Mudsters of the Universe is a Brisbane based blog aimed
at raising Cyclocross interest in South East Queensland

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Exact Radiology QLD State Cyclocross Championships 2013

With Cyclocross participation growing and more racing this year than ever, Queenslanders are starting to get some skills, just not the skills to feel comfortable in the mud. We normally train and race in perfect sunny weather, not considered good enough for Cyclocross. This year the conditions at Jim Finimore Park were more than good enough for Cyclocross. With perfect weather two days before the race I put on file treads, on Sunday I took them off for mud tyres. The call rang loud 'THIS IS CYCLOCROSS!'

Course setup was fast and the crew had an opportunity to get in a few laps and discuss the usual, tyre pressures, racing lines and tactics. Plan A disappeared quickly under a layer of mud, and during the race my lines changed every lap. I've never had to think so much about how I was going to stay upright.

Photo taken by Mike 'Dogtank'

Even though I had a hand in the design of the course, it has been my favorite course to ride on. Open wet grass that sucked leg strength, long concrete path for speed, creek crossing followed by the technical, muddy, off-camber craziness kept the riders on their toes. Hepatitis creek was 'clean' this year but it caught out many who elected to ride the concrete section only to end up with a pinch flat, some multiple times.

ESI Sports Photography

The kids race was fun to watch as always and I am continually impressed at how brave they are on the sketchy sections and how they solider on towards the end of their race, even when they look completely done. In the Open division the mountain bikes had all the advantage through the technical sections thanks to their wide tyres. Mens B and the Womens A/B was a combined start and as usual had the biggest field with plenty of banter before the start.

ESI Sports Photography

The A grade men were led down to the start line by a bag piper, shielding their joy with race faces. The race for the QLD State Championships was plagued with broken rear derailleurs and more flats from the creek. The hill section of the course was now 100% mud with no clean lines remaining anywhere. At the top of the hill coming back to the club house, a one man hand-up team worked hard to lighten the mood with a few cans of XXXX. Eventually the race faces dissolved and the A graders started having fun - next year we will have to work on the commissaires.

ESI Sports Photography

A big thanks, as always, to Scott Kirton and the many hands from the Ipswich Cycling Club. For me, and I'm sure other QLD Cyclocross volunteers, it is always nice to be able to attend one race a year where we can stand on the sideline and cheer, free from official duties.

All the results for the grades can be found at the CQ website.

More photos from the day can be found at the ESI Sports Photography site, Dogtanks Photobucket or by searching #qldcx on Instagram.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Whether Bowl-O-Cross would be a success or not was unknown. The format was different, the location was odd, the course was very short and we weren't sure if anyone would turn up. I rolled into Holland Park Bowls Club to start the course setup and saw that the Pushies Galore team had been there since day break. There were lounge chairs across the green, picket fences and colourful flag bunting decorating the course. The whole feel of the grounds was warmly inviting and familiar. There was even a live piano bringing sweet tunes to the racers and spectators alike.

Photo: Gavin Bannerman
Normally when I write a race report I throw around the names of who beat who, who had fun and who got beaten by a girl. On Sunday there was only one name on everyone's lips, Robbie McEwen. Now that's out of the way, I can get to the report.

Photo: Optima Sports Performance
People rolled in and started to gather around the registration desk. It always feels disorganised behind the desk, but seeing the competitors names filling the pages makes me happy. Happy that so many people get to ride their bikes in a cyclocross race - even if it didn't feel like one yet.

Photo: Gavin Bannerman
The races got underway and the crowd started to warm up. Everywhere there were cowbells, horns and cheers. Cheers for the kids, cheers for the ex-pro riding up the hill, cheers for the psycho chicken relay team and cheers for the stacks and there were a few. The spectators even cheered the lady who walked 3 streets over to tell us how much she "enjoyed" the race.
Photo: Gavin Bannerman

There was time for a few beers and food before the finals, even if it was against every racers better judgment. While the rest of us "fueled up" Robbie rode laps of the green for about 20min. I guess that's what gave him the edge over the rest of the field??? The atmosphere was charged for the finals, everyone knew trophies were on the line. It felt like there were people on every inch of the course and the finals were over in a blink.

Photo: Gavin Bannerman
With the presentations came one of the best speeches an organiser could have hoped for, Robbie loves Cyclocross and will race again. Who will share a podium with him next time? 

As the crowd began to disperse and the clean up went on, Robbie left, but not without inspiring the next generation to practice wheelies for the rest of the afternoon.

Photo: Optima Sports Performance
Photo: Optima Sports Performance

Other Race Reports
Pushies Galore race report
Briztreadly race report

Photo Galleries
Gavin Bannerman 
Nick O'Donnell 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Need a new Cyclocross bike?

