Bay crits final today

bay crits 2014

Geelong backdrop for day 2 of the 2014 Bay Crits, Eastern Gardens

The 2014 bay crits finish in Williamstown today, and there’ll be no better place to be.

Rochelle Gilmore’s Wiggle Honda team goes in to the fourth and final race after capturing the elite sprint jersey with Peta Mullens at a windy Portarlington course yesterday, while retaining the teams classification, and GC jersey with new headline rider Giorgia Bronzini.

The racing has been hard fought but Wiggle have been there when it counted while providing a masterclass in sponsorship finesse to outclass the men. The crowd comments suggest it’s been appreciated.

We have something special coming on Bronzini and Wiggle Honda, so stay tuned.

The elite men also provided great entertainment at the tough Portarlington circuit yesterday, with Luke Durbridge demonstrating why he’s called Turbo Durbo as he launched off the front with Pat Shaw. Durbridge took the win but Zak Dempster snatched the yellow from Matt Goss with a brave fourth. Orica GreenEdge leads the men’s teams.

Day 2, Geelong:

Day 3, Portarlington:

Summer cycling smorgasboard

What a summer of cycling: cx world cups on UCI Channel, #svenness and #likeavos as programming, mountains for climbing and triple world champ Giorgia Bronzini at the Mitchelton Bay Crits.

Just a few quick pix from day one of the bay crits in Geelong yesterday, with three more days ahead:

John and Penny play nice

Does anyone remember the John and Betty readers?
John can jump.
Betty can jump.

Boroondara Council in Melbourne’s east is using the same idea in a trial of signage to improve behaviour on shared paths. We grizzle about uncontrolled dogs, walkers bark about speeding cyclists sort of thing.

Even cyclists complain about some of the commuter behaviour on the busy Gardiner’s Creek trail – overtaking on blind corners, PB speed etc – while walkers four abreast and unrestrained canines are the other side of the coin. I had one suggest Lassie wouldn’t bite but had no idea I was more worried about my collarbones. On sunny weekends, it’s safer on the road.

So council installed three multi-panel ‘stories’ aimed at both protagonists on the trail in October and asked its 1000-strong sounding board, the community panel, for feedback. We haven’t heard back yet.

I’m not sure what to make of it. I didn’t like the first one when I went to have a look and alternative captions sprang to mind. It struck me as anti-cyclist.

But the next one aimed at walkers seemed to even the score a bit. And given the food chain that has cars giving way to cyclists (we wish) giving way to walkers, maybe it’s fair enough that the trial aims two stories at bikes.

It shouldn’t be needed but more rules and signs won’t help. So maybe it’s worth a try. I’d be interested in what people think.

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Spooky wrap to DDCX 2013

DDCX Spooky Cross 2013Melbourne’s Dirty Deeds Cyclocross faithful wrapped up the 2013 season with Spooky Cross at Brunswick velodrome yesterday.

With the regs officially laid to rest, the short course format meant everyone could race their divisions twice, plus a relay and hot lap before the featured Brunswick Cycling Club DDCX Single Speed CX World Championships.

Competition was fierce for the hot lap which eventually went to 2013 national men’s CX champ Allan Iacuone from Jeremy Soawyer and Lewis Rattray in new aero kit.

And as twilight fell and the Survivor flares led the way, Tessa Fabry and Duncan Murray were crowned  BCCDDCXSSCX World Champs.

The kids’ race and costumes were as popular as ever but the relay changeovers and on-course hand-up station took it up a notch this year.

Thanks to the DDCX crew, spectators and racers, Spooky Cross easily takes the rainbow stripes for funnest racing all year.

Very pro results over here.

Driving your bike in traffic

Lots of new and returning cyclists fear riding the roads. Cars and trucks can be scary but hugging the gutter usually isn’t the best response. It just encourages drivers to pass within your lane (usually too squeezy) rather than change lanes and give you space.

Roads are some of the best cycling ‘infrastructure’ we have. They have a good surface, they’re well lit, well signed and they go to useful places.

And even if you just need to connect your off-road route while skills and confidence grow, it’s great to have choices and ride the roads with less stress.

