.


The men's open category was full of the usual suspects, however, with 28 Jays Dougrey (right) taking out third, Dyon Balding (left) coming home second and Matt Gray (centre) romping home for the win. Interesting to note that both Matt and Jay were riding brakeless fixies. And hipsters think they're hard because they roll brake free in the city...


The women's CX category was also made up entirely of new faces, which we like to see! They were rewarded for their bravery with prizes from Rapha, courtesy of Malachai at Northside Wheelers. That's Ann-Michelle Greenward in third on the right, crowd favourite Laura "ChoongDeath" Choong in second on the left and the irrepressible Sam Bell in first.


The men's CX category was also dominated by the usual suspects, though this picture is a little misleading. On the right is one of Dyon Balding's children, standing in for Chris Carr. Chris, I have your third prize, and will give it to your sister. Good luck getting it off her. On the left is Sam Beck's dog, which was a totally awesome dog. Sam came second, and is pictured standing next to his dog. First was alledged foot-fetishist Lewis Rattray. Hey, I just hear the rumours, I don't make them up.

Aggregate prizes were also given out, but the photographers must've been tired by this point, because there aren't many pictures of these winners. So I'll just write them out:

Women's Open
1. Jess Morgan
2. Emma Caddy

Men's Open
1. Matt Gray (well duh!)
2. Dyon Balding (double duh!)

Women's CX
1. Sam Bell
2. Alison Heskes (Alison didn't race on Sunday, but fortunately rocked up to watch...)

Men's CX
1. Lewis Rattray
2. Sam Beck

Now this I have a picture of:


Thanks to Scooter from Impact Massage for the "Wine Flavoured Beverage" (no kidding, that's what it said on the bottle) which he swiped from the Tour of Gippsland. We had earlier given Sam a "Mr Helpful" award for consistently sticking around to help pull out stakes and pack up bunting, but we considered taking it away from him after he made the whole room stink of cheap wine.

The raffle for the brand spanking new Jamis CX bike was up next. Leigh De Luca from Jamis was there to do the honours, and nine year old Emily Hughes was acting as barrell girl. There was no cheating, but in a strangely bizarre turn of events the new bike was won by the same bloke who won everything else, Lewis Rattray.


He told me afterwards he considered handing it back, but Leigh decided that fair was fair and Lewis should keep the bike. Who could deny the boy his hard won fortune?

Unlike round 2 there were no major booboos to report, but sometime after the race Sean The Man sent me this pic of himself:


Though I think it was also distributed to Lewis. Those are some sexy feet.

In closing, I'd like to once again thank all of our sponsors for their support - they are all listed there on the right, and you should click them. It was nice that you too seemed to be supporting those who support us - I would've needed to remove my shoes to count the number of very new looking Jamis CX bikes by the last round, Huw was kept busy with bike prep all morning, and I was proud to hear that Coffee Supreme were once again drunk dry. Those of you who won vouchers should totally cash them in, because apparently few people ever do. And those of you who didn't win anything should definitely come back next year. We'll find a reason to give you something.

Certain people need to be singled out for special thanks, and maybe a subtle in-joke that only we will get, like the liner notes to a Fugees record. Sam McGregor for helping set up every round and being the voice of the enviroment when I "just want to f**king chuck all those f**king bottles in the f**king bin", Greg Brunt for hilarity and also helping set up each course, the entire Morgan family - Helen, Dave, Jess and Kimberly for continuing to devote untold hours to the Brunswick Cycling Club, Angry Andrew for leaving his wife and newborn at home so he could help us set up, everyone who helped pull out stakes and coil up bunting after the races were done, the folks at the vegan bake sale - who raised over $5oo for Edgar's Misson over the three races, Caseymoira and Papa Janno for rocking the free barbecue at the end, The Blakey for tireless support of all of our dumb ideas, Nonie Carr for once again helping out with administrative duties, all the riders, all the racers, all the supporters, all the hecklers, the beersprayers, the cowbell ringers, the trumpet blowers, the people who laughed at my jokes, the photographers, the gatorade hander-upper-ers, the mudpit hooligans, whoever is in charge of the weather for making sure it rains the week before but is fine on the day of the races (I think it's Al Gore), and anyone else who just came along, talked some crap about bikes with their friends, watched some people ride around and had a hell of a time. Thanks.

We'd also like to thank our girlfriends, who have almost forgotten what we look like over the past few months. Though there are no photos of Nath, here's one of Nik:


And one of me:


So they will remember us next year.

Photos as usual used without permission, and stolen from the following. I'll add more as they come in. You may need to log into facebook for some of them.

Shane Ford, and also here.
The Blakey.
Mik.
Old Mate, and also here.
Cam Wells.

Stu's Report.

See you next winter!