SOUP BOYS 2017 AGM: THE MINUTES

 

Since the early days, the second half of October/first half of November signalled the sitting of the always required Soup Boys AGM. First iterations took place over burgers and longnecks on Richmond's Bridge Rd before an evolution of the summit brought about Skype calls in pubs, burritos in hands. For 2017 however, and for the first time ever, the AGM would take the form of a long weekend away. So too would it host a record attendance, beating the previous benchmark twofold. 

The AGM is a sacred tradition, and a chance for us to attend with the proper intention of haphazardly planning the growth and evolution of the SBC. Instead, we were left surrounded by several empty cases of beer, infinite 35mm film canisters and a well worn BBQ. So it should go without saying that if you’ve come here hoping to gain intel on how you can steal our approach, jack our swag or have us secede our territory, you’ve come to the wrong place, because we don't even know what any of that is yet. Read on.

 
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I: AGENDA

 

The lead up to the Official Meeting was a two part process, something that was unprecedented when compared to AGM’s gone by. Part one involved a short 4 minute completion time external survey which we made readily available to adoring fans, fence-sitters and critics alike. Safe to say we received an overwhelming amount of responses, far more than our predicted handful. Modelled on Steve Jobs famed NPS surveys, we began the survey by asking people to rate their level of enjoyment from our 2017 offerings out of 10. This was followed by a range of questions that helped provide insights into our audience in a more personable way, and find out what everyone in the digital ether wanted to see more, or less of. For those that were fearless in the response, we wholeheartedly thank you, playing such a big role in helping shape history is no easy feat.

The first survey helped inform the second – a longer, 17 minute completion time, asking-for-more-detail kind of thing that was sent out among the SBC ranks. It helped set expectations on both sides, and allowed ideas to flow, to create conversation starters when we gathered in the Grampians. After some in-depth analysis, and brief discussions between founding fathers, one of which would unfortunately be absent during the AGM, we settled upon the following key areas on which we would create a dialogue about, create synergy with, and #digital #disrupt the industry:

INCLUSION • RACING TEAM • ACCESSIBILITY • NEW CONTENT PATHWAYS • STRENGTHEN ADELAIDE #SQUAD.

 

II: SOUNDTRACK

 

Close your eyes and imagine the following. Sitting on 110 past Melton, as you drive into a setting sun. You've got your hands and lips wrapped around either a burger or a series of chicken nugs, chips to follow. The sun is a literal representation of a gold coin, like the newest and shiniest 2 dollar piece of all time. Once it sets, behind us an absolutely perfect Paspaley pearl rises from the opposing horizon, the moon guiding you from the cooked-ness of the Ararat Woolworths carpark and on-edge-af police woman to the lush surrounds of the Grampians National Park. What soundtrack do you image? Your answer should be this double disc one.

 

III: OPENING OF MEETING

 

Upon the decking of the Bellfield Studio at the back of the property we gathered car by car. Having had the entire day off, Lewis and Matty had arrived from Adelaide with enough time to call dibs on beds, set up a fire and get busy prepping burritos atop a BBQ and gas burner.

 
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YUNG LUGO'S DIRTY AUS-TRALIAN BURRITOS

MIX
1 can of black beans*
1 can of red kidney beans*
1 can of cannolini beans*
Paprika
Cumin
Herbs & Spices**
1kg Beef Mince
2 jalapeños
2 cayenne chilis
1 bird's eye
Brown onion
Garlic
A couple bæ leaves

Refried beans (homemade or store bought)
Fresh Mission burrito wraps

SALSA
Red onion, finely chopped
Tomato, finely chopped
Hella capsicums, finely chopped
Chargrilled corn removed from the cob
Olive oil
Lime juice

* Our vegan and vegetarian friends can substitute the meat for double or triple quantities of all varieties of beans.
** Shit is wayyyyy secret, you gotta stumble upon some hectic farmers outside San Miguel de Allende and beg them to divulge their local herb & spice knowledge.

