DOPING CONTROL AT THE 2018 SHIMANO SUPERCRIT
The first ever event we covered on this here website was the Shimano Supercrit of a few years back. Since then almost nothing has changed. The course is still the exact same, the pace across all racing is still red hot when compared to level and ability of competing riders, and we still start the day on the peoples straight, the back straight. What has changed however is the progressive watering down of our race coverage. Slowly but surely our approach to covering the bicycle racing aspect of the Shimano Supercrit has been left in the oven a little too long each time. We’d grown so accustomed to Supercrit Merchant Scotty Sundo taking the win so easily that we didn’t bother paying much attention until the final corner of the final lap. Now he’s nowhere to be seen, and we’ve been exposed as not knowing shit about shit (this race).
Last year we turned the days racing into some kind of whack film festival, the year before we took a wrong turn somewhere and got stuck atop the White Cliffs of Dover, scared of heights and struggling to get down, and the internet has melted our brains to the point where we can’t remember what came the year before that. This year as we travelled from the inner north-west suburbs of Melbourne through the CBD and towards our morning congregating point, we wondered if anybody had ever referred to (and remained aghast at the fact that this included us) Spencer St as Spenny as in Spencer Nolan Rice from seminally fucked up Canadian show of the mid-2000’s Kenny vs Spenny.
Now that you know what our headspace looked like on this final big Sunday of racing for the year, proceed.
I: CLEANING UP
Hot off the heels of the Soup Boys Press Clüb travelling time and arriving at the 2016 Supercrit fresh from Frost Nixon vibes was SBC Doping Control. Officially commissioned by Hype-WADA to take care of all controlling matters we thought it best to hit the Supercrit this year on the prowl for indiscretions towards “the culture”.
What is “the culture”? We’re planning to both explore and explain early in the new year, but as see-appointed experts on the matter of what is dope, and what is whack, we felt truly honoured to be bestowed such a responsibility from the most-fire committee of the High Snobiety Governing Body.
At first we were thinking of heading undercover on our survey, but that wouldn’t be like us at all. Marking the occasion was the production of 2 very special and highly official staff uniforms, notifying the general public and racer alike that High Snobiety at the very least takes controlled dope and whackness very seriously. And so, we explored and surveyed the sights and sounds of the Shimano Supercrit to determine what was certified whack, and what was dope.
II: TRADITIONAL PRE’S
Since our very first attendance of the Supercrit, our traditional meeting point has been either at, or within a block of the South Melbourne Markets. Harry has always recently completed a set at his nearby gym, Adrian has always slept in then ridden across town in a flurry, and there is always at least one no show. A last minute inclusion to our roll call was Brando, making an appearance after a run in with NoMates the previous day, and coming to the realisation that his housemate would be racing today.
Like Sunday church wine we drank caffé lattes from the chalice of St. Clement, 2 of the wildest Christmas Carols buskers really putting the other kid around the corner to true shame. They could sing, they could dance, they probably have a Soundcloud link, and they definitely followed us up filming them for our fans with an Insta DM. And so we begin with a resounding…
III: OFFICIALLY SHOOTING
At some cycling events the price you pay for a media pass is your life. On other occasions its a few Australian dollars, and in the special times its a case of an official sneaking you a media pass when nobody else is looking. For all other times its worth keeping a high vis vest stashed in your camera bag then spending the rest of the day doing whatever the hell you want.
**It’s also worth noting that if you’ve come to our site in search of informative race reportage through either medium of written word and/or photograph, you’re in the wrong place. Head to our recommended source of race photography on Ben Lehner’s website instead.**
As a sleeping giant in the print-screen literally anything world, perhaps we’ll start taking to custom hype-vests in a variety of fluorescent colours, but that’s for another day.
The other way around this predicament is assuming the role of other vital race day staff, such as doping control officers for example. If ever questioned about your legitimacy, you may respond with quips of “no we are not officially shooting” but that the cameras may be required at some stage should any extreme examples of doping and whack violations arise. Anyway we’ve gone and done the official shooting thing already, didn’t you hear about our Rapha takeover?
