Are you gonna sing along, bro?

I’m not a fan of your laddish downhillers really. But I laughed out loud at a bit at the end of this episode of ‘This Is Peaty’, where Josh Bryceland is on the podium at the Cairns round of the World Cup, with a very serious looking fellow Pom, winner of the round Gee Atherton.

As the PA is playing God Save The Queen, ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland turns to Gee and says: “Are you not gonna sing along, bro?”

Gee gives him a stony look. “No.”

Ratboy: “Yeah, I don’t know the words either.”

My goodness me, how you have grown!

I figure if I’m writing these race reports for Sean at Australian Cyclocross mag, I might as well post them here too! All pix by Sholto Douglas.

Qld CX uber-fuehrer B-rad, slicing through the singletrack section

Qld CX uber-fuehrer Brad, slicing through the singletrack section. 

Queensland cyclocross has grown quickly from its infancy just a couple of years ago. With the last of the autumn races yesterday at the Nundahdrome, QldCX is now an awkward teenager, all legs and arms and attitude, wearing oversized headphones and scowling at the other passengers on the train.

With more than 30 riders signed up in B grade for this event and 85 racers overall, organiser Brad Norman expects that we will be running separate A and B grade races in the winter series later this year.

Brisbane turned on a glorious warm autumn day, with a gorgeous blue sky. Would’ve been a nice day at the beach. Not really CX weather, but still the riders came in their droves.

Albert Bishop Park at Nundah is the home of a purpose-built road criterium circuit, and also the location for the new Hamilton Pine Rivers Wheelers club house. It was great to have quite a few juniors and riders in the open and B grade races, sporting the HPRW colours.

We are still having trouble getting many female racers. Most of the growth has been in the adult male categories. But with that said, we had our biggest junior (under 11) race so far as well at this race with 13 starters. Patrick Flood and Leroy Butler are well in charge of the juniors, and came home 1-2 again, with new boy Ciaran Casey third.

Connie hammering, Adam following. In the combined A and B race.

Connie hammering, Adam following. In the combined A and B race.

In A grade, a race-long battle between two of Queensland cyclocross’s favourite sons. Lawson Hartshorn has been racing CX since day one in Qld, and has consistently been among the best. It was Lawson’s last race before moving to Melbourne, and the Qld CX scene will miss him!

Lawson’s opponent in the two-man duel was a certain Robbie McEwen, a retired gent from the Gold Coast. The two broke away from Karl Wilson and Jason Smith who were having their own battle for the minor podium spot.

As hard as Hartshorn tried to drop McEwen, he couldn’t manage it. The course featured about 400 metres of ‘singletrack’ though a nearby patch of scrub, and lots of flowing sections on the grass infield of the criterium track. The race started and finished on the bitumen, and in a sprint it would be a shock of tsunami-esque proportions for Robbie McEwen to be beaten.  No earthquakes were recorded, and Robbie took the win.

Karl Wilson rounded out the podium.

Robbie, Lawson, Matt Williams (DNFed!) and Karl. A grade on the march.

Robbie, Lawson, Matt Williams (DNFed!) and Karl. A grade on the march.

Nothing between these two all race. Until the sprint!

Nothing between these two all race. Until the sprint!

In women’s A grade, two top local mountain bikers, Anna Beck and Connie Silvestri came along to give reigning Qld champ Sharon Heap a bit of competition. Anna Beck took out the win, first time out on her new CX bike, despite not feeling 100%, enough for her to skip the round of the Sunshine Cross-Country series the day before. Anna confirms her status as the favourite for the state title in Ipswich in late June.

One tough chick, Anna B. Sick as, but still smashed out 45 minutes in the blazing sun. And rode home later.

One tough chick, Anna B. Sick as, but still smashed out 45 minutes in the blazing sun. And rode home later.

In B grade, Darren Flood celebrated the debut of his shiny new Giant CX bike (something of a theme here, the number of new CX bikes continues to swell alarmingly) with a photo-finish win over Lan Bui. Rick Banaszcyzk forgot to bring his helmet to the race, but still managed to finish third wearing somebody’s Dad’s helmet.