As Cyclocross in Queensland is still a small developing sport, I feel lucky that we have the backing from some great sponsors. Their support allows us to put on the best possible races and are able to give something back to the racers.

Bicycle Riders at Morningside are one of those sponsors, and as such, they have a great range of Cyclocross bikes IN STOCK. Get that - they are there on the floor ready for you to test ride. Not many shops in Brisbane can boast a selection of Cyclocross bikes to test ride.

The bike that really caught my eye was the Colnago World Cup hanging at the entrance. The World Cups are an alloy frame with carbon fork, they run a 105 group and avid disc brakes. The cables are routed along the top tube to keep them out of the grime. Best yet, I haven't seen anyone in Brisbane riding one. Who will be the first?

At the budget end they have 52cm & 56cm 2011 Specialized Crux with Tiagra. These are going for an absolute steal at $999. The Crux are an awesome frame and at this price if you feel you want a new groupset after a few years you will still be ahead.

Specialized are also doing sale prices on all their Crux frames, which Bicycle Riders can order in for you. I personally have a Crux and it is by far my favorite bike, not just my favorite Cyclocross bike, favorite any bike.

If you are in the mood for your first Cyclocross bike or an upgrade I can recommend Bicycle Riders at Morningside. End plug.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Perfect Storm

I don't remember when it started raining last week, but I do know it stopped, at about 4pm yesterday afternoon. With a wet ground and permission to 'do whatever you want' we were set for Queensland's first cyclocross mud pit. We get a lot of complaints of having weather too good for cyclocross in Queensland, after last night's race, summer racing is here to stay.

To prove how good it was here is a picture from Marty that captures the aftermath.

The kids started the night and began the removal of the top layer of the course. The Butler brothers bookmarked Patrick 'no hands' Flood to duplicate the podium from Murarrie 2 weeks ago.

In the Open race there was an even split of men and women. The youngest in the field, Alex Clairs put on a quick break at the start and maintained a hot pace to take the win unchallenged. Marty borrowed a bike at the last minute and redeemed his shock on-the-line loss to Imogen at last year's Murarrie CX race (he was still beaten by a girl). Queensland Cyclocross own group member Emma Best put away her 3rd straight win in the women's event this year.

A and B grades started together with a lot of shoving through the first corner. It was a tight course and the surface quickly deteriorated forcing riders to change lines and race tactics. A group of A grade riders worked together and held tight until the bell lap when Lawson Hartshorn made his break to claim the gold cowbell. The B grade race saw battles for positions all through the field. Up the front at lap 8, Jason Smith eventually took the lead to win the category, with the minor places being hard fought until the end.

As usual I have to thank the many hands that come together to allow these races to happen. SRAM continue support with supplying us with race tape and prizes, Richard Butler from Pushies Galore for helping us out with the PA, Brisbane Hardcourt Bike Polo for putting on the BBQ and supplying an awesome cheer squad. Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club has given us a huge level of support and understanding while Cyclocross continues to develop in Queensland. The informal Queensland Cyclocross group of Andrew (master MC), Emma (woman's race development officer/gold cowbell collector), Simon (expert barrier builder), David, Russell, Adam, Imogen and the many others who jumped in to land a hand. 

Full results are here (down the page a bit)

Like Queensland Cyclocross on Facebook for up to date info, race pictures, etc.

Coming up next
Pushies Galore Bowl-O-Cross 5th May
Women's (and kids) skills clinics

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Race Weekend

There was a race in Brisbane on the weekend, but it was Easter, so everyone must have gone camping. Everyone, except one guy from Adelaide, who jumped on the net, saw there was a Cyclocross race where he was headed, so he packed his bike. He also packed a first for QLD Cyclocross, a skin suit. Who was this guy? His name was Shaun, and backed up the suit by taking a win in A Grade, easily breaking away from some of the fastest local guys. I had a pleasant chat to Shaun while we were packing up the course and it turned out he rides for Focus...

Even though the turn out for the race was small, there were still many new faces. I love seeing new faces, they always smile the biggest at the end of their initiation into Cyclocross.

The next race is on in 2 weeks time under lights at Chandler Velodrome. It is going to be some fun, so wear a crazy costume or bring a unicycle.

One of the QLD Cyclocross group, Andrew Demack, has been writing a blog for many years. I always like reading Andrews race reports, they make me aware of feelings about Cyclocross I didn't know I had. When I read his blog it has a way of making the hard work and doubt vanish. I am left excited for the next race weekend (even if it means I have to sit it out with race duties). Here is Andrews latest entry.

Edit - another race report, this time from the C Grade Cyclist, a Cyclocross first timer. Quess what? He too loves Cyclocross.