IV: THE NEW HSV COLORADO
Like the late series Transformer movies where robots kept popping out of nowhere, Ford Rangers have taken the Australian dual cab landscape by storm. This has left humble Holden Colorado’s by the dozen sitting sad and lonely, idling away in Holden dealerships across the land, even deprived of their white cliffs of dover to play upon. If only the general consumer of dual cab Utes in this country knew they came Brocky specced, HSV badges, hella red brakes and all.
Let them be free, let them feel the sand, the rocks and the branches beneath their wheels. Sling mountain bikes in the back, squeeze a cut up mattress in the back and go camping. Just for god sake let them be free, they’re too good to be cooped up inside some sad ol’ dealership in South Melbourne. #ad
V: NEVER DOGGING
It was up around the first corner ahead of the Elite Women’s race kicking off where we would catch the mates on 4 legs stealing the show. Nick, with his man Trent rocking that SRAM bogo lead like the hyphiest pup of Australia’s CX scene was being his regular amicable self, joined by Squid’s Doug, of #DailyDoug fame. The second the cameras came out to pap this pup, despite being just a single dog Doug lost his collective shit, becoming all levels of excitable.
The results on the whack to dope Richter scale should come as absolutely no surprise considering the calibre of canine that was positioned on the exit of turn one. Whether chilling or seconds away from peaking, the four legged friends of the friends of Soup come in with a resounding…
VI: A GREEN CERVELO
You know that feeling you get when your eyes witness some shit that just doesn’t sit right? The feeling you have in your stomach, the weird twitch in the corner of your eye. It’s seeing a baby blue Ferrari down on Chapel St, it’s your favourite sportsperson lining up for their new team for the first time, it’s waking up at the height of a mid-winter fever in the middle of the 3rd Pokemon movie playing on a 40” screen no more than 50cm from your eyes. The complete change of colour, and unauthorised colour at that leaves you floating aimlessly in this void of complete confusion and overwhelmingness.
And that’s what a green Cervelo is. Sure there’s been a few modern day interpretations by our French Canadian don’s, and Lachy Morton rocks them wildly, but the argument is that they are considered black by their defined factory named paint jobs, and definitely not near-pastel green. Argument number two is that the particular Cervelo bicycle in question is of the semi-retro variety, the kind that you normally see beneath the rump of some mad local hitter that will rip your legs off at a seconds notice, but can’t really manage to replicate the same form when taking on his Masters 5 level racing. The green seen is the perfect hue to send you down a forest-y wormhole of discovery, one that leaves you finishing up at Davide Formolo’s victory at the 2015 Giro d’Italia, the first such victory for the newly formed Cannondale Pro Cycling. Keep the memories pure, nostalgic and positive, and leave it to the lads in green Cervelo.
VI: THE WOMEN’S KIT OLYMPICS
Our first taste of start to finish racing action would come courtesy of the Elite Women’s Field, and being that we were Official Doping Control, we were able to easily sneak down fence side to see them off on the start. It was also our first glimpse of a few new, or at the very least newish kits for the summer and beyond into 2019.
If it was to be a 100m sprint it would probably be a dead heat, but there were definite standouts. N2SH x Pedla and their fresh collab of mango and duck egg blue really took things in a completely new and certified winning direction, the flashy new Cannondale bikes complimenting the fit out perfectly.
The current iteration of the Roxsolt Attaquer kit, designed in house by the Sydneysiders was again the perfect blend of camo panelling that would required photographers to fuck with their saturation settings in post-production, and allow their riders to hide perfectly in the pack if there was to ever be a crit inside Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Since the mostly-white-with-a-few-neon-arrows-affair we’ve been huge fans of the kit, and its no surprise that yer dad probably complained that Attaquer only offered it up to the public in a women’s cut. Praise the exclusivity.
