Champs lead NCXS after Melbourne rounds

NCXS DDCX round 2 2014

Reigning national cyclocross champs Lisa Jacobs and Allan Iacuone lead the 2014 series after Melbourne’s opening rounds on 21-22 June.

Round one featured the Victorian championships at Cranwell Park, but the weekend wrapped up with the usual noise and laughs at Darebin Parklands on Sunday, hosted by Dirty Deeds CX.

Sunday’s course had little mud but plenty of slippery grass, climbing and big fields with over 320 riders.

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Good Friday, #bestfriday

 

ddcx 2014 prologue, #bestfriday

Girls just wanna have fun …

Dirty Deeds Cyclocross turned Good Friday into #bestfriday with its annual twilight prologue to open the Melbourne cx season at Brunswick velodrome.

Early showers cleared for dry racing in the infield under lights, as hot laps gave way to kids and 10-lappers for the women and men, before the finale of three-lap giggles shootout handicapped by height. Love it.

There was food, laughs, great commentary, noise and coffee as the sun went down, but good racing too.

Amity McSwan dominated the women, seemingly faster every lap to finish clear of Phillipa Birch. Third was new Jayco VIS recruit Tessa Fabry, who had barely warmed down from topping the A grade podium at Hawthorn Cycling Club’s Good Friday crits (and recent top results in the National Road Series).

Men’s A was on from the gun, with crowd-sourced holeshot cash snatched by reigning UCI Cross Country Eliminator world champ Paul van der Ploeg – a #vanderholeshot! Vandy and national cyclocross champ Allan Iacuone diced for the lead for several laps until split by young Liam Jeffries.

Keep an ear out for victor van der Ploeg at the UCI World Cup in Cairns next week.

Pro results live on the night and now at metarace.

Hawthorn’s crits at the teardrop circuit in Kew was another first for Good Friday. All entry fees, and from what we hear most of the prize money, was donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. The crits scored a live cross in Channel 7’s annual appeal’s fundraising telethon. Nice work Hawthorn!

Good Friday has definitely turned into #bestfriday.

More pix here, by baudman.

Go Mel, Go Lisa!

Cyclocross doesn’t get much more exciting than today. Our first national team races at the UCI World Championships in Hoogerheide this weekend and it includes two chicks! Who would have imagined that three years ago?

Local crowd fave Lewis Rattray represented in 2012 in his usual crowd-pleasing style but 2014 sees our first national team.

CX has a long history in Europe and it’s strong in north America but it’s not even four years since the Dirty Deeds CX crew started ‘getting riders muddy and smiling’ in Melbourne in 2010. They followed up bigger and better in 2011, which also brought a winter series to Port Adelaide CC. And then a summer series. Back home we scored a Vic Open.

By 2012 we had regs and a national series raced in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide (with equal prizemoney!) thanks to lots of work by DDCX, PACC and in NSW, Manly Warringah MTB, plus support and goodwill from the state and national bodies. The 2012 Adelaide courses are still my favourites; they made my bike so very happy.

By 2013 we had an official national championship, and now in 2014 we have a national team from three states at the world championships:

* Elite men: Nick Both NSW
* Elite women: Lisa Jacobs and Mel Anset, Vic
* U23 men: Alexander Meyland Vic and Tom Chapman SA
* U19 men: Nick Smith NSW
* Team manager: Greg Meyland

The action starts Saturday morning (Dutch time) with Junior Men, followed in the afternoon by the Elite Women. Local hero Marianne Vos will be lining up against World Cup champ Katie Compton, along with Sanne Cant, Helen Wyman, Nikki Harris, Aussies Jacobs and ‘smiling assassin’ Anset and the rest of the world’s best.

Sunday starts with the U23 Men and ends with Aussie Nick Both taking on the world’s elite men: Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Zdenek Stybar, Jeremy Powers, Lars van der Haar …

Thanks to UCI Channel, we can watch the whole lot live. The streams should start as follows:
* Junior Men Saturday 8.50-10pm
* Elite Women Saturday night (Sunday morning) 12.50am-2am
* U23 Men Sunday 8.50pm-10.50pm
* Elite Men Sunday night (Monday morning) 12.50-2.30am

If you’re not staying up, you’ll find full replays at those links later.

How did we get here?

