Post Bike Week wrap, plus SEQ DH and Sunshine Series

Briztreadley's Jordana Blackman (centre) showing her barrier style at the Bike Week CX. Sholto Douglas pic.

Briztreadley’s Jordana Blackman (centre) showing her barrier style at the Bike Week CX. Sholto Douglas pic.

This is Episode 14 for 2016 of the Briztreadley podcast, and it comes to you courtesy of the efforts of Hayden Lester, who while I (Andrew) was otherwise engaged in Bike Week and the rest of my life, was busily putting together some excellent coverage of what’s been happening around South East Queensland in the bike world.

Thanks Hayden!

Featuring Jordana Blackman, Lonnie Toia, Joshua Button, & Declan Kilkenny (pray for DK!).

Nothing like a Kombi to make you smile

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And here is Episode 13 of the Briztreadley podcast for 2016.

  • To cover the World Cup mountain biking in Cairns, we cross to our woman in the rock garden at Smithfield, Cathy Peel
  • As the Eagles almost sang, “There’s a new trail in town, everyone’s talking ’bout it”. Hayden Lester chats with Jamie Borg chat about Kombi, over at Ironbark Gully.
  • And we have a look forward at the Giro d’ Italia and start to get in to the groove for Bike Week.

Hosted by Andrew Demack.

Bike Week 2015, featuring the Q&A event, Is Cycling Important?

This episode of the Briztreadley podcast includes your hosts Andrew Demack, Chris Welsh and Jordana Blackman doing a quick review of Bicycle Queensland’s festival of cycling, Bike Week 2015.

And the event during Bike Week that this podcast focuses on is the Q&A session “Is Cycling Important”. The new Main Roads Minister, the Hon Mark Bailey MP, and Brisbane City Council’s chair of Active Transport, Cr Peter Matic, are the two key speakers. Greg Vann, board member of Bicycle Queensland, is the facilitator. And the audience throws in some pretty good questions!

Take me home, Sylvan Rd, to the place I belooooong

Open / C grade ready to race. That's why the RAIN started.

Open / C grade ready to race. That’s why the RAIN started. Emma and I (far right and next) were finding it quite funny. Photo (c) ESi Sports Photography, used with permission.

So we had the Bike Week Cyclocross and it was pretty damn good.

I did a piece for the online mag Australian Cyclocross.

The more background blur you get, the faster I look. (Spoiler: I'm not that fast really)

The more background blur you get, the faster I look. (Spoiler: I’m not that fast really). Photo (c) ESi Sports Photography, used with permission.

Getting faster and faster ... smiling or gritting my teeth?? Pic by Sholto Douglas.

Getting faster and faster … smiling or gritting my teeth? Pic by Sholto Douglas.

Here’s the article:

So if we count one of the kids twice, Queensland Cyclocross hit a new milestone at the second annual Bike Week cyclocross event at Wests Rugby Union Club in Toowong, with 60 competitors racing on the day.

And that day, which was decidedly steamy as the set-up crew laboured at noon, turned wonderfully CX-like with aå nice shower of rain just after the Junior race, as Open / C grade were getting ready to go.

Combined A and B grade then took over the course, and with nearly 40 people lapping a course that must have been slightly less than a kilometre, the lap counters were earning their (iminaginary) pay.

All of this occurred in the atmospheric surrounds of Toowong Memorial Park, and with the assistance of the Wests Rugby club’s fields co-ordinator Dean Marsh, who stayed behind after rugby matches were finally over for the day, to supply the cyclocross crowd with beer and other refreshments.

The course included a very tricky off-camber corner on a steep hill, and a short but fast downhill section, some plain flat bits around the footy field, and a small flight of stairs beside the dressing sheds.

Patrick Flood (under 11) and Haddon Kilmartin (under 15) are both CX veterans, and they won their categories with some ease in the Junior race.

The Open / C grade was notable for the strong performance of the women in the field. Mountain bike blokes Chris Lusty and Doug Mitchell took the top two spots, but were followed by first-timer Jaine Mongston, who had too much speed for Qld CX stalwart Emma Best, who may have been slightly worn out by a busy schedule of volunteering at two events on the first weekend of Bike Week. Tracy Williams in 7th place rounded out the ladies’ podium.

The A and B grade races were boosted by a much stronger than usual contingent of the denizens of the fixed gear forum (fixed.org.au), who all seem to have bought the brightest coloured Specializeds or the latest disc-equipped Giants.

But it was business as usual at the front end of A grade for most of the race, as Matt Williams, who is possibly the most consistent winner in Qld CX history, was comfortably in control. He was pursued by bike messenger / fixie wild child Declan Kilkenny, and English gent Jason Smith, but it was only on the last lap that Williams crashed on a slippery grassy corner and let his two pursuers past.

Kilkenny took the surprise win, and the coveted ‘Take Me Home Sylvan Road’ t-shirt, donated by Wests Rugby Club.

Declan chases Shem in A grade.

Declan chases Shem in A grade, early doors.  Pic by Sholto Douglas.