Finally the new MAAP women’s team kits. A jersey that takes all the gradients you know and love from Microsoft Powerpoint 1998 and gives them a contemporary twist. Think modern day Rothko if man was hell into early 2010’s brand identities and drinking chemicals that allowed you to see colours outside of the fathomable spectrum. It is the dawn, the dusk, and the bright colourful lights of a regional city’s show all rolled into one, delivered in typically understated MAAP aesthetic.
To possess the ability to add true dynamism to your photos is truly a unique gift. The ability to caress the camera with lens slowly, gently but with purpose to capture imagery with both movement and clarity is truly a gift some may only ever learn at private arts focused universities. The trick is a slow shutter speed, a steady hand and a belief and willingness to produce content that the fans will just want to suck down like a bidon full of ice water on a 40º day.
The best part about a criterium race is that not only are there various moving subjects as part of a moving mass, think like a school of fish on bicycles, at the SKCC crit circuit they come around at their best every minute to seventy seconds. Fire through a SD card, or burn through a few rolls of film in next to no time, hold onto that belief and the aforementioned techniques and you’ll be shooting fire through the lens in no time.
VIII: JELLY BELLY IDGAF KID
Shortly after the women’s start we spotted a father and son waltzing around the place in Jelly Belly Pro Cycling skin suits. Not matching, two kits from different eras of the team, but both equally sick. The son in particular was standing tall, standing proud, standing like he didn’t give a fuck, like he knew there would be serious Beach Rd dad’s having to pick up the size of their jaw when the absolute unit walked past.
IX: SHANNON MALSEED
While she didn’t claim the first #cornerlikecaseystoner of her race, she arguably claimed the best over the course of a few early race laps. The rest of the field, showing their respect to our national champ followed suit through the 2nd corner, lining up perfectly as the race slowly began to hot up.
X: HEAVY DUTY CHAINS
Spotted in the middle of the women’s field, glistening in the only too-sporadic direct sunlight was the chain belonging to Carina of the MAAP Women’s team. Bigger wattage output requires much more durable and capable hardware through the bike, and if theres one way you’re going to psych out your opponent, it might as well be through slinging a 500g silver chain around your neck.
Nope you don’t need the weight savings, the pistons in your legs that never need telling “shut up” will do the job just fine, but let that little bit of uncertainty creep into your opponents mind by smelting down a Michael Hill’s worth of discounted silver chains into one big unit.
XI: MELBOURNE STREET ART
It’s something that helps define the true creative vibrancy of the wonderful city of Melbourne is that street art. All day during the week you see tours, of which the participants have for whatever reason paid through the teeth to attend, walking down Hosier Lane being given the ins and outs of street art culture, the entire catalogue of Banksy’s works, and probably a little detour into the now off-limits entrance to the new Culture Kings store.
The inner north west has Tosa Lest’s scribbled across every square inch of semi-industrial building, Adelaide and the back of Harry’s car was blessed with the romanticism hand-style of Lemrs, and Hosier Lane copped a big splash of blue #avantgarde. South Melbourne certainly isn’t safe, the fact that three quarters of the course is lined with industrial complex’s ranging from frequently used to completely dilapidated means it should come as absolutely no surprise that the place is a patchwork of scribbles and slightly more refined throwies. Banksy approves.
XI: BASQUIAT BIKE
All this talk about street art is the perfect segue into the following.
Ever bought a bike only to hate the primary colour of its very being so much that you decided to draw all over it with a fat artline marker? Neither have we. Sure we’ve gone as far as taking a torch to a bike frame, or covering one in whatever stickers we could get our hands on, but we haven’t taken it as far as old mate who had a genuinely nice bicycle frame before artistically expressing himself all over it.
See our frames were town bikes, they were pre-existing pieces of shit, thus delicate embellishments through sticker and blowtorch enriched their aesthetic and added further dimension to this thing we call “the culture”. Drawing all over your bike is cool and all, and the bike frame itself is cool and all, but what of the “turn” and “shift” references to our t-shirts? Someone stealing our aesthetic?