 

METHOD
The outcome is so other-worldly it should be expected that this method is too complex for anyone bar Yung Lugo. Burritos shouldn't be so good that they leave you a combination of possessed and 4am-at-Revolver-level-upgraded, but here we are. We gave all relevant information to Heston Blumenthal and he couldn't even put together a scientific deconstructed version of this immaculate, hand-held dish. The only solution is through employing the inventor himself. His going rate is $20/hr + 1 carton of Sparkling Ales per hour. Good value if you ask us.

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As the sun set proper, we milled around the fire making introductions and catching up, welcoming each arriving car load of Soup Boys with hugs and kisses. Under a full moon discussions about our current share price, and quarterly profit reports came to the fold as the fire crackled beyond midnight. With no planning having gone into riding or sightseeing, the following days schedule was largely unknown. One by one we departed the circle of discussion by the fire for the comfort of beds.

 
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IV: ROLL CALL

 

For many, this Board Meeting was their first out-of-town Soup Boys expedition. Similarly, it was the first time many were meeting outside the wormhole that is the Soup Boys group chat. It was out best turn out yet, with a healthy attendance from both Melbourne and Adelaide. Before things kicked off proper, a roll call – ensuring that people are who they say they are, making sure their voices are heard, notes attributed to the correct contributor.

 
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(L – R): Super Sexy Don, Crouching Dean Hidden Jones, Ado, Okky, Grandpa Will, Spiritual Aaron, Sleepy Don, Pumped Up Riche, Yung Lugo, Chilling Deano, Matty with bonus Sparkling Ale, Gassed up Riche, Le Danque Lifteur, Reverse Matty, Sunroof Haz, Resort Chilling Aaron, (in the sky) Matt a.k.a Davo. Absent: Alo, Benno, Zeke, Finn, Jack, Daniel, Sam, Kip, Ron Ron, Ben XL.

 

V: FIRST ADJOURNMENT

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Among the Soup ranks, the Grampians were unchartered lands – only Harry and Don had ventured through its stunning sandstone walls, the exceptions being along the drive to and/or from Adelaide. It wasn't long after a quick supply stop in Halls Gap before we were climbing between two stunning rock faces, on a road that lent a familiarity to the climbs of the Adelaide Hills.

 
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Our first stop was for the turn off onto Mount Difficult road, one that we hoped didn't bare true to its name. The first few corners would prove it to be the case, but after a while it flattened out to provide us with a final sector of Spa-Francorchamps kind of push to the Boroka Lookout. Possibly the most instagrammed lookout in the Grampians, our arrival at this perfect rock ledge would be the first chance to let fellow tourists marvel in our Directeur Sportif's rig.

 
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The motion to avoid the gravel descent was put forth and passed unanimously – we would return from whence we came, and continue on west of Halls Gap, diving deeper into the mountain range. A winding road brought us to a small hut where we sought refuge from the wind while the waiting game commenced for our regathering.

 
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A delayed regathering resulted from an incident along the potholed descent, Okky coming off worse for wear, now assuming the role as videographer for the rest of the weekend. We spent a little time in the sun extending him our sympathies and rebuilding his spirits as he climbed back into the cruiser – four wheels or two, we were ready to shred the descent to McKenzie Falls.

 
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The carpark was mayhem, families were enjoying picnics all over the place. Even though Harry pulled up (wherever he wanted to) in the carpark, Yung Lugo lead us down a treacherous path - a red dirt road which soon turned to a very sandy road. Tubs were tippy-toed to the tarmac junction a few hundred metres away, the wait for Jonesy commencing. The junction turned into a road to a lake, throwing up memories of upstate NY, we guess. The muted tones surrounding the lake matched Tenet Supply kit perfectly, while a bed of hella purp flora camouflaged Dean’s new Allez.

 
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Back at McKenzie Falls, Okky and Harry made the definitely-not-bike-friendly trek down to the falls proper, dodging and weaving their way between families and squabbling children. When there a refreshing oasis in the middle of the Grampians presented itself in grandiose splendour.

