THE SOUP BÆS CX ON TOÜR
The team had been hit with the toughest biological weapon of all: the common flu. With depleted numbers, Adrian (still sick) and Harry (forever the siqqest) journeyed over to Heaps Good SA for the opening of the National CX Series for 2018. The others planning on making the trip over still feeling the side effects of biological warfare.
That being said there were enemy lines no more, and the stormy skies we descended into Adelaide through in August had transformed themselves into 48 hours worth of clear blue skies, and temperatures in the 20’s.
I: AIRPORT OBSERVATIONS
Like fans of the Three Lions descending on Marseille to escape the shit weather of Merseyside we revelled in the opportunity for the Soup Bæs to go on Tour. Post work Ubers were taken straight to the airport, or to the airport via Essendon Cyclery. Our season long sponsor and humble local bicycle store offering a luggage hookup for our team throughout season 2018. It’s on offer to every man, woman and child looking to participate in an airborne transfer ride, so go pay them a visit.
– A family of 6 arriving at the back of the queue for the Virgin Australia check in desks. It was 6:05, their flight to the Gold Coast was leaving at 6:10.
– After moving through the security gates and walking down towards the gates, a Brit turned around and asked Adrian where check in was as he needed a boarding pass.
– A business man inserting $2 coin after $2 coin into the massage chair by his gate. Each coin would buy you 5 minutes of subpar massage. This process was repeated for an hour and ten minutes.
– Wine Selectors staff being far too keen on natural wines.
– Iconic Fila tracksuit ensembles that weren’t Adrian’s.
– The Coopers Alehouse. Reminder already set for a pre-flight tipple before returning to Melbourne.
– Greek Mum’s Addicted to Facebook. Picture this: the plane is taking off, you’re still sending Facebook messages from your phone. Eventually mobile coverage is gone, so you hold your phone up to the skies, and towards the window hoping that your last few messages will send. When you’ve landed and the plane is still dead silent and going through taxi to the gate, you call your friend to complain about the lack of mobile reception, and to talk about bullets dodged (men flicked). You spill your Sumo salad all over the floor as you fumble for your bag from the overhead locker.
Harry dropped into the city of churches around lunch time, so it was Lugo who welcomed Adrian into town later in the evening, putting his finest Directeur Sportif skills to work as he quickly strapped Adrian’s bike to the roof before 4x4-ing to the nearest Drakes for some supplies before all the supermarkets closed up for the rest of the week.
II: THE NEW PALEO DIET
...consists predominantly of mulch. Sorry Pete Evans theres a new fad in town. Much like the Paleo Diet mk1, this new iteration of trend based eating comes with a major downside – the development of a natural strain of emphysema, a small sacrifice to make in the name of the most fibrous diet known to scientists AND nutritionists.
Unlike any of the courses found in the Victorian CX series, the majority of the course went through deep, rutty mulched parkland, split up with sporadic sections of gravel path, red dirt, grassland and a token mud pit. Having not done a practice lap, Adrian who was already suffering through day 6 of his second bout of the flu for the year shot off deep on the low line of turn 3, ending up in deep mulch and wrapping his bike around a low lying pine tree branch. Having clamoured out of the knee deep mulch that softened his fall, and struggling through 40 seconds of untangling his bike from the Callitris glaucophylla, he was back on course in last place. He wouldn’t give up, but prospects of catching anyone else for the next 45 minutes were dashed.
"Beautiful aromatic herb and floral perfume here, red fruits, crushed rocks, plenty of spice, pine resins, liquorice root and orange peel. Medium bodied, but dense and powerful, with packed down stony tannin, fresh acidity, layers of spice and amaro herbs, cherry and red fruits, and this soaring precise finish dusted with smashed rock tannin. Great mulch. Will age for decades. I award it a perfect score of 69 points."
