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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ain't No Valley Low Enough.

And while Nik is reminding you of CX races around the countryside, let me do the same! I can't make much sense of this whole festival thing, but it seems there is a CX race happening here. Ballarat, once again positing itself as the home of Australian cycling.

Expression Eraser

A reminder that Trailmix are up to their usual games out at Lysterfield this weekend with the next round of Cross Melburn.

Rumour had it that it was to be in the near-urban wilds of Westgate but some 'issues' have them back at their spiritual home of Lysterfield.

I'll be out there with my personal mechanic/pit guy, but look out for his handups mid-race as I understand he may be up to some fun tricks.

With the rain we have had/is forecast there may be another taste of mud for all racers! Here's hoping... (well I am as I don't want to have to change my tyres over again). It'd be nice if the wind held off too while I'm making a wish-list.

It's been a month since many of you have raced... I'm sure the itch is starting to tickle a bit.

More info can now be found here.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

You Are (The Government)

Landing neatly in the DDCX inbox is the following flyer from our West for another late season race. Click the flyer to embiggen.

The location in the map is here:

View Larger Map

As always, supporting new races and promoters is a great way to see cyclocross develop as a community and a sport.

Coming off the back of a awesome weekend in Adelaide racing with some enthusiastic and committed crew I can assure you there are some great experiences to be had out there both between the tape and off the course. A full report will follow... and maybe some shots from Andrew 'Tangles' Blakey.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mars Needs Guitars

An update from the North...
The Wangaratta CX race this Saturday is starting at 2 (registration from 1).

More information can be found here.

Some of DDCX HQ qill heading heading east to the dry lands of (R)Adelaide to see how they do this 'cyclocross' thing people are getting excited about. I'm sure a full (and rambling) report will follow, but it will be accompanied by excellent photos so don't fret.

Photo Courtesy of Rapha

In other news the North American CX season is now underway and if you want a great rundown of both the US Domestic and International races I can highly recommend the wise sages at pavepavepave. Smart, succinct and often witty.

Photo by Dave Roth, http://www.dmroth.com/cycling.html

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Hardly Recognize Simple Things Any More.

Hey, here are the results from today's Cycling Victoria CX Open! So quick!

As if the results themselves don't show it, Munners put on a bit of a show today. It's not my place to write a report, but the boy has some skills, that's for sure.

Also, someone left some sweet sunglasses at the venue. If they're yours, just call up Kipp at the CV office, he'll sort you out.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Electravision Mantra

Following on from Brendan's flurry of posts about the CVCX here are some tips for spectators this weekend from the online champions of the TheHandUp:

Some history
Some alternatives from the recent Tour Of Utah

Tour of Utah - Queen Stage - Wacky Food Hand Ups from Roots Culture Connect on Vimeo.

The key is to offer not force the hand-up, as you dont know if the person is a militant anti-capitalist when you are offing the cash. Well that and being creative... I'd be pretty stoked with a damper and golden syrup hand-up mid race!

More awesome handups and mud craziness

2010 Monkey Cross Race 2 - Category A Men from Hans Kellner on Vimeo.

And then something for the more 'serious racer'
What to do before you race

It's Time To Meet Your Maker.

With no pressure on us whatsoever to tell anyone off at the Victorian Cyclocross Open on Sunday (or, as I'm trying to start everyone calling it, the #CVCX), the Commentary Commissariat are getting a bit excited about the possibilities. Hamish is stockpiling casks of Fruity Lexia and I'm hunting for a TAB that will allow me to put some money down on my boy Munners (not to mention the Bombers V Carlton game happening the same time). Blakey is going to retrieve the lagerphone, Nik will likely provide enough lung butter to turn the DISC parking lot into a cesspool and Nath isn't going to be there at all! We're all pretty stoked on our newfound irresponsibility. You should come down and check it out. It's going to get messy.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tonight! Tonight! Everyone Dances Or Nobody Dances!