 
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Having explored some of the depths of the mountain range, by mid afternoon it was time to return to base camp. Beating the tourist traffic we ascended back up towards Boroka Lookout, stopping off for a cheeky balco sesh at Reid’s Lookout. The view was spectacular, but wasn’t what left us speechless - instead it was the thought of wrapping lips around baked goods that left us dribbling and spouting indecipherables. Corner Like Casey Stoner to the bakery.

 
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VI: DEVELOPMENT & STRATEGY

 

In 2018 we're looking to diversify and expand what we do, and not just when it comes to the kinds of media we use, or the channels they are broadcast through. We received some brilliant responses to both our internal and external surveys that will allow us to head into unchartered territory normally not dared ventured to by the cycling world, approached with angles that we have been keeping on ice for quite some time.

 
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So far we have flexed creative muscles in fields we know a thing or two about, thanks to extensive time studying and dabbling in the creative fields. We've opted for that slow, incremental growth and expansion, not because we need time to learn ins and outs, but because we all have hella day (or super early morning) jobs, social lives, mums that we need to call, dogs that need walking, study that needs doing. 

Now that we've settled, we're ready to add to our longform reports brimming with photography, design & illustration, written word and playlist curation. We're looking at taking these all to a next, but very useful level, all while adding in video, audio and best of all – real life manifestations of our vibe. Having previously experimented with video to a lovingly warm response, we will surely be keeping things super simple and wholesome. We might not have the biggest production budgets compared to others but damn do we have the ideas, and we can at least afford an Adobe CC subscription. Orally we're talking podcasts, the big wave of the last 12-18 months. We know some friends doing some great things on these digital airwaves (shoutout VTWO & the Wilko Show), and if time allows it maybe we'll look towards putting together some sporadic podcasts in 2018.

 
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Beyond the kinds of media and channels, we want to add more diversity to what we broadcast out into the world. Through our interactions on the street, at races, online, and through the participants in our external survey, we confirmed what we already knew – that our audience is a super diverse one. What that survey helped us do, through your “tick a box” or “fill in the comment” responses was provide us with a few more important details to ensure that we hit the mark in a better way and more often. For whatever reason, heaps of different people, many of whom aren't cyclists tune in to what we throw out into the digital stratosphere. This is something we want to grow into 2018 by bringing in guest contributors, inviting a wider range of friends, and covering every possible angle.

 
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This includes the inclusion and coverage of the womens side of the sport. Many of our cycling heroes come from womens racing – Vos, Meares, Ferrand-Prevot, Edmondson; and over the last few years of spectating bicycle racing across multiple states and on TV, we’ve come to the real conclusion that almost all of the time, its significantly more entertaining than when the men are rolling.

The length we go covering the non-elites is one thing, but we truly pride ourselves on covering as much as we possibly and logistically can when it comes to womens racing. We always know we could do more, and do it better, thats why we’re opening the doors and offering our platform to anyone who would like to contribute. Whether through racing for the Soup Bæs CX or raising your hand for a guest spot to write, ride, take photos or drop some knowledge on us, we want to do our bit in further raising the profile of womens experiences within the cycling landscape. Specifically when it comes to the Women's World Tour, Loren Rowney provided readers over on Ella CyclingTips with a few ways you can help too. We know there are countless stories beyond the Pro Tour to be uncovered, and plenty of insights to local women's racing that deserve to be heard, and we want to do what we can to help bring those to the fore.

 
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VII: BONFIRE BY CHILDISH GAMBINO

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First of all: the reference song.

The “just right” amount of kilometres had settled the legs left restless from the travel and campfire lazing, while ideas to alter the trajectory of cycling, and change the world were well out in the open. The sizzling BBQ signalled the end of the first full day of the Soup Boys AGM, swole cuties manning Le Grille.