Floody rocking the new blue Giant to a B grade win, pursued all the way by Lan.

Floody rocking the new blue Giant to a B grade win, pursued all the way by Lan.

In the Open race, debutants Brynley Abad on a hardtail 29er mountain bike (complete with Cannondale Lefty) and James Douglas, on a singlespeed, were too good for the rest of the field. Qld CX uber-fuehrer Brad Norman was in a solid third all race, only to get pipped in the sprint by HPRW roadie Mark McLennan.

The race calendar is improving all the time in Queensland.

Next Sunday, 1 June, sees Robbie McEwen hosting a CX race for the first time, at the Nerang Cycling Centre on the Gold Coast. Robbie spent many years observing cyclocross when he lived in Belgium, and has always been a fan but never had a chance to try it during his pro career. In retirement he can do what he likes, and it turns out he likes racing CX!

We’re hoping for a great turnout down at Nerang next Sunday. Check the Queensland Cyclocross page on Facebook for the latest details.

Also coming up soon will be the Queensland Cyclocross championships, to be held in Ipswich on Sunday 22 June, hosted by the Ipswich Cycling Club.

Chip off the old block. This is Ewen McEwen.

Chip off the old block. This is Ewen McEwen.

Chaos over the first barriers in A grade. Declan leads Josh and Robbie.

Chaos over the first barriers in A grade. Declan leads Robbie and Josh and  Karl.

Sunday 25th May – BSMC Nundah CX

U11 15min
1 Patrick Flood 4 Laps
2 Leroy Butler 4 Laps
3 Ciaran Casey 4 Laps
4 Aiden Taylor 4 Laps
5 Michael Murray 4 Laps
6 Marly Harrison 4 Laps
7 Bennett Boyd 3 Laps
8 Emily Blatchford 3 Laps (1st Female)
9 Kinan Leary 3 Laps
10 Spencer Mitchell 3 Laps
11 Aiden Leary 2 Laps
12 Lachlan Walters 2 Laps
13 Zander Holiday 2 Laps

Open 30min
1 Brynley Abad 7 Laps
2 James Douglas 7 Laps
3 Mark McLennan 7 Laps
4 Bradley Norman 7 Laps
5 Glenn McIntosh 7 Laps
6 Thomas Grey 7 Laps
7 Hugh Barbour 7 Laps
8 David Roest 7 Laps
9 Damien Muller 7 Laps
10 Anthony Green 7 Laps
11 Grant Dawson 7 Laps
12 Lyn Brider 7 Laps (1st Female)
13 Ewan McEwen 7 Laps
14 Hugh Gormley 7 Laps
15 Paul Leary 7 Laps
16 Andrew Wilson 6 Laps
17 Stephen Whitaker 6 Laps
18 Scott Kirton 6 Laps
19 Kim Bui 6 Laps
20 Oliver Nendick 6 Laps (2nd Female)
DNF Suzette Davis 3 Laps (3rd Female)

B Grade 30min
1 Darren Flood 8 Laps
2 Lan Bui 8 Laps
3 Richard Banaszczyk 8 Laps
4 Michael McMahon 8 Laps
5 Paul Woodward 8 Laps
6 Adam Harrison 8 Laps
7 Aaron Pickett-Heaps 8 Laps
8 Graeme Mitchem 8 Laps
9 Mark Routledge 8 Laps
10 Dean Winchester 8 Laps
11 Andrew Woodhouse 8 Laps
12 Brett Chaseling 8 Laps
13 Chistopher Lusty 8 Laps
14 Cameron Douglas-Savage 8 Laps
15 Matt Powel 8 Laps
16 Tim Hooker 8 Laps
17 Jason Banks 8 Laps
18 Simon Nendick 8 Laps
19 Jordan Heppell 8 Laps
20 Ash Ireland 8 Laps
21 Ben Blanch 8 Laps
22 Andrew Patten 8 Laps
23 Bennett Rust 7 Laps
24 Phil Jones 7 Laps
25 David Taylor 7 Laps
26 Andrew Demack 7 Laps
27 David Jacobs 6 Laps
DNF Sebastion Vejby 1 Lap
DNF Christopher Roberts 1 Lap