Oh man, I'm starting to fall in love with those guys from iRide. Firstly, Ross loves Public Enemy, which means he and I are immediately best friends. And secondly, they write reports like this. Sure, it wasn't one of our races, but we don't care! We just love the Cross!

You know who else I love? Fitzroy Revolution. But you knew that already. Hell, I got enough love to go around. Check out my fellow Revolutionary Duncan's race report on the Lysterfield action.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Business Interests Of The Corperate Owned Media.

This just in...

Andy Rogers of Fame & Spear fame (?) has a photo exhibition of this year's DDCX series at Human Powered Cycles. I'm pretty sure I saw a picture of you there. As well as being a supporter of Andy and DDCX, HPC are a rad little bike shop with an equally rad cafe attached. Head down there and check it out. If Val is there, tell him I say hi. And make sure you tell him a joke or something - the guy has the best damn laugh I've ever heard.

And, once again, Hamish and I from the DDCX Commentary Commissariat will be providing "insights", "humour" and "commentary" at the CV Cyclocross Open on Sunday. The weather is supposedly going to be atrocious. Which sounds like a lot of fun. I believe you can sign up on the day, but you might want to check my facts on that one. If you're keen to help out, head down to John Cain Memorial Park around 9 and ask for Kipp.

I also heard a rumour that there's a DDCX expose in this month's Treadlie magazine. Anyone wanna confirm or deny that for me?

The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo from Cyclocross Magazine has been spectacularly supportive of our series, and has once again kerplunked our little series on the front page. She's been emailing me all week about the beginning of the US Cross Season. I don't wanna sound like Nik Cee or anything, but hot damn, if I had some frequent flyer miles and a bike box, you know where I'd be heading.

And that's about it from DDCXHQ. If you're riding the CV Open on Sunday, come say hi. I'll be significantly more relaxed than at our events - not being responsible for anything other than vocal shenanigans will do that to a guy.

New York is Giving Me the Creeps

As Brendan mentioned in the previous post I ventured out in the outer regions of urban life (into what he refers to as 'bad latte country') to race the 2nd Round of the Cross Melburn series.

After securing a lift with DDCX CX champion Lewis Rattray and getting to ogle his newly built ride (lightest complete CX bike I've handled? Maybe... It certainly was one hell of a bike [RIP])  we talked CX and it's associated characters on our way out to Lysterfield.

After a week and a half with the cold/flu/hacking cough that seems to have afflicted everyone I know, I was sure I wasnt going to scare the frontrunners, but felt like a good race-pace hitout and skills test. What I wasn't looking forward to was the predicted rain and thunderstorms 'raining' on my slow return to health! We were. however, greeted with irregularly gloomy skies and unseasonably warm temps. Right! Pack those  armwarmers back in the bag and skip the embro!

The course was very similar to the last round, but this time the super boggy back grass stretch was dry and bumpy. The organisers had been kind enough to add a little more BMX track and some well-placed gravel mounds as well as some mini-barriers. All in all it made for a faster and marginally more technical course, with those lovely stairs and a tight-run up to benefit those with deeper CX skills.

We arrived just as the Open classes were starting so I cant comment too much on them but I watched Liam Jeffries lose a CX race which coming after he came 2nd in the earlier Open Juniors race was a bit of a shock to the crowd. Fair play to his DDCX bridesmaid (and Trailmix teammate) Sam Wilson who toppled him on both occasions.

In the B-class there was a bit of controversy as the the Omara boys demoted themselves from A-grade (after a mid-pack finish in the last round) to go out and dominate their race. In the lower places there were some excellent battles going on with places swapping as tiredness and crashes took their toll and re-arranged the riders. Some familiar faces from DDCX showed their faces and toed the line in unfamiliar surrounds. The two ladies who entered barely saw each other but each fought very hard to ensure a good placing and some valuable practice for this week's CSV Open.