Meats, salads and grilled vegetables refilled our tanks after the strenuous 65km day that we had experiences, marshmallows and 2 cases of beer our dessert. As darkness began to creep in the circle of chairs reformed around the fireplace, the crisp, clear night providing us a starry sky in which we were able to plot out our Q1-Q4 financial charts.

 
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Ultra-fucking-rare Soup Boys Corner Like Casey Stoner t-shirt spotted.

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VIII: SECOND ADJOURNMENT

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Unlike the ultra lazy first morning, we rose early for the sabbath to the coals of our campfire still glowing, kangaroos having milled around it overnight. The crispness of the morning had us calling upon our puffer jackets and flannos, items from our wardrobe that would become handier as we ventured deeper into the ride.

 
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The previous day we ventured into the heart of the Grampians, for day two we would head true south in the hunt for the highest peak of the mountain range – Mount William. Italian disco blared through the valley as we passed Lake Bellfield, revealing our cabins origin story and providing us a place to stop on the way back, with only a single left hand turn to come between our accomodation and the official turn around point.

 
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Like the cruelest of Giro d’Italia stages, it would only take 9 kind of lumpy kilometres before we would hit the bottom of a climb with enough pepper to require jackets to become stowaway. Mt William is the highest peak in the Grampians, and being on the eastern fringe of the mountain range meant that it copped the full force of the winds that would pass over the wasteland to the east (no disrespect to Ararat of course). Every few kilometres the scenery immediately surrounding us would change drastically, showing us species of flora we weren’t normally accustomed to riding alongside. All the while the views that were to our right, or our left for the last kilometre or so left jaws hanging lower and lower with each turned corner. Still scratched from the previous day, Okky made the most of these gaping jaws, and like annoying brat child menacing the clown game at the Melbourne show shoved pitted dates into mouths as we rode past. An initial choke led to significant boosts in energy, resulting in endless praise and thanks to our beats master lord.

 
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We hit base camp, the lavish carpark of Mount William staring the sun square in the face, while being properly backhanded by the all now too evident wind. Adrian who had Thierry Henry’d his way up the climb was sleeping in the bed he had now so reluctantly made. He lived with the assumption, or fragment of hope that he would regain core warmth once things progressed along the final 1.5km, apparently the harder of the 10 or so to the “actual top”. For everyone else, puffer jackets largely remained, Italian disco still prevailed. Those that needed the extra warmth channelled the Nonna vibes and wrapped themselves in the finest blankets the Bellfield Studio had on its linen closet shelves. From here Okky and Harry would remain in the lavish carpark, the road up to the top formally closed off to all non-authourised four wheel traffic.

 
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Weaving through the gate in single file, things quickly turned into a Chris Froome impersonation contest. Aboard his new Allez, built for speed and nothing else, Jonesy didn’t have the chance to rely on the 32t big dog cassette that had so frequently had him swinging from treetops. Around a slight kink to the left, and things got a whole lot worse. From the pure concentration and flailing of elbows Froome was known by, we immediately hit Ryder Hesjedal x Fabio Aru territory to the tune of an apparent 29.5%. Those with 28 teeth crept ahead only slightly, those with climb-ier bodies grimaced less, but those few hundred metres touching 30% were nothing that months of training on Beach Rd could have prepared us for.

The hairpin we thought was the light at the end of the tunnel was anything but. It was the last “Football to Crotch” we could handle. A few switchbacks, each steeper than the last counterattacked us, and when they let up, the more casual 10% and hellish winds were there to finish us off. Some walkers who had left the lavish carpark only fractionally before us clapped the first few riders through, proud of their efforts. At least the view was worth it.

 
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As promised, our way back to the Bellfield Studio was only interrupted by a stop at the lake of the same name. Given we now knew the exact age of the lake (thanks historical sign) we began to question if the lake was in fact named after the studio, given its aged, yet again ageless decor. Once we had escaped the wormhole of the origins of Bellfield, Harry whipped out the 200mm retro Canon beast to conduct a photoshoot with Lugo for Tenet Supply, the rest of us conducting another with a fellow tourist – adding that little something special to her holiday snaps.

