THE GOODBYE WINTER BUMPER BICYCLING WEEKEND
It is a cyclists birth rite to wave goodbye to winter. And it is a lean teen’s birth rite to wave goodbye to winter in emphatic Soup Boys Style (patented) fashion. This is a tale of two cities, two states. Our crews either side of the border were aiming to see the closing weekend of winter out in unique style. The Melbourne crew would go out and set the bar, but thanks to the magic of timezones the Adelaide chapter of the SBC had half an hour up their sleeves to plan and hopefully surpass the freshly set benchmark. As for the winner, we leave it up to you to decide. Technically we all win, as winter is now behind us and we can begin to focus on our calf definition and tans. Unless you’re in Canberra with your year round winter type shit.
Saturday centred around the “concept” of “bicycle racing”. Adrian and Don were in the process of preparing for, whilst over in Adelaide, specifically at the foot of Willunga Hill Alex was in the business of participating and hopefully executing. Both slightly different to each other, but with the same end goal in mind – going hella fast.
I: YARRA GLEN CENTURY
Meeting outside Melbourne’s most unfortunately charming McDonalds in Clifton Hill, Adrian and Don headed for the north eastern hills of Greater Melbourne stopping only to relieve a 7eleven of their bananas. Thanks to a few strategic bonus vert wrong turns, both #summerofgravel and #summeroflongsleeves techniques were employed as they wound their way towards the vineyards of the Yarra Valley via Mt Pleasant. Once out on the clearer roads, pre-criterium season strategies were slowly hatched and recently troublesome joints were ironed out. A bakery stop in Yarra Glen for caffé latte’s and vanilla slices was worked off with an up Inverness, down the 1 in 20 journey of Mt Dandenong before heading back to Melbourne proper. Upon our arrival the boys in blue (no not Astana) the AFP were kind enough to close off a few Flinders St blocks meaning we could simultaneously chill and drop some fine ass sprints on the asses of a wowed audience before splitting for HSP’s in respective hoods.
II: PENNY'S HILL HANDICAP
It was Alex's and the Soup Boys first participation in one of Adelaide's most iconic handicaps at Penny's Hill. The 2016 edition of the race was a 66km route altered from years gone by and featured a small loop around the Penny's Hill Vineyards before a preme sprint out the front of the winery's cellar door. The riders then continued on through Willunga, and up the famed Willunga Hill which has showcased many duels between leaders in the Tour Down Under. Following some more rolling terrain on Brookman Rd, the race would turn onto Dashwood Gully Rd and Mclaren Flat Rd and loop back around. The business end of the race came on Penny's Hill, the hosting winery's namesake, a short but brutal (particularly so after 66km of hard racing) climb with pinches reaching over 15%.
Taking the occasional breath between rehydration and vegan pizza, Alex was kind enough to sit down for his post race press conference and give us a bicycle racers insight to the...bicycle race.
"My second ever handicap began as a stark contrast to my first (The John Woodman Memorial Wagga to Albury), but what I didn't realise is that this would continue through the middle of the race and also the end. The course was hillier and shorter than in Wagga to Albury, I had a significantly less handy handicap, and there would be little to no teamwork in my bunch from kilometre 0 to kilometre 66. As the bunch rolled out from the start line, it was clear that everyone simply could not be bothered that day. There was almost no contest for the preme sprint, which I managed to win with a sub 1000 watt, 5 pedal stroke "sprint", and after the dismal effort I was off the front of the group for the next kilometre or 2 even though I was only pushing about 250 watts. After 2 or 3 people started working together in the bunch I was absorbed about 1km before Willunga and started rolling turns in the bunch. Once we reached the hill, myself and another rider set the pace up the climb and by the top there was only about 8 of us left. Of that bunch, 3 or 4 of us worked together for the remainder of the race, and by the last 10km we were the only ones left. Due to a mishap with an unmanned corner, we merged with the bunch who started before us and carried on until the bottom of Penny's Hill. By this point I was utterly spent, and dragged myself up to the top for a somewhere-around-top-30 finish.