A Grade 45min
1 Robbie McEwen 14 Laps
2 Lawson Hartshorn 14 Laps
3 Karl Wilson 14 Laps
4 Jason Smith 14 Laps
5 Justin Claridge 14 Laps
6 Declan Kilkenny 14 Laps
7 Simon Frederiksen 14 Laps
8 Ian Blatchford 14 Laps
9 Shem Guthrie 14 Laps
10 David Whybrew 13 Laps
11 Simon Wilson 13 Laps
12 Warren Jennings 13 Laps
13 Anna Beck 13 Laps (1st Female)
14 Les Heap 13 Laps
15 Connie Silvestri 13 Laps (2nd Female)
16 Sharon Heap 13 Laps (3rd Female)
17 Yannik Frank 13 Laps
18 Joshua Watts 13 Laps
DNF Scott Smith 8 Laps
DNF Matt Williams 7 Laps
DNF Joshua Bosschiter 4 Laps
DNF Nathan Moore 3 Laps

Sunday night round-up

Oh yeah, just briefly ...

Some things I’ve liked or been part of lately …

* not actually the name of the event

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?

Feel the hum / the wheels never rest

Some poetry for you today. I didn’t write it.

But I hear it in my head, as I ride along …

The peloton’s set
The start awaits
The eyes of the world
are on our state

Anticipation, as the time draw near
in the south of the nation
The event of the year!

Feel the hum!
The wheels never rest
Machines of steeeeel
Faaace the ultimate test!

Hour by hour
Shakin’ like thunder
Cycling power
It’s the Tour Down Under!

Feel the rush
As colours blur
Feel the rush
And hear the purr of wheels in motion
Wheels in motion!

Feel the rush
as pedals whir
Feel the rush
As colours blur in wheels in motion

Wheels in motion

Nerves as tense as spokes on the wheels
Every sense says this is the real deeeeeeeeeeeeal

Legs are screaming
Lungs are bursting
Energy’s waning
Body’s hurting
Crowds are cheering
cycles by
under a clear South Aussie sky

Feel the rush
As colours blur
Feel the rush
And hear the purr of wheels in motion
Wheels in motion!

Feel the rush
as pedals whir
Feel the rush
As colours blur in wheels in motion
Wheels in motion

At the Tour DOWN UUUUUUNDDER yeah!

Music is a funny thing. This song, an advertising agency’s version of a pub rock anthem, with the cheesy lyrics about bike racing and South Australia, is so firmly stuck in my head at the moment that it would need a crowbar and a jackhammer to remove it.

Here’s hoping I can get it stuck in yours too.

Update: Big ups, as the JJJ kids say, to Andrew Castleden who deciphered a couple of lines in this song that had me baffled.

 

Australia, Australia, Australia we love you. Amen! Crack a tube.

So, an Australian, holder of the Australian national champions jersey, racing for an Australian team, won Australia’s only ProTour event, which finished on Australia Day.

This particular Australian.

Nice work, Simon Gerrans. (And nice photo, Nick)

This other one, didn’t win. But raced his heart out.

(Another from Nick’s Instagram … check out the funny look from Kate Bates of Foxsports, far right. What is that about?) 

Second by a second. Sorry Cadel. But Adelaide, and Australia, and bike riders everywhere, still love you. This is literally true … Cadel was mobbed after the last stage presentation, and was followed across the Adelaide parklands by the fans as he left. And when I got back to the Hilton Hotel, where the TDU media centre is, there was a scrum on the steps of the hotel, which was caused by Cadel’s arrival at the hotel. #yellforcadel #theysuredid

So here is what Nicholas O’Donnell and I thought about it all. This is Episode 7 of the Squeaky Wheel podcast for the Tour Down Under, and once again we have added in a few bonus minutes of rambly goodness, for your special enjoyment. Don’t thank me, it’s entirely my pleasure!