 
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IX: CONTENT & DELIVERY

 

Longform isn't for everyone, or for every moment. It can make content a little trickier to produce, and we're surprised we haven't been sent any exorbitant mobile data bills with an attached “please explain”. The kinds of posts you're used to seeing on our stories section will remain, to be accompanied by a heap of short form content going into next year. The aim is to open the floodgates to internal and external contributors, and to shine a persistent light on the always bustling bicycling community. It won't be dedicated to a specific kind of storytelling, instead for the rides, the events and ideas we have that don't come together with enough might of a 4000 word, 75 photo blog post will fit in nicely. Restrictions won't be in place, but loose guidelines will be set to have it sitting around the length of a quick coffee break.

 
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How are we going to broadcast it? Well first and foremost, it will be transmitted through our fresh out the oven newsletter. When did we announce this I hear you ask. Right now, we respond. It's going to be called Jornal do Zuppa, a non-intrusive, paywall-free monthly newsletter that will arrive in your inbox during the first week of every month starting January 2018. There will be stories and tidbits that will only be broadcast through our newsletter, while others will also pop up now and again through other social media channels, namely our Facebook which we have been guilty of copy & paste syndrome.

Issue 00 will set the scene before we open things up to wider contribution, filling in your details now will ensure that you'll get the first glimpse at the new wave of Soup related content for the year.

 
 
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Rediscovered by those who have been around since the start, introduced and loved by the newer members of the Soup Boys family, the chiller rides – a perfect example being our tour of Open House Melbourne – are making a big comeback in 2018. As far as bunchies go, our ACCSBCKPW weekly ride is anything but a smash fest, and our annual Christmas lights ride will be the yearly wrap up before a much deserved period of R&R, but what of things when we return in January? Like Sweet Home Alabama we will return to our roots like Golden Children, celebrating the foundations on which the SBC were formed. We're calling it the renaissance, and while it is happening throughout the year, it will officially kick off with a special occasion and an actual campaign in late February, more details of which will slowly come to light.

 
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What else can you expect from us in 2018? We're keeping our cards close to our chest, after all if there is anything Steve Jobs taught us it was that secrets, with the occasional strategic leak to the press & public are the most valuable asset in this game. What we are willing to share with you is that we have listened to your comments, we have combined them with our own grand plans. Visions of overnighters, how-to's, race/training/commuting diaries, lifestyle pieces, ultimate guides and one day classics. We've been lucky in that we have already lined up a couple of brands that will be helping us to achieve #goals, but if you're a person and/or brand willing to join that select list, why not drop us a line and we'll do it up on your behalf. There are new places and events that need venturing to, showcasing and shredding, some will be a cinch, others not so much. Slide into our DM's and help us help you help us.

 
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X: THIRD ADJOURNMENT

 

Cleaned up and looking much more presentable for the local town folk, we hit the bakery yet again – the “Sweet Buns” ($4.20) having featured prominently in our dreams the night before. Our second visit to the bakery also aligned with an event we had no doubts would be a raging success given the marketing effort through town. The Sunday Duck Race. And it was a stacked field at that. We kept our eyes out for the magic numbers (you know the ones) but they were untraceable amongst the swarm of solid yellow. As far as we know Duck #666 could have taken home the grand prize.

 
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Back at the accomodation, things moved poolside. Despite the weather not hitting far beyond 20ºC, the super clear skies and harsh sun upon the deck of the Bellfield Studio gave us no choice but to head down to the pool, unintentionally interrupting a mother-daughter poolside aperitivo bonding sesh #family. 

The water, dazzling yet chilly. The pool zodiac, spooky but just going about its job. We sat in this state of limbo, existing in a realm that had us both wanting to be in the pool, and far away from it. When dried off, there was such unrelenting heat that this blue haven we had found called our names longingly. Things couldn’t have been further from romantic once we had jumped in for a second or third time. The romance created by brief respite from the warmth was soon cancelled out by a chilly southerly breeze, filling each swimmer with a temporary, shivering regret that slowly helped build an appetite.