All in all, it was a super fun race on a spectacular parcours. It was also an eye opening experience into how not all handicaps are brimming with good teamwork and generous handicaps. I gave a valiant effort, or at least an effort, and I didn't come last. What more could a Soup Boy really ask for?"
Racing was the theme of the previous day, so as it should have been, Sunday was about recovery. At least that was the case in Adelaide. Through days of fantastic weather providing a sign of things to come, the entire Adelaide crew and friends, Dean and Adrian amongst the wider Melbourne #masteslyf #squad copped some quality Vitamin D and rolled the legs over. Unfortunately the latter would be participating in a Hells 500 kind of Sunday recovery sesh.
I: BOUCLE DE BURBS
A finer pre-spring day could not have been chosen for the Treadly bicycle shop's Boucle de Burbs. A wonderfully sunny, slightly windy day set the scene for a day of two wheeled adventure. On the agenda: riding bicycles, sinking beers, getting lost, unlost and lost again. Skidding tyres down to their last threads of canvas, 240fps slow speed tumbles, another round of beers, the acquisition of caffé lattes, waving goodbye to our tyres canvas threads, and finally. One last round of beers. The best part? It was all enjoyed at a very slow pace in the company of some very gr8 m8's. Guest Adelaide Correspondent Victoria Paterson was on the scene aboard her Telekom Pinarello, camera in hand to provide the internet photographic evidence on how the Boucle de Burbs is taking extreme leisurely bicycling to the next level.
The route as usual followed through some of Adelaide most beautiful lanes, alleyways, bike paths, roads, streets, and parks. The beautiful scenery of Australia's only, and most picturesque "Big Country Town-City", was taken in and in true South Aussie fashion, enjoyed with a few beers. There were multiple Boucle de Beers beer stops along the way and were probably the highlight of the day for most of the SBC;
BOUCLE DE BEERS PRES: ALEX'S PLACE
Alex's place held a very lonely pres-sesh to all those who had training to do before the actual start of Boucle de Beers. After a massive turnout with almost 1 guest turning up, everyone had a great time listening to Drake and channeling the #summervibes by the backyard water feature while downing some Westies. They then gathered the remainder of the westies in Alex's Crumpler coolerbag (patent pending) and made their merry way to the eastern suburbs to meet the rest of the gang.
BOUCLE DE BEERS STOP 01: LITTLE BANG BREWERY
Hidden away in a small suburban street in Stepney just metres away from Bikebug Stepney, Little Bang Brewery held host to the first Soup Boys Boucle de Beers Stop. It was here where all members of the squad were to finally gather, about 1/3 of the way through the route. A few pints were downed and much shit was spoken amongst the barrel tables and umbrellas. The stop here was somewhat brief, and after a lazy start to the day it was paramount that the ride was continued as there were many more beer stops yet to be enjoyed.
BOUCLE DE BEERS STOP 02: OXFAM CORNER
It is the hub of all things ethical, and so it is just that Oxfam cornered played host to the second beer stop. Free organic, fair-trade chocolate and iced tea was being served, petitions towards ethical causes were being signed, and the #summervibes and #carribeancrossvibes were being channeled yet again to great effect. The gang were easily fooled into forgetting that they were not actually in the Cayman Islands, while downing more Westies by the inflatable palm trees. A few skids and wheelies were ripped before the grand SBC departure was made.
↑ The good part about rides like the Melburn Roobaix or the Boucle de Burbs is that it brings a wide variety of bicycle rider, racer and/or enthusiast out to play. You'll have folk on their vintage steelies, angelically decorated commuters, and the occasional shit hot Rogers Bespoke masterpiece rolling about. They're all out with the same goal in mind – having fun (& getting moderately inebriated).
↓ Bonus pretty in pink @bikesanddogs cameo Adelaide Edition!