XII: BASQUIAT SHOES
On the flip of this coin however is aero road shoes. In this particular case a bright white pair of Suplests. When they frequent criterium races so often as NoMates pair does, there comes a time where they become a little too scuffed for Sneaker Laundry to take care of them, thus artistic expression is permitted.
And Our Mate NoMates has done one hell of a job on his pair. The brushstrokes carry just the right amount of weight, the choice of typography second to none when looking at a blend of traditional and contemporary, and there are just the right amount of up-to-date pop culture and fashion references to prove that the artist himself is at the forefront of “the culture”. You know what it be…
XIII: UBER EATS TO THE TRACK
It began as we walked around the back of the course and came across a guy looking like he was about to hold some free motor pacing sessions to the breakaway. Man looked lost. Pulled up on the inside of the final corner of the SKCC lap, it wasn’t until one of the St John’s Medics, who we thought was going to go wave him away and give the scooter-brah directions out of this place that we realised what was truly at play.
The race day medics play a vital role in the logistics and safety of any bicycle race day, and the weight of such a role can really put a strain on ones hunger. Sure there were spicy hot dogs available if your dad didn’t cut the line and take the one you were waiting for, and there was pizza on offer, but what if your palate and your stomach desired something more. What if the cuisine or the size and calorie count of the race side foods on offer weren’t going to be enough to allow you to perform your very important race day role? You get uber eats.
XIV: AKSIUM RACE WHEEL UPGRADES
If you were starting out in road bicycles in the early 2010’s, you’d know all about the Mavic Aksium Race Wheel Upgrade. Normally offered to people buying low level road bikes running your stock standard Alex Rims, these Aksium Race Wheels, designed by French heritage brand Mavic allowed you to elevate your game, and take the first big stepping stone towards the money pit of Zipp 404 Firecrest Tubulars.
For $300ish in the old money you could get yourself a set of wheels that probably weighed nearly 2kg, but wheels that were a significant upgrade to the near 3kg wheels you’d had previous. It came as absolutely no surprise that in Parc Ferme of Melbourne’s biggest Sunday of racing we would see a set primed and ready for the start of the Elite Men’s race.
To warm up the tarmac for the Elite Men’s was the mixed gender Elite Brompton race. Restricted to those who were willing to fork out the premium prices for arguably the premium level folding bike, importantly the only bike allowed on Melbourne’s tram network (they check the badge).
Keeno dropped one of the biggest false starts of all time, yet carried on in his attempt of a race win, the officials unphased. Riders towards the back of the pack had their bikes together first, only to then have to weave between their competitors – fortunate that the Melbourne commute would have them deeply experienced in this field. The false start would be of 0 help, he’d be one of the last to get his bike on the road, and only a few seconds later would first place roll over the finish line after their single hot lap to victory, skid delivered.
XVI: TEAM CCS CANBERRA
As a collective that now has a cyclocross team 2 seasons old and counting, we know the importance of sponsors to bring missions and race results to life. We also know how important it is to get sponsors that match the teams vision philosophically AND aesthetically.
Enter Team CCS Canberra. Mainly sponsored by the CCS Group which no doubt does a fantastic job in bringing this NRS level women’s team to life, it is the sub-sponsors in particular that elevate this team from our nations capital to a whole new level. Canberra McDonalds on as a nutritional sponsor, and for whatever reason (we can’t find one on their team website) the appearance of the Banksy Panda. They didn’t take the win on race day, but they definitely knocked it out of the park when it came to sponsors game.
XVII: MITCH DOCKERS HAIR
If you’re not willing to rock the to-skin fade, or your still bound by the requirements of the private school you went to a decade ago and have to rock the “my daddy will sue your ass” cut, the next best thing is to do your best in replicating the Mitch Docker.
Following on from the 2016 Supercrit we interviewed the man on Instagram live, mainly because we wanted to get an insight into what his haircare regime looked like. Turns out it was pretty relaxed, and if anything the shortening of the top and sides has made the back all the more graceful and flowy, as if the concept of a Russian Ballerina had been married with the very essence of the Deniliquin Ute Muster.