 
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So it was time for the pub. If you ever find yourself in Halls Gap and on the hunt for a place to get your whistle Pierluigi Collina level wet (fair) then you’ve got 2 options. The first is the Kookaburra Hotel. Pros: it’s right in the middle of town, and even though our accomodation was on the suburban fringe of Halls Gap, still within stumbling distance should any lil’ Soup Boy hit the tins a little too hard. It’s also named after a majestic, if not slightly annoying bird. Please believe us when we say we mean no disrespect to the Kookaburra, we're just more Cockatoo kind of folk, especially the GANG GANG.

 
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Anyway the exterior of the Kookaburra Hotel looked fucked, no way were we setting foot in there for now. Instead we hit up the pub that was equal distance north of Halls Gap as we were south. The Halls Gap Hotel. Super family friendly, not that any of us have families, but the vibe of lil’ whipper snappers riding their bikes, playing beer garden cricket or hitting up the monkey bars is a good one for about 15-20 seconds. They are then matched with a twofold number of kids nearby throwing their food at their parents, spilling drinks, crying, etc. Escape to the decking, bask in the glory of what seems to be the towns only local AFL league flag, and listen your way through acoustic covers of Outkast, Nirvana and Christina Aguilera. If that doesn’t sound appealing enough, order a parma, its the size of your head.

 
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XI: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

 

We've had some wearable tech in the form of Power Gloves (see below), custom printed t-shirts floating around the place, from tie-dye jobs to rasta custom gradient screen prints, team issue jumpers and embroidered jackets. In 2017 we soft launched our online store with the Soup Bæs CX Team Issue Beanies, which we made available for a limited time at the most pointless of times to sell beanies – at the beginning of spring. They will return in 2018 for a second run in time for cross season, but the plan is to have them accompanied by a few more products in our online store.

 
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Certain products will remain exclusive to the team, to add that something special to being part of such a unique #squad – but at SBC HQ we're all about sharing the love far and wide. We're not looking at getting into the business of becoming a big player in the bicycling apparel business, so limited runs of some truly unique products that are all considered, produced and delivered with love is our vibe. Despite this we've gone and hired some of the best in the fashion game to take us to where we deserve. We're not going to get into the full details as we want to leave it a proper surprise, but with each dropped cap-sule collection we want to unlock the potential of bicycling apparel and accessories in ways that your fully fledged brands wouldn't dare tread. Bringing back to use of embroidery in cycling supporter wear was just the start. It's taken months of brainstorming, analysing survey answers and customer feedback, hour long workshops by the BBQ and fireplace of our Bellfield Studio, and will require further work and planning, but we know you'll love what we look to bring to the table. For now we are happy to give you some spoilers: there will be wearables, luggage, stickers for slapping, limited edition photo prints and other accessories for the home.

 
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For yet another year we will be pairing up with the local legends at Pedla, who since our inception proper have been the ones to kit us out in some hella good gear. During the 2017 cyclocross season, our Soup Bæs CX skin suit received widespread praise for its revolutionary design and incorporation of an unfathomable amount of very real sponsors logos and brandmarks. For next year we aim to brighten the lives of the cyclocross faithful once more with a same same but different kind of skinsuit for our team. You can expect it to contain the same iconic colourway and patterning that helps it stand out from all the others on race day, with a few subtle changes and surprises in store.

 
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!BUT! Possibly the biggest news from this ongoing relationship with Pedla is the update to the Original Soup Boys kit. We put it together during the summer of 15/16, and we thought that after 2 years, of which most have either succumbed to crashes, washing machines or “getting lean this season” it was time to bring it back. Again it won't be filled with wholesale change, but something different can be expected. How do you come into this? Well, at least one, possibly both of these aforementioned kits will be up for sale to the general public. The responses to our survey showed that among other products, there was a large percentage that was keen on a kit of some kind, and we're in the business of listening to survey respondents. Will it be a slight modification from any team issue garments? Possibly. But if you've been waiting to click Add To Cart, your moment will come soon, we promise.