In B grade, Darren Flood overcame his embarrassment that he still has yet to acquire a CX bike, and raced on his 29er mountain bike wearing Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club kit. He was in a road/CX sandwich with Chris Muller and Jonathon Hobson for the whole race. Muller eventually came out on top.

Floody on the 29er and Jon Hobson in pursuit.

Floody on the 29er and Jon Hobson in pursuit. Another Sholto pic.

Next up is Bowl-o-cross, a fun day out run by the team from Pushies Galore. It will be held at Holland Park Bowls Club on Sunday 11 May.

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Last year’s Bowl-o-cross was very memorable. It was the day that Robbie McEwen turned up to race with us.

As member of the organising crew said: “Imagine you are having a game of cricket in the park with some mates, and Steve Waugh rocks up and says, can I have a bat?”

Who knows who will turn up to Bowl-o-cross this year? Sven Nys maybe?

Post Bike Week post

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You know that there’s no week that I enjoy more than Bike Week. For someone who loves bikes and may possibly be slightly ADHD, a different bike event (or several different events) every day for 9 days, is pretty close to heaven.

To be right in the middle of it the whole time is great fun. By the end of it, I’m tired and punch-drunk, but still having a great time. I was fortunate this year that my role for the Big Day (Sunday 24 March, when we had the Coot-tha Challenge and the Great Brisbane Bike Ride, and the Family Fun Ride) was to help manage the start line, and then be the MC for the finish site at South Bank. Easy & cruisy.

But although the Big Rides day is the climax of the week, I find the smaller events to be more fun and more personal and more interesting. My favourites this year were the ones that I was heavily involved in: Cyclocross, of course, and MTB Film Night. I was also heavily invested in the success of the Women’s MTB ride, which I couldn’t go to, not being a woman, and being busy with putting signs out on that day anyway (in case I was tempted to cross-dress or have gender realignment so I could attend).

What I like about this pic is that everyone is smiling, except Besty who has her back to the camera. Nice.

What I like about this pic is that everyone is smiling, except Besty who has her back to the camera. Nice.

I’ve given cyclocross plenty of blog-time already.

MTB Film Night was a triumph in my book. The event was Emma’s idea, and at least 80-90% of what happened was all her vision as well. We turned Epic Cycles into a relaxed and funky movie cinema for the night, with big screen and pizza and beer. About 70 people had a great evening, and during the film itself Emma and Imo and I mostly hung out outside and chatted and relaxed.

It came at the end of the day when we had Ride to Work Day at Brisbane Square, so it turned out to be one of those days where you start work at 5 am and finish at 10.30pm. You don’t want to do that too often. It turns you into a zombie.

Epic in cinema mode. A great night!

Epic in cinema mode. A great night!

So a few days after Bike Week, the zombie aspect is wearing off and I’m starting to feel like I could eat up a few more interesting bike rides soon. Some family circumstances are conspiring to keep me from that just at the moment, but down the track I’m hopeful of reporting on some mtb events, and more CX racing of course, and the occasional dirt-road Audax. Watch this space.

It’s always personal

It was the first cyclocross of the year, and there was lots of fun, and it was a great event, the start of Bike Week, and it seemed like everyone enjoyed it, and there was a really good race in A grade between Darren Nightingale and Matt Williams, and in the open race there was the already famous duel between Emma and Imo that will go down in history and Yannick and Momo the two brothers finished one-two in the Junior race, and the flags and the arch, and the beer and the crowd and the grass and the sun and the sweat.

'Andrew! You are being beaten by a CHILD!' Yeah, I know ... and he is damn fast.

‘Andrew! You are being beaten by a CHILD!’ Yeah, I know … and he is damn fast.

But what you want to know, on my blog is: What was MY race like?

I’m so glad you asked.

It was a very busy day, with quite a lot of Bike-Weeky things to do earlier in the day, and then the set-up of the venue. While Brad and Scott and co were setting up the course, Emma and I set up the PA and the pop-up marquee for the judges, the flags and the start-finish blow-up arch.

And once the racing started I was on the public address system for the Junior and Open races, and occasionally casting increasingly worried glances around the assembled crowd to see who I was going to press-gang into becoming temporary MC during the A & B grade combined race. The answer to that was Darren Flood. The right man in the right place.

So with at least 20 seconds to spare I jumped on my bike, having first pressed my thumb into the tyre … that’s about 30-40 psi. I think.

The A graders look fit and fierce. So all we timid B graders shuffle back out of their way.

The first corner and first straight just leads to the stairs, which are a battleground for A graders. The rest of us funnel into the stairs, and after negotiating an M1-style traffic jam are through and out the other side. Could have done with an easy-listening radio station to pass the time.

The A graders are long gone, and I find myself dicing with Yannick, the youngster who had been way too good in the Junior race. I don’t know how old he is … maybe 13? Anyway, he looks a lot fitter than I do.

But we race each other for a couple of laps, and the second time through the start-finish area, Darren on the mic tells us that we are leading B grade. That was pretty much the signal for me to muck up the next re-mount, and then on the off-camber steep section of the course lose my front wheel and fall off.