↑ The second most important part of Boucle de Burbs was most certainly the inclusion of extreme sports. Now you may ask yourself, "Why do i enjoy extreme sports so much?" And the answer is simple, you get to see people doing pointless but cool shit, and crashes. There is nothing more painfully enjoyable than watching someone injure themselves attempting risky stunts, and extreme sports are all about that. The Soup Boys were proudly bombing gaps, gutters, stairs, and hills all day. Ripping fat skids. Doing mad wheelies, hektik jumps, and the occasional stoppie all day. But what's more important is that these were all attempted to the point where someone crashed. Over the day the Soup Boys saw multiple tumbles, the most notable being Alex's failed stoppie attempt at West Terrace. But the crashes did not overshadow the successful attempts. There weren't that many photos of these occurrences, it's a true mystery , but here's some of Finn doing a dope ass wheelie, and what remained of Alex's rear tyre. Bless up to skid.cc always and forever.
BOUCLE DE BEERS STOP 03: THE FINISH LINE
By the time the fam had reached the finish line, the presentations had already started and things were getting lit. The final Westies were consumed and those who were in a rush to get home went there separate ways. As it turns out no Soup Boy won a prize. We are currently investigating into this injustice, and promise to our fans that next year we will give a much more valiant effort towards the competitions.
BOUCLE DE BEERS AFTER PARTY: JACK'S HOUSE
Although there was an actual afterparty for the event, none of the SBC were able to make it due to other commitments and unforeseen circumstances, namely it getting dark and nobody having lights. So the remainder of the dwindling group made their way to Jack's house for a few cheeky vb's and some stir fry whipped up by semi-unprofessional Soup Boys chef Jack. Some chilling ensued in the Cinema Dre before the group finally parted ways completely for the weekend. The next time they would be riding on the sabbath it would be spring, and as they rolled home into the setting sun thoughts turned to the beach, shredded af baby cows and quads, summer romance and hectic tan lines. So much more to look forward to.
II: OL DIRTY
If there are enough replacement derailleurs and masochist cyclists left in the world a few years from now, the Ol Dirty hosted by the Hells 500 will most definitely hit 10 years strong. A day defined by various types of dirt, gravel, rock and false flats of various false-ness, its an enormously tough but thoroughly enjoyable day out. This year the course started and finished in Marysville, a small alpine-ish town returning to its glory days after being for lack of a better word: levelled by bushfire a few years back. Dean had his Rapha Focus back out of semi-permanent retirement, Adrian was aboard John Daly and they were both running off 4~ hours sleep as the drive was made via the Yarra Valley and Black Spur. Hells 500 had kindly provided a highly curated playlist during the week that would later echo throughout the valleys, but instead we opted for something slightly more chilled out as we nursed ghost hangovers and servo bought, rock hard Lamingtons, donuts and slices.
With the crowds listening intently, or complaining that they couldn’t hear, the Hells 500 fearless leader/head masochist known as AVB offered his briefing atop the tray of a dual cab, giving intricate details of the course, potential shortcuts and misplaced embro application. It wasn’t too long before it was time to roll out along what would be the only tarmac we would see and experience until mid afternoon.
With a gorgeous Labrador offering its barking support, the first and only tarmac’d false flat (hitting 18%) was crested with the first single track/almost goat track. Crowds milled through combination of waiting for friends to hit the top/mustering the courage to head into the winding forest. Along the way, the broken derailleur count began with a few people already beginning the walk back to Marysville with their bicycles a little worse for wear. We were only 10 or so kilometres in and the shaka count was already through the roof, and the first of many pieces of almost goat track was tallied. Upon exiting it we were welcomed with our first (and disappointingly only) Hawaiian shirt of the day (come on spring isn’t far away), and a brief descent to reward our efforts up the previous false flat.
It wasn’t long after the lightning quick descent that we were headed upwards again. This time only on foot – unless you were a member of the psycho group of folk on Specialized who were all so insistent on riding up anything and everything. Add a couple to the shaka count, the calf work out count, and the Psycho Specialized crew making us look bad count. Way to go guys. Cheers.