 
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Finally, a product (kind of) developed further (definitely) – our #squad. Stated previously throughout the record of the 2017 AGM, Soup Bæs CX is coming back bigger and stronger for a second season. While keeping things grassroots, wholesome and hella DIY, we have managed to partner up with a few brands that are happy to help us progress in the sport and local community. They will be kept secret for now, to be revealed through an information pack that will be available to prospective riders. Thats right, we are going to be taking applications. It’s not that the 2017 squad has been depleted, or that oil money lured riders to other teams, it’s simply the belief in “Strength In Numbers”. We’re looking to bolster both our men's and women's racing numbers, with a call out for applications and interest coming soon.

 
 
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This call out should, and hopefully will line up with the commencement of the SBC Racing team. It’s super soft announcement has been hidden in the depths of this website for some time, so let’s just say it’s our way of joining the RCC brigade, the Bleed-Blue’rs, the Caartographers and 50 odd Flanders teams of the local scene. Still keeping the vibe, but getting maybe a little more competitive from time to time, if we get around to building the team proper, SBC Racing will be flying the flag in Melbourne and Adelaide from March.

 

XII: FOURTH ADJOURNMENT

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The final day of the Soup Boys AGM began with a double drop of antihistamines, hayfever finally hitting the airways and affecting a few, Adrian worse than others. The oats, bananas and toast had run dry, instead a café adventure was on the cards. Probably regretting showing up for work was our waitress, the same woman who had taken care of our table the night before at the pub. Turns out thats two of her three jobs. 

With a moment of slightly better than scant mobile coverage we went live from the breakfast table, true pricing of Dean’s wheels revealed to listeners all over the globe. Breakfast choices that had been made were also showcased to those who chose to tune in; dishes that included empanadas, croissants, mueslis and muffins. Day one had us hit 65km, day two 30km, now on day 3 we would hit the century, maybe only just - we were more interested in local hiking options.

 
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Never mind, all the good shit, or even the semi-worth seeing shit was well off the road, and just like McKenzie Falls: way not road cycling shoe friendly terrain. Instead at a leisurely pace of 5kmph we crept up the same climb we did on day one, only turning off a few hundred metres before the top, and dropping down into a small gully that blossomed with again a totally different array of flora. Still no dank tho.

 
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The road that twisted through the gully eventually ended in a carpark at the base of some hikes (closest thing worth seeing was 3km by foot away). The Director Sportif had recalled a proper good piece of intel on a previous Grampians based mission, a one way road that descended deeper into the gully, spitting you out into what you would probably call a gully’s secondary form - a gorge (the final form is canyon duh). On a brief piece of uphill, Riche dropped the mad watts, causing damage to the space/time continuum and probably his crankset. Later investigations once home would discovered that his quads emitted such power that a like a bolt of lightning his chainstays on his bike were toast. Alongside a soundtrack of the creaking chainstay, the sounds of local fauna, and hectic sneeze chains, those who weren’t totally impaired by the waves of hayfever were able to participate in some completely uninterrupted Corner Like Casey Stoner action, a long straight road headed straight down the signal things were coming to a close, where we were spat back out at an all too familiar lake. By the time we got back to The Studio, there was enough time to spit some fire, test some bikes, and peace out to the world for a few hours, the sun still beating down pleasantly.

 
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XIII: CLOSURE

 

The day finished on 30km. We had valiantly made it to 100 not out. Well cooked on the decking of the Bellfield Studio we mentally checked out before the physical. While not totally set in stone, discussions had been fruitful. New ideas had been floated, and new horizons had paths set for them. There were no oats left, no bananas, no toast. Just a dozen beers. The drive back to Melbourne would be two and a half hours. Three with our stop over in Ararat to marvel at the exterior of their hotel. Riche would drink all but one of them.

What a way to plan 2018.

 
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2017, Adventureadrian zComment