Adding insult to injury, a to scale model of the Mariana Trench had formed around the back of the course, on a corner where mulch ran the deepest. A front wheel would sink ankle deep and Adrian would cop the 6th and final course of a lengthy degustation of this new paleo diet.
III: THE MORETON BÆ FIG
The women’s races rolled out to weather in the low tonear mid 20’s. The only thing hotter would be the pace set by Nat Redmond who hit the front like a hound in search of a pheasant. With a slab of Coopers Reds (Sparkling Ale’s for those playing at home) we slowly made our way around to a large Moreton Bay Fig tree, a Ficus macrophylla to get a unique view of the race as riders approached the barriers and main run section.
Shaded by the extensive branch network covered in rubbery leaves we did our best to lighten the load of the Coopers Red slab, the climate doing well to lull us into a false sense of summer vibes in the process, even while we were in the shade.
IV: GOING LIVE
We positioned ourselves around the Mariana Trench for the first lap of Elite Men, knowing very well that the exit of the trench would be leaving riders with a strong hitting-the-Berghain-dancefloor-at-10am vibe. We weren’t far off. J Blood led em in, and it was a shitstorm seconds after. Think the Wilderbeest scene from Lion King, minus the Yung Cub tear jerking scene. RIP Mufasa.
And now for the reverse camera angle courtesy of Harry. Check his full film set from the weekend here.
Garry Millburn hit the deck on Friday while out in the hills, so pulling up to the start line on the weekend was an achievement in itself. There were a few gallant laps in there where it was some wheel to wheel racing, before J Blood had enough of what was being served up and dished out a throwback to 2015-2017 and shot off the front to see the chequered flag 40 minutes later.
Off the track we decided to go live 100m from the finish line, with fresh caffé lattes, Vietnamese caffé lattes and Belgian waffles resurrecting us following the discovery we had all skipped on lunch – a downside to starting your race at 12.15pm. The last 10% of Harry’s battery showcased the race in live 240p video, as we tried our best to survey Elite Men riders of how much they benchpress, who had the hottest bike, and who could possibly beat Chris "J Blood" Jongewaard this season, if anyone. Our live coverage left us with more questions than answers, but we hope to eventually start answering some shit during the season. “Watch. This. Space.”
Waffles Review by Adrian
Remember those Vans Authentics you wore as a good for nothing teenage punk? These are them now, feel old yet?
Arguably the most suitable choice for track side food at the cyclocross, these Belgian styled waffles appeared like a religious deity just at the right time. Tunnel vision was creeping in, but the addition of ice cream, cream, maple syrup, strawberries and bananas to this sneaker sole of a treat, combined with a Vietnamese Iced Caffé Latte resurrected me from a time where I had a foot in the grave. Once I’d dug in there was almost no stopping me, only taking moments to catch my breath as the flu had rendered my nose useless and very unaerodynamic. Once finished I was found wanting more, especially considering they only set me back $6 Australian dollars. What is it with Adelaide and their wild value for money? 9/10 would try again. The missing 1 point is only because I couldn’t get any more. Or didn’t want to. I can’t quite remember.
V: AN EVENING WITH JR
On the roll home Lewis and Adrian stopped by the workshop of resident frame-building genius JR. He’s been producing some straight fire while getting brazed for a bit now, Lewis’ fabled Teen Dream Skyline Purp road bike an inclusion to his high regarded and growing “Hall of Frame”. As we arrived he was putting some touches on a small frame headed to Sydney, while the tubes of friend of the Soup; Alex Caruana sat on the bench ready and eager to come to life.
After Lewis had finished his recommendations for new inclusions on the workshop playlist, with beers and sun downed it was time to resume the ride home and commence important mid race weekend recovery.
VI: 3 STEPS TO RECOVERY
Step One: Wholesome and hearty food.