 

Any Porte in a storm (TDU Squeaky Wheel ep 6)

richiewinsstage5

But only one Richie Porte up Old Willunga Hill today.

Richie blew the Tour Down Under away, a great ride. And behind him, in the chaos of the hill, Simon Gerrans gapped Cadel Evans in the last km and took enough bonus seconds to regain the Ochre jersey.

Cadel, brave Ulissi and Gerro fought out the Battle of Willunga today. Ulissi took second behind Porte, but Simon Gerrans won the war.

Cadel, brave Ulissi and Gerro fought out the Battle of Willunga today. Ulissi took second behind Porte, but Simon Gerrans won the war.

This 2014 Tour Down Under officially wins my prize as the most combative Tour ever.

Here is the 6th episode of the Squeaky Wheel’s special Tour Down Under podcasts … we’re getting longer as the Tour goes on, sorry about that! There was a lot to talk about today!!

Jensie ... 10 years ago I would have done it easy with one leg behind my back.

Jensie … 10 years ago I would have done it easy with one leg behind my back.

Friend of the Squeaky Wheel Jack Haig is looking very solid in the White Jersey for best young rider.

Friend of the Squeaky Wheel Jack Haig is looking very solid in the White Jersey for best young rider.

 

If I could save time in a bottle … (Ep5 of Squeaky Wheel at the TDU)

If Cadel Evans is looking for a lullaby tonight, this would be what I would suggest …

The battle for the Ochre jersey at the 2014 Tour Down Under went into total dogfight mode today. It’s kind of a “clean” way to win the jersey, by dropping everyone on the steepest climb of the whole tour, and holding on to win by 15 seconds. That’s what Cadel did yesterday.

But today, Simon Gerrans and Orica-Green Edge let Cadel know that this did not mean the battle was over. Gerrans clawed back five seconds in two intermediate sprints (first and second places in those sprints), and now trails Cadel by only 7 seconds. There are still two stages to go, with sprints and hill-top finishes and all sorts of opportunity for the fiercest possible bike racing.

Today was a day for the sprinters! Or one particular sprinter, in Andre Greipel. He won so convincingly that his lead-out man Jurgen Roelandts followed him home in second.

Andre Greipel grabs the handlebars after his hands-in-the-air celebrationstarted to go wrong, as he won Stage 4 so comfortably in a sprint.

Andre Greipel grabs the handlebars after his hands-in-the-air celebration started to go wrong, as he won Stage 4 oh-so-comfortably in the sprint into Victor Harbour.

Our podcast today focusses on the tactical battle, and how Gerrans’ sprinting advantage gives him the means to take back the Ochre jersey. But that doesn’t mean that he will, because Evans is such a competitor as well.

Listen and share, people. Listen and share!

And make sure you listen to the ABC radio version of the Squeaky Wheel at 5 am Saturday (Sunday 2pm on digital), cos it includes some stuff not on the podcast!

Corkscrewed! Killer Cadel cracks all comers on Ladies Day

Cadel Evans rides away from Richie Porte on the climb of Corkscrew Road, at the end of Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under.

Cadel Evans rides away from Richie Porte on the climb of Corkscrew Road, at the end of Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under.

It isn’t widely known that Thursday every year in the Tour Down Under is Ladies Day.

That’s because it’s only a tradition with a group of ladies who I met on the last switchback on Corkscrew Rd. Georgie and Lisa and Narelle get together every year, and have a picnic somewhere on the course on Ladies Day. They have have eskies and picnic tables (with tablecloth, of course), umbrellas, the works. It is fine dining (and wining) in the great outdoors.

Here’s some of the conversation I had with the ladies while we waited for the riders to show up and join the party.

But what a party when the peloton did come along. The Corkscrew climb starts 11km from the finish, and tops out just 7.4 downhill km from the end.

Our episode of the Squeaky Wheel starts with me commenting live on the Corkscrew as the pointy end of the Tour Down Under came past me.

To put this into some perspective … Cadel averaged about 24km/h up the Corkscrew climb, and got into the big ring about 400m from the top. I was on my smallest gear, and probably going about 10 km/h.

Have a listen … I get pretty excited!