Some councils, community groups and Cycling Victoria run free courses on riding skills, so they’re worth a look.

But for a quick primer on cycling in traffic, have a look at these videos from Los Angeles – not usually considered a cycling paradise. They’re based on skills collectively called vehicular cycling, championed by John Forrester in the book Effective Cycling, and were produced by the LA County Bike Coalition and the City of Long Beach.

Cyclist’s eye view – Driving your bike in traffic, parts 1, 2 and 3

So skill up and enjoy the freedom to choose. And for those of us who ride/drive on the left, just remember to switch left/right from the videos and you’re in business.

‘More than lilac and butterflies’

‘Women’s cycling is so much more than lilac and butterflies.’ That thinking is part of the reason we’re fans of The Climbing Cyclist/Hells 500 crew and their Domestique climbs in the Victorian Alps.

TCC/Hells 500

Andy van Bergen of Hells 500 (left) and The Climbing Cyclist Matt de Neef – hoping for 100 women at Lake Mountain.

We’re delighted that the Domestique team has saddled up for a second summer, helping riders conquer our biggest climbs as part of the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge.

The idea is that if you commit to the climb, the TCC/Hells 500 crew will chat, coax and cajole you to the top. And it’s free!

And while we claim it’s all for a stamp in our 7 Peaks passport, we also love the camaraderie, quiet roads, stunning views and long descents through the Aussie bush. Life doesn’t get much better.

There’s a special goal for the first climb of the series though and it’s one we endorse – seeing 100 women tackle Lake Mountain on Saturday 16 November.

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A few faves from AusBike

Today was trade day at the annual AusBike Bike Expo at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, giving suppliers and buyers a chance to get together before the masses arrive on the weekend.

It’s a little quieter than the consumer days so a great time to check out the 100+ stands and catch up with people, especially some of the technical experts behind the gear.

Not all the big brands have stands but Giant is there with a giant stand as are a few bike shops, and you can inspect lots of parts, clothing and accessories and talk to people about all things bike – insurance, selling, trips and even beer.

As a warm-up for this week’s Ride2Work Day and Around the Bay ride next weekend, here’s a few of the bits at AusBike that caught my eye …

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Vic cx championships 2013

IMG_5863Victoria’s big cyclocross titles* wrapped up for 2013 on Saturday with almost 60 adults contesting the Victorian Cyclo-Cross Championships on a new course at Frankston BMX track, following on from healthy fields in the schools titles.

Long straights, bmx bumps and berms and the obligatory barriers made for a fun course suited to cx, while a small patch of mud ensured everyone would be washing machines later. And the wind, dust and motorbike racing next door added a special kind of zen. Continue reading

Green and gold for Jacobs and Iacuone

Gallery

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Australia crowned its first national cyclocross champions yesterday in the Melbourne sunshine – what a great moment. A total 140 riders competed in elite, masters and junior men’s categories, providing some excellent racing for spectators who found their way to … Continue reading

Descending like a Wiggins

Weather like this year’s Giro always makes me think the pros like Sir Bradley Wiggins don’t get paid enough. I’d love to ride the Giro route – don’t get me wrong – especially with a team car carrying warm gear and food. But racing? No thanks, even if I could. The joy of hills remains the climbing for me, not descending.

I do understand how the mighty Brad feels about cautious descending though. It describes me a tee since an OTB as a kid, literally chasing a rainbow down a hill. My knee (and my confidence) still bears the scar.

But I see blokes on forums asking their peers ‘which of you girls doesn’t ride in winter?’ as they admit that they – the guys – didn’t commute due to poor weather. And now we cop it from knights of the realm, as Wiggins described his troubled descent on stage seven of the Giro 2013 as ‘descending like a bit of girl’ in his post-race interview. He added the the qualifier that he doesn’t want to disrespect women and he ‘has one at home’ but I’m sorry Brad, that doesn’t quite cut it for me. If anyone has vision of the day he tells Marianne Vos or Katie Compton or Anna Meares that they can’t handle a bike, let me know!

So from now on, I’m descending like a Wiggins. No disrespect, you understand Brad. 😉