And then it was time for the main event... with much of the field all knowing each other from various MTB/DDCX/road events there was some light-hearted heckling as we rode a warm-up pre-race lap and staged for our start. Winner of the last round of DDCX, Casey Munro had asked for gears and was looking focussed, Lewis had a shiny new whip and Dan Moore was talking the talk and had a posse of iRide team mates by his side.  The sun had dipped its intensity and it was feeling more like Cx weather than a summer's day. Everyone eyed each other off and we lightly jostled for position at the start. A word from Snozza (who was sitting this race out) and we were off. I saw Lewis, Casey and an iRide skinsuit (Dan i think) bolt up the track as the rest of us rumbled after them in a cloud of dust. The first few corners of the BMX track were 'exciting' as riders squeezed into gaps and moved others off their pre-planned lines, but by the time we had hit the first tight u-turn in the grass the field had begun to settle into a line and you could hear the grunts of your following riders rather than a blur of sounds around you.

As always I only remember fragments of the race, Leigh DL yelling at me to 'let my wheel slide' as i wound through some loose gravel, sneaking past a rider on a climb only to be bested on the descent, trying to stick my sunglasses in my helmet/on my face while negotiating a bumpy grass section, getting cheered for a fast transition in the stair section that won me a place back, sitting on my rear wheel after my front wheel slipped out on an overly aggressive turn in the grass.

I do remember hearing that Lewis and Casey were battling hard up the front and then hearing he had gone down hard. It always sucks hearing that in the middle of a race... especially knowing how scary that gravel is to me (as a non-native MTBer).

Casey came steaming past on the flat gravel TT section late in the race and it was obvious the class of his riding (I've been passed by the best in the series and he, Lewis and some others have a definite edge in their riding).

All too soon/after too long (in the race it felt like forever, but now it seems like it was so short) we got the bell and the battle I had been having with NB now had a conclusion in sight. We had been swapping comments on/off through the race (all light-hearted) and our differing skills meant that depending on the part of the course each of us had an advantage. I dug deep on the final climb to try and pass him but he held me off and I threw everything I had at him on the beach and final stair transition to no avail. His superior strength/fitness maintained the gap on the final flat section and I had nothing left to counter. Having spent several races this year riding by myself it was great to have a race that was a battle (tactical, skills and fitness) all the way through.

After catching my breath and trying to stem my hacking cough I found Lewis and saw the large pad of gauze on his elbow and hip and heard about his crash (I had clipped the same pothole mid-race but thanks to going slower and having both hands on the bar had only given myself a bit of a scare). He was surprisingly chipper, but disappointed to have bowed out so catastrophically. He did look pretty pale... his bike looked worse and belied the violence of the crash. He ended up in hospital that night having surgery on his elbow, and looks likely to miss this Sundays event (but competitors should be wary as he might get some time on the mic with our trusty DDCX announcers).

All in all another chance to go spelunking in the 'pain cave' in the name of cyclocross racing and good times on the bike.

Thanks again to the racers and organisers and volunteers. The next round is at Westgate so the more urban dwelling of you readers should come out and try a different flavour of course, or come and make some noise for us who are digging ourselves into a new suffer-hole.

I'll add some pictures as they emerge

It's Not Your Fault.

I asked Nik to write up a report of the weekend's Cross Melburn action, but while we're waiting for him to do so, here's the lowdown from our mates at Cycling Edge. I'm pretty sure Munro's Rapha-Condor-Sharp skinsuit isn't registered with Cycling Victoria, so I'm going to try to convince him to show his true colours and wear a Brunswick skinsuit. He's welcome to borrow mine. It's totally clean.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Black Sheep.

Hey! Cross Melburn is on tomorrow! Get your ass out to Lysterfield!

In other news, I just spoke to our chief commissaire. He's been up in the Mallee keeping track of the National Road Series, and so has had little time to sort out the full results. As you may well guess, with 178 riders, it's a tough job. But he assures me they'll be here in the next week or so. Befriend us on Twitter (@dirtydeedscx) and you'll be the first to know.