For those new to the cyclocross party, Lisa Jacobs won the 2012 inaugural national  women’s elite cx series and backed up with the 2013 inaugural women’s elite cx championship. She’s an ex-full time roadie, still with the Victorian Institute of Sport. There’s an insight to her worlds preparation here.

Mel Anset leads Lisa Jacobs in the final national series race in 2012

Mel Anset leads Lisa Jacobs in the final national series race in 2012

Mel Anset took silver in the 2012 national series, winning the final two races in Sydney. She was the clear winner in round five on the Saturday, but had to hold her nerve for an hour error-free as Jacobs worried her wheel all race on the Sunday. There’s a good piece on her road to the worlds here.

That same Sydney weekend (the only cyclocross series with sunscreen?) also produced moments that start to build our local folklore as Tasmanian mountain biker Sid Taberlay – fresh from Cross Vegas – rode the ‘unrideable’ death pit each lap.

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Mountain biker Adrian Jackson won that inaugural elite men’s series from Lewis Rattray.

In 2013, the elite women also raced to the wire, with the title decided only in the final minutes of the final race, as Rowena Fry finished fourth to win the series from Sarah Holmes, with Anset in third.

Paul Van Der Ploeg terrified the barriers to take the 2013 men’s elite series from Adrian Jackson, while Allan Iacuone won the 2013 national cx championship – 19 years after his national road championship. You couldn’t script this stuff.

Over time, we’ve seen the national rounds become more serious and pros and ex-pros like Iacuone and Danny Hennessy lured from retirement for spectator pleasure: Robbie McEwen rode a couple of national races last year and loved it, and track star Anna Meares swapped the boards for Adelaide’s grass and dirt in her post-Olympics down-time. But there’s still lots of laughs and pain to be had at the back of the nationals races, and in club events.

Hope you enjoy cx worlds. Best of luck to all the Aussies, especially Mel and Lisa.

And if you think it looks like fun, think about dusting off a beater or beating a cow bell in a park or a paddock near you this winter.

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.

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

rAdelaide cross

Adelaide triumphed with rounds 3 and 4 of the inaugural Champion System SRAM National Cyclocross Series on the weekend.

Perfect weather, great courses in urban parklands, interstate support, funny commentary and a few cowbells made for a great couple of days.

First we had the news that track star Anna Meares wants to try ‘cross as she takes some time off the (track) bike. Awesome.

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Big guns come out to play

The excitement has been palpable all week, and Australia’s first national cyclocross race today didn’t disappoint as the big guns came out to play.

Round 1 of the Champion System SRAM 2012 National Cyclocross Series was held at the Melbourne International Karting Complex in Port Melbourne.

Run as the first of the 2012 Specialized Cross Melburn series, warm-up sessions during marshalling worked well as the kids, open, C and B grade, and elite races for men and women were run and won.

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Prologue done and dusted

You’d be hard pressed to find more laughs on a cold winter night than the Dirty Deeds Cyclocross prologue on Friday. Maybe it’s just cyclists, or the commentary and cowbells. Or perhaps the occasional beer.

Either way, Brunswick velodrome saw a huge crowd as over 140 riders mashed the infield for two hours, resplendent with the awesome Spiral of Death.
The spiral of death
The DDCX Spiral of Death, courtesy baudman

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Signs of the ‘cross …

Did you hear the one about the chick who walks into a bike shop and asks about new season’s ‘cross bikes? And doesn’t get asked, ‘You mean a hybrid?’

True story. Passing a LBS today, I dropped in to see if I’m missing anything in terms of little cx bikes. And there was an LBS-guy who knew about cross, that their brands don’t come small enough, and that other women have had the same issue. Impressive. 

CX is a new category for Aussie bike shops, and as with road we can only hope the big brands might add a smaller size to the range every couple of years. DDCX 2012 datesIt just doesn’t help those of us who missed out on the tall genes. Giant plans to have one in the 2013 range but I haven’t seen the geometry yet. 

Around 25 per cent of the B grade women at the Coburg round of Dirty Deeds last year were on petite custom frames or custom builds.  

This LBS excitement is the fourth sign this week that cross has really arrived down under.

First, portable barriers appeared in the park on Monday as part of someone’s sekrit training. And no, I’m not saying who.

Second, ‘see you Friday’ clearly means the DDCX prologue without explanation. Under lights. At Brunswick. Two more sleeps …

And third, news from Cyclocross Magazine that Katie Compton will start her season in NZ. That’s practically interstate!