↑ If you enjoyed the previous hike, you were given the treat of taking the bonus High Line option. Unfortunately there would be no fat blunts, only a track of 30% covered in dirt and rocks, and a whole bunch of regret from those who took it. For those too afraid (see dictionary definition of smart) – the Low Line was taken. Aka a gentle climb along a relatively smooth piece of dirt road, only interrupted by supreme views, photo ops taken by Kip, dirt bikes and those old school Daihatsu 4WD’s you normally see falling apart on Metropolitan freeways.
↓ It could have potentially been the ridiculously steep hike, a lack of food (we bailed on the rock hard servo Lamingtons) or a combination of those two and a whole bunch of other things, but once the Low Line was chosen, Dean began chasing the shit out of what he claimed was a unicorn. We hear they can pop up from time to time, but does anyone know what he was on about?
Broken Derailleur Count: 3ish
Almost Goat Track Count: also 3ish
Shakas: touching on 300
Nature Breaks: 3 (incredible for a single bidon day, be concerned for our kidneys)
Once at the top of Mt Margaret – where the Low Line reconnected with the High Line, a leafy descent kindly cooled our warming bodies as the sun became to finally show itself proper. Whilst not as badly as Kwaichang and Cam (3km), most people overshot the left hander half way down the descent which placed you on the “full blown Goat Track” section – a descent to cool your body further, rattle the shit out of your joints and potentially make you piss yourself. Dean spent the entirety of this phenomenal section on the brakes, head and entire body shaking. Adrian on the other hand added to the shaka count by about 200, performing the entire downhill in the famed human saddle bag position.
Like climbing Dinner Plain, where you just end up at the “top”, so too did the Full Blown Goat Track sector. What we were greeted with was a number of horse studs, decadent rural properties and after turning into the Cathedral Range State Park; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews private stash of that sweet dank.
Despite the scenery, almost everyone was peering at their bicycle computers and wondering when and where lunch would be. Soon memory of the flowing creeks, of our Premiers secret stash, the laughing and just general chit chat ended. If we wanted to “cop a feed” we had to battle up the days major false flat. So false, so flat, and located right in the centre of a technical difficulties type black spot it certainly made us earn our lunch. Options were ride it hoping to keep traction on the rear wheel, walk it, or vodka throwback and dance up. If you want to see what kind of dancefloor some of us were working with. If you really want to. You can take a look here. Everyone just made sure that, like throughout the day we followed the signs to our respite at Room 420 – the designated luncheon spot.
If you hadn’t ridden or hiked or danced yourself inside out on the way up the Cathedral Ranges, a sight for the sorest of eyes greeted you amongst shady surrounds. You were welcomed to Hotel Ol Dirty, with valet bicycle parking offered. Heading up to the 69th floor you found Room 420, a luxurious oasis normally only reserved for elite level rappers. 24 carat gold monogrammed Ol Dirty robes were donned, flutes of cristaaaaaaal handed to us upon arrival, a feast of pizza, chocolate and the black doctor spread like it was the last supper and finally if you were in the mood to rest weary legs, there was the worlds plushest, almost Franco Cozzo (start the tally) style bed calling your name longingly.
Under the ever watchful eye of Kwaichang, Hells finest Pizza Pie was handed out to the battlers of Ol Dirty. Providing replenishment for the final few kilometres back to Marysville (fortunately mostly downhill). Dean had come back to his senses after unicorn chasing, busting rap squats mid pizza, and even mustered up the energy to charm his way into a packet of salt and vinegar chips. All about the VIP treatment.
With the exception of a few slight rolling uphill parts, almost constant wash outs around every single corner, and simultaneous-dual-double-punctures for friends the elevator (descent) downstairs from Room 420 was pretty uneventful… Once back on tarmac-ferma combination bath robe aero-tuck, running man meme dot gif and a bakery inspired paceline was set for the last few kilometres back to Marysville. As was the case last year in Warburton, it was stimulation of the local economy in exchange for fresh out of the glass cabinet baked goods drew the curtains on another utterly fucked up kind of enjoyable Ol Dirty – the first instalment of the Spring Dirty Trilogy. (audible gasp? "whaaaat?")