Sunday, November 22, 2009

Suburban Rhythm.

The theme for the race on Saturday was “Bogan’s Day Out,” and I’d been dressed accordingly for about an hour before Nik Cee rolled up to my house. We made some last minute preparations and headed down to Pony Bikes, flannies flapping in the breeze and thongs caught in our toestraps. Drivers seemed more wary of us than usual.

When we arrived there were some folks there already. Eventually, with the skies turning greyer by the minute, the number of riders grew to 46, including a considerable number of out of towners, bogans in full costume, noobs riding their first alleycat, and a representative from the VIS on his BT (who later decided not to ride, possibly because I told him I’d tell his coach).

After the chaos of registration riders were told to park their bikes at the Capel Street end of the alley, then taken up the other end for their briefing. A number of riders had parked their bikes assuming a quick dash out Capel Street into the city, and were sorely disappointed when informed that they would have to leave via the other exit. Sucks to be them!

The first checkpoint, where riders received their manifests, was Gate 4 at the MCG, which was once the closest entrance to the infamous Bay 13. This was the first of many bogan landmarks riders were asked to visit. Once they had their manifests riders were asked to visit, in no particular order, the following locations:

The Tote Hotel, where they were told to collect a Beer Coaster for a Bogan Beer and deliver it to the finish at Pony Bikes.

Carlton United Breweries, where they were asked to fill out a Centrelink form. McKenny at this checkpoint lived out his dole officer revenge fantasies and was very particular with his forms.

The Astor Cinema, which isn’t really a bogan landmark, but most riders went straight here from the CUB, and as such were forced to do a “Chap Lap” of Chapel Street, which, on a Saturday night, is as important to bogans as breathing. And at the Astor they had to yell out a bogan insult. Poor Blakey at this Checkpoint copped it pretty hard, but made up for it by demanding the manager of the Astor hand over his manifest before going inside.

Pit Lane at the Albert Park, where they were asked to do a skid. Apparently the Corporate Games were also taking place at this checkpoint, which made the traffic interesting.

Spearmint Rhino Men’s Club in King Street, where they were asked to sing a bogan song (Khe Sahn was a popular choice here – and most people, despite hipster moustaches, colourmatched fixies and homemade tattoos, still knew the words).

The Church opposite Swanston Maccas, where they were given temporary Southern Cross tattoos. Nik and I were a bit concerned about this checkpoint due to the constant presence of real bogans, but other than a hug from a crazy bearded lady, Casey and Magda at this checkpoint did just fine.

The first riders started trickling in about an hour and twenty minutes after being sent on their way. Cranky Sundays mainstay Chaz (aka Chamazing, Chaztastic, Viva Chaz Vegas) came home first and was slightly bewildered to discover this was the case. His buddy Jason followed his wheel all the way into second place, his blonde mullet resplendent in the southerly breeze. Brisbane rider Gypsy had been advised to chase Jay and Coopz around town, in order to not get lost, and managed to do this and more, claiming first out-of-towner and third overall (relegating Jay and Coopz to a bunch finish!). Teagan came in about sixteenth overall and claimed first girl, followed by Sara from Sydney and the ever-irrepressible Megz, who also claimed best stack. She didn’t stack at all, but a bout of food poisoning the week previous had left her stomach slightly unsettled, and she was given this prize for vomiting on a car. First noob went to Scott, who swore he’d be back for more, and DFL went to Caff, who was very excited about her almost new, only slightly soiled Australian Cycling Team cap.

Best outfit was hotly contested, with a number of mullets, cut off denim jackets, Frenzal Rhomb T-shirts, footy jumpers and Australian Flags decorating the peleton. Eventually, however, the prize went to Max, who rocked up to the start with his own southern cross tattoo, a blacked out tooth, a well-worn wifebeater and the matching Collingwood beanie and scarf set, but by the end of the race had somehow also accumulated a Taco Bill Sombrero, a cask of goon and some poor woman’s actual dole form. I guess she won’t be getting her payment this week.

All prize winners were told to pick one item from a large selection of swag, with podium finishers also rewarded with some cold hard cash. The exceptions to this rule were 1st overall, who was given a B43 wheelset from Velocity, and DFL, who received the aforementioned cap from the bottom of Nik’s cupboard. When the prizes went down to about 10th overall Nik and I started throwing stuff out into the crowd. Special thanks here should go to Coffee Supreme, who wrapped up their prizes in Hessian bags so they looked like Coffee. Nik threw them into the receptive audience, where they were later revealed to be some sweet swag from Charge, including a saddle and some forks. Tricky!

Special thanks should also go to the rain for holding out until we’d finished; Sasha from Pony Bikes for hosting and giving so much to her adopted city in such a short time – Sydney’s loss has been our gain; Ilana from the Bike Film Festival for arranging a bunch of the prizes, organizing a bunch of the shenanigans that took place at Pony that day, co-ordinating the volunteers and generally running around being efficient; Velocity for the wheelset; Gypsy from Brisbane for bringing down swag from Brisbane Outdoor Gear and Gear Brisbane, which are two different shops, duh; Spray Ya Bike for an appropriate Best Outfit prize; Coffee Benny Tatts from Genovese Coffee for being extremely generous with the caffeine; Jona Gunn at Coffee Supreme for being tricky; Natasha at Crumpler for always, always supporting the scene; Knog for doing the same, even if Mike told Facebook he was going to ride and then didn’t; Jamie from Skin Grows Back for making the best courier gear around and always being willing to share it with muppets putting on alleycats; The Freedom Machine for giving Sasha jerseys that she didn’t want; Coopers for (vegan!) Beer; DJ Hired Hands for block rocking beats; Adam O2 for doing the flyer and generally bringing the hype; Tara Jayne for printing, late night laminating anal-retentiveness and not calling me from the toilet ever again; Nik Cee for being the nicest guy in the world and finally walking away from an alleycat without winning anything; all the folks who did checkpoints, especially those who had to ride a long way to theirs; all the riders who rocked up, bust their guts blasting through traffic on a Saturday arvo, and rolled back into Pony with huge smiles on their faces; and, finally, everyone else who came down, hung out, talked shit and generally made the day as fun as hell.

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