We thought it was time to take the challenge level up a notch for the Elbows Akimbo Cyclo-Sportif series and we think we delivered with the first PACC PsychoPORTif. On a course that looked easy on paper, but delivered a mix of new challenges - rough surfaces, short steep pinch climbs, an unsealed 'Strada Bianca' uphill segment - all combined with strong gusty winds - today's course really rewarded cohesive team work, group formation planning, supurbe bike handling and good communication. Not a typical TTT course where you can just follow the wheel in front blindly! We were aware of several teams undertaking recce rides in the week leading up to today's PsychoPORTif and some smart equipment selection was made.
The day started off at dawn for the PACC Crew who were organising today's event, and arriving before 7am at the Nairne Oval to set up we were suprised to find several keen riders already there waiting to sign on!(?) The wind squalls had already started, black clouds were looming, a few spots of rain and temperature about 10 degrees colder than in Adelaide, we thought we were going to be in for an 'Epic'(TM) morning.
Sign-on was a new experience for many riders not used to usual cycle racing protocols, as almost 200 people rolled into Nairne to ride in the first event of the year. Many enjoyed a shot of strong espresso while queuing courtesy of Anthony from Elbows Akimbo. We thought people had obviously read the rider information sent out and published yesterday, as everyone followed the instruction to park in the Oval's car park leaving Sydney Road clear for close bunch riding.... as we discovered some teams didn't read to the section 'not all turns are marshalled' as it turns out!
The first team undertaking three laps left as scheduled on the dot of 8:30am and the PACC Big Clock was set to 0:00:00 as a reference for all other teams, with nearly all teams managing to organise themselves to make their allocated start time.
Out on the course riders' legs and equipment were tested immediately after the start line with Sydney Road the roughest section on course. A slightly downhill road with no smooth line that required a big gear and your arse a bit off the saddle, some teams immediately suffered mechanicals changing the front ring with several dropped and jammed chains reported. Followed by a 'surprise' pinch climb, teams would have immediately guessed why this was the PSYCHOportif. No rest for the wicked with a fast descent with freaky sidewinds that tempered the lightweight riders, followed by a seemingly unending climb towards the tiny town of Brukunga and the rusty rock outcrops near of the old iron sulphides mine on the aptly-named Pyrites Road.
Soon riders battled a headwind, before turning onto the unsealed Five Bob Road which many riders were nervous about. As it turns out many people found it pretty easy going, although the surface was starting to cut up on the second and third laps as riders had to pick their own line carefully around some deep sandy patches, corrugations and potholes. The road held special significance for one of the Port Adelaide CC teams, who have been riding under the '5 Bobs' moniker for several years. Originally formed by a group of people with Robert somewhere where in their name, they have since co-opted some new-to-cycling 'Lady-Bobs' who spent extra time on Five Bobs Road, choosing to walk it instead of riding it. Kudos to them for giving the PsychoPORTif a go, in true spirit of the event no matter what the challenge they were going to make it through to get to the finish together (and they did) - despite the handicap of spiritual leader Robert 'Cinderella' Wallis forgetting his cycling shoes and borrowing a pair with pedals from local 'Prince Charming' Mr Paul King.
Turning off Five Bob Road and Donahue onto the smooth tarmac teams soon enjoyed a direct tailwind for part of the long downhill run back towards Nairne on Woodside-Nairne Road. Despite the turn into North Road, Nairne being one of the easiest to remember in a navigational sense (being the very first road into Nairne!) some of the early more 'navigationally challenged' teams missed the turn and only worked it out seeing other teams back-tracking to the corner. North Road itself held some challenges, with some patches of poor surface again requiring some smart riding from the riders in front to call out hazards and pick the best line. A fast downhill back to the finishline and some teams were glad to finish, while others relished two more laps!
Thanks to the Trott Park Fencing Club riders enjoyed a few complimentary snags and onions hot off the BBQ with a cold drink, entertained by tales of other teams' misfortunes and the sight of both Elbows Akimbo and Port Adelaide