XVII: THE POLISH CHRISTIAN HORNER
Scurrying about Parc Ferme before race day, frantic and in need of varying types of hydration, main man Marcin from Pedla, some of the in-house brains behind the Pedla N2SH team was moving with the same assured poise and steely resolve as Red Bull’s main man Christian Horner. Polo shirt tucked in until the stress of the day got too much, content at the ready through a camera bought via an Old Geelong Rd Good Guys price match guarantee ensured that team-based coverage of the day would be second to none.
Brief lulls in action (the race heading around the back of the course) gave opportunity to bitch and moan about the serious lack of reliability and aesthetic desirability of camera wifi transfer apps for mobile devices, and the questioning of whether a Remember The Titans style pre-race team talk would have helped the strategy of “go out and ride”.
XVIII: PEDALLING THROUGH CORNERS
Since Travis Pastrana aced his double backflip in front of a stadium of adoring fans, those on two wheels have since been aiming to replicate such daring feats of extremity within their own niches of cycling and motorised cycling. Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez are always out there doing their thing, and who can forget the roadmen of Peckham in the Nike London ad dropped this year.
Cue every breakaway of the Elite Men’s Supercrit, and a bunch of guys in the middle of the pack clipping pedals and testing boundaries. Calls for them to be banned will fall on deaf ears, as they are probably too busy listening to Entombed’s “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak The Truth” through a pair of Skullcandy headphones, mid-race. Footage emerged of some rodeo clown getting a little tricky with it towards the end there, and no doubt we’ll see more and more of it until it comes a time where Travis Pastrana is dethroned as biggest King SK on 2 wheels.
The modern cycling wardrobe is less defined by what technical fabrics are being used and more by how comfortable and #vibey it is. Gone are the days where people care about brands extrapolating data and putting it on a technical jersey in a series of the worst possible colour combinations they could have chosen for middle aged cyclists, we’ve now entered a period where flowy kind-of-80’s Miami SAAB sitcho shirts is what definitely works best.
Zips are now considered obsolete, buttons are where its at as they allow airflow between the buttons if you move a size up. There is at least one pocket on the front chest, and often than not it too comes with its own button. For those feeling extra thrifty you can stitch some pockets onto the back if there is ever a need to carry more supplies (is there?). These new jerseys are versatile, there are also options for the autumn and winter months through flannel and lined-flannel options, but when summer rolls around that when the patterns can really come out to play, just like this banana number.
XX: THE OPPOSITE OF THAT
That there was the primary candidate for fire street style of the Shimano Supercrit, now to the catwalk where there is always the most forceful expressions of modern day peacocking to witness. Dressed like your 16 year old son who spends way too much time on Grailed was man like Lee Turner, testing out some fit choices ahead of Australia’s Cycling Fashion week – Tour Down Under. Not willing to leave pink to just the Giro d’Italia and the associated commemorative Giant TCR’s, he spoke with the same gusto and crescendo-ing cadence as the Giro d’Italia announcer. The whole hog.
Saturation turned down on this photo by about 50% such was the eye burning brightness, we were only able to properly catch a glimpse when the sun disappeared behind the clouds such was its solar eclipse like brightness. Our eye are already broken enough.
Of course it wouldn’t be a fashion segment if you couldn’t shop the very special look. If you too want to conform to the societal and sartorial norms of RMIT’s Building 80, cop this fit, despite the fact we’ve rated it certifried whack.
XXI: CASA DIDGE’S ROOF CAVING IN
And finally at the beginning of this special survey we mentioned a late comer, a no-shower. That man was Don. Totally unsure to his whereabouts as he bailed on a session of lifting with Harry, the ceremonial caffé lattes and the entire days racing. It was only towards the end of the day that we discovered why – the roof on Casa Didge, particularly that over the living room had caved in, presumably from the weeks worth of wind and stormy weather.