Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit.

Sunday turned out nice and clear, which was nice for the Hi-Vis Muppets tackling the Around the Bay in a Day, but didn't really affect those who rocked up to Rock - N - Roller Racing at the East Brunswick Club. The field grew to the limit of 32 riders pretty early on, and boasted a number of former roller racing champions in its midst. Competition was bound to be fierce.

The Cranky Sundays crew rolled up early to get some experience on the rollers, with a number of them looking a little worried about the lack of bolt-down forks. After a couple of minutes each, being held by Brunswick Cycling Club stalwarts Philthy and Greg (as well as a couple of pints of dutch courage), those worries disappeared into the wind. All day long, with a considerable number of newbies involved, there was only one person to fall off, and that was Andy "Track Cunt" White, who really shouldn't have, given he has his own set of rollers at home.

Being early birds worked out well for some of them, but less well for the underage members of their posse. Next time they'll know to bring their mums or dads - which, incidentally, was the advice followed by Nik Cee, even though he's almost thirty.

Riding proper started with flying 200s, to establish handicaps for the later rounds. Proper velodrome experience proved to be the difference here, with the first five places all being taken by Brunswick Cycling Club members. A notable exception was Crankies Member Ryan G, who was perhaps driven to his cracking time of 9.25 seconds by his choice in music. Murray McKenny didn't go quite as well, possibly because he chose the Benny Hill theme song.

The commissaires retired for a break after qualifying to figure out handicaps. The crowd were reminded at this point that the handicappers could be bribed with brownies. Only one rider came through with the goods, however - Team Handsome member Ben Ladner.

Match sprinting was next - evenly matched riders, without handicaps, over one lap. And the riders were definitely evenly matched, with a number of races being decided by less than half a tyre. Shannon Wuoti showed some early form here though, taking out Jamie "The Jams" with ease. Latecomer Blane also showed some skills, having scored Pip's place when he retired early.

A call went out at this point for riders willing to tackle the Brunswick Challenge. A hundred dollars was up for grabs for the rider who did the furthest distance on the rollers in one minute. After some creative and helpful heckling this was later split into two, in order to create a women's division. Anyone, regardless of gender, who reached 1600 metres would score a further hundred bucks as part of the Chooka Challenge. Coffee Ben had an early crack, but his mark only lasted until TC hit the imposing distance of 1175m.

Round Three was handicapped racing, and it was here that Philthy - and all of those who rode his bike - showed the benefit of having 98 gear inches. Campbell, fresh from coming 7th in the national Scott 24hour mountain bike endurance thing (and qualifying for the worlds!), busted a gut here to take out his good mate Jerome. Lano also had arrived late - with Safa in tow - and he had a crack here, but without a decent warmup couldn't quite do enough to make the finals.

A second call went out for the Brunswick Challenge, and a few more beers into the afternoon there were more takers. The creation of a girl's division set some female hearts a'racing. Megz was first to step up, setting the ultimately unbeatable distance of 975 metres. But she was given a run for her money by Sabrina, who had braved the commuter crowds and done the 100k version of the Around the Bay in a Day that morning.

The boys then stepped up and began to hurt themselves. Despite a broken collarbone Safa had a red hot go, but was let down by wobbles on the rollers. Chris Hickey brought his road bike out and made it to 1160m - still not enough to take down TC's winning mark. Brunswick Vice-President and Rock N Roller Racing Chief Commissaire NDF looked smoother than George Clooney on the rollers but only made the distance of 1110m. Andy was looking pretty pleased with himself until the endurance specialist stepped up.

And then, having ridden 1190m in one minute, sat back down.

Finals were up next, over two laps, with Megan racing Jamie For Jams for 3rd, and Shannon Wuoti and Ben "Brother Handsome" Ladner facing off for First Place. Jamie gave Megan 50 metres start, but was able to overcome it, his pink'd up Pista metaphorically whizzing past Megan's roadie in a dazzling display of hipster colour co-ordination.

The grand finale was upon us. Brother Handsome donned a Brunswick Cyling Club vest and 93 years of tradition. Shannon flexed his guns and felt confident about his 150m head start. Wu-Tang Clan blasted over the speakers and they hit it. Hard. Brother Handsome had half his catching up to do completed by in the first 200 metres, but took a lot longer to complete the other half. Both riders were smooth and fast. When Ben caught up with 100 to go Shannon stuck on that wheel for a while, but ultimately got dropped and was relegated to second place. Ladner took out first, in a rare victory for Team Handsome, and possibly a less rare victory for the persuasive power of brownies.

Real results are available here.

Thanks especially to Brunswick Cycling Club for providing the rollers and being my favourites, Ray's Bikes for excellent prizes that I wished I could've won, Cycle Underground for their continuing sponsorship - even if no-one ever claims their prizes, Nath for rocking up late but instructing us not to touch anything til he got there (and commissairing), Nik Cee for helping with the hype, Chris Hickey and Blakey for helping set up, Dave for commissairing and being an easily identifiable rego desk, Philthy and Greg for both holding riders and sharing their bikes, Kody and Mel from the East Brunswick Club for being most excellent hosts, my housemate Leith for letting me borrow his car for the millionth time, and anyone who rode, took photos, yelled, heckled, rocked up and sat up the back looking bemused, or just came along had a good time.

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