We pulled up to a humble suburban Vietnamese joint, a regular haunt of Lewis and Vic. It being featured in Broadsheet was understood as a joke, with what the turquoise walls, floor and ceiling, and the horse paintings that featured real, but probably faux horse hair. The place was also empty as we arrived, but as our own hearty meal arrived and the deliciousness unpacked, the Broadsheet phenomenon rang true as the place began filling up to the point of young couples huffing and puffing over not being able to get a table. Don’t blow up the spot you say? Too late.
Step Two: Serenade.
If you were game enough to read our Giro d’Italia piece back in May, you would have come across an hour long podcast that should really cease peppering the airwaves. Opening said podcast was Alex putting together a rousing rendition of a true Ital-American fav, listen to it even if just for the first minute. His smooth, soulful voice characterised by blasting cigs and shisha gives it a certain rasp that judges from The Voice certainly wouldn’t be able to pinpoint.
We’re not sure of the healing properties of music just yet, perhaps we should write the inaugural paper on such matters, but for an hour or so Alex belted out some favourite tunes, and began learning new ones, even if it was just the first few lines of particularly moody songs. It allowed our legs to relax, our minds to hit pause and for the coals to warm up.
Step 3: Shisha
Made famous on Bridge Rd Richmond during early Soup Boys post-work rides and featuring prominently during the infinity pool era, the tradition continued into the later evening with an apricot and mint flav. The sizzling of lil’ roundies (coals) nearby allowed leg muscles to recover and remain warm, while internal warmth came from kicking it with the crew, and the sporadic macking on with the shisha pipe. Praise be.
VII: GEORGE BUSH KILLED BAMBI'S MUM
For the Melbourne crew, the novelty of the Adelaide Breakfast and/or Brunch will probably never wear off. Portions served up to us are twice the size and nearly half the price, while coffees come needing thumbs ups for scale. Shit is vegan friendly, and once the wider squad caught wind of our attendance that morning, requests came in thick and fast asking us to “eat croissants in their honour” – yep, the croissants at Bambi’s Kitchen are as the French would say: “sick as fuck”.
The morning sun, no need for waiting for a table, and the fact you can probably cover your meal with spare change as opposed to a sizeable chunk of your salary has brunch in the city of churches high on the menu.
VIII:THE BÆS NU CLOTHES
For season 2017 we channelled the impressionist vibes of Van Gogh, seen locally at Melbourne’s very own NGV. It was a coming together of squads, and association with CyclingTips VeloClub and a few handfuls of very, very real sponsors. For 2018 we have formally returned, this time venturing a little more towards the modern era, but still throwing it back to golden days.
As a cyclocross team known for its youthful exuberance and its true community spirit, paying homage to the early 90’s kits of Ajax Amsterdam – a club known for its youth academy and revolutionary #vibe was seen as the perfect fit. We took their away kit from the very start of the 90’s, flipped it, reversed it, and blended it with the pretty colour palette of the Soup Bæs CX team. On top of that we refined, nay CURATED our sponsors, going from 25 sponsors that included countries, consulting agencies and media corporations to just a handful. Local legends Pedla were instrumental in the process, refining their skin suit for us to include longer sleeves, some firm, aero fabric that our opponents wouldn’t be able to grab onto, while longer legs, new grippers and enhanced durability would ensure it could stand the test of time, or hundreds of slide tackles.
Together it’s something special, and while you might have already copped a sneak peek, here are the early photos from our pre-race and post-race lookbook featuring Adrian and Sam. It’s only fitting that the first race we would debut our 2018 kit would be in the surrounds of numerous football grounds. Next week we introduce the team proper, but until then you’ll probably see us popping up on High Snobiety and stuff.
As shade made itself more readily available we did a little track walk during the women’s race with a pack of Girl Guides biscuits in hand, allowing what little life-light we had left to continue to flicker. When the women’s racing abruptly finished, we journeyed back to the race village for pizza, more beers, and much deserved Solo: The Thirst Crusher. Positioned in the shade of the first corner we watched J Blood cakewalk his way to another victory, briefly slowing to consider taking a pizza hand up with a few laps to go.