At this point Imogen, spectating with the same enthusiasm that she earlier brought to racing, screams at me: “Andrew!!! You are being beaten by a CHILD!!”

Fabulous heckle.

So from first, I slid straight to fifth. Which was probably the right spot anyway. Clinton, the eventual winner, had worked his way through the B grade traffic and was clearing out. Yannick was dicing with Paul (father of one of the kids he had beaten in the Junior race) and Ron from Balmoral.

Paul had family revenge on Yannick by finishing second, but Yannick held down third.

A few times that group of three looked close enough that if I could just put my foot on the gas I might latch onto the back of the group. But when I tried to “step on it” I realised very quickly that I was already at my limit.

Cyclocross is like that.

I’m so pleased that we put on a good event. And I am even more pleased that the racing was fun for all. And that I have the chance to do maybe six or seven of these races this year.

Two days later, this morning I still had some sore or tight muscles. More training needed!

An event that seems to need no additional plugging

Dozens of women are expected to tackle a mountain in Bike Week’s inaugural Women’s Mountain Bike Ride at Daisy Hill this month.

Event organiser Rebecca Harwood said Daisy Hill Conservation Park provided a network of tracks to suit riders of all skill levels.

http://storify.com/ademack/bike-week-women-s-mtb-event-is-super-popular

So it’s in the Albert & Logan News today, but it is already pretty damn near full. And AB and Emma and Imo and some of their friends will be there to make sure that all the new riders who turn up will have some experienced mtb-riding women to mentor them.

Basically, this is the Bike Week event that runs itself AND gets a fantastic outcome for more women cycling. WIN WIN WIN WIN!

And it’s free.

Places tenderly chosen, where the ache of antiquity was keenest

When I went to the Lifeline Bookfest with Imogen, I picked up quite a few interesting books. I’ve chomped through one called The Football Factory which was a novel in the milieu of the English football hooligan culture in the 90s. And an Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One, which was of course mordant and delicious.

Isobel was oddly triangular ...

Isabel’s face was oddly triangular …

And next up was The Portrait of A Lady, with Henry James. With movie tie-in cover, featuring Ms Kidman, made up and photographed in such as way as to have more forehead than would seem feasible for any single person.

But Henry James you can’t rush. You have to chew every sentence carefully, two or three times.

Like this one, soon after Isabel arrives at Lord Warburton’s stately home (“a stout grey pile … a castle in a fairytale” … it’s a long way from BMX Bandits!) for the first time:

“The day was cool and rather lustreless; the first note of autumn had been struck; and the watery sunshine rested on the walls in blurry and desultory gleams, washing them, as it were, in places tenderly chosen, where the ache of antiquity was keenest.”

I typed that out for you, because when I read that I understand what mastery is. I find it inspiring.*

I’m expecting to be feeling the ache of antiquity quite keenly by late afternoon on Saturday 16 March, because that is the day that the next featured Bike Week event (featured in this special Briztreadley series that is) will be held.

Cyclocross.

And I’m in this one, up to my neck. Organising, racing, spruiking, whatever.

The cyclocross race will be held in a place tenderly chosen, to wit Wests Rugby Union, at Toowong Memorial Park, Sylvan Road Toowong.

So I have no mastery of cyclocross racing, or indeed organising a race, or blogging about a race. But I do share with Isabel Archer her enthusiasm, her openness, her joie de vivre.

I’m not expecting Nicole/Isabel to show up on Saturday, any more than I really expected Anna Meares to show up last time.

But I am inviting you. Cyclocross is super awesome fun. 100% of the people I know who have tried cyclocross want to do more. The course we’ve chosen will be very doable on a road bike, so there are no real excuses.

Saturday 16th March 3pm. Enter here.

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* OK, there is no link whatsoever between Henry James and cyclocross. There just isn’t. But that sentence knocked me out. And I wanted it to be somewhere where I would find it again in the future. One of the reasons I have a blog is to remember stuff I like.

Here are your clues: It’s great, it’s a bike ride, and it’s in Brisbane

A whole lotta people ready to ride their bikes. This was the Great Brisbane Bike Ride in 2006, the first year I worked for BQ on the event.

A whole lotta people ready to ride their bikes. This was the Great Brisbane Bike Ride in 2006, the first year I worked for BQ on the event.

So the Great Brisbane Bike Ride has a long history … I think it might go back to the late 1980s. The first one I recall being part of was called the Brisbane River Ride, and it was in 1987, and it was in aid of the Wilderness Society.

Back then, the Bicycle Institute of Queensland used to hold meetings at a centre for green concerns at Bennetts Road, Morningside. That little shop now houses a photography studio.

I don’t know why I’m mining the long history of the GBBR. Maybe because it’s not the big sexy event anymore, now that we have the BDO Brisbane Coot-Tha Challenge.

But there’s still a place for the GBBR. For young and old, for new riders and regular joes and josephines. I like that is has played its part in inculturating the river loop into Brisbane cycling.

And this year’s edition, is on Sunday 24 March. It’s going to be a beautiful day, I can feel it in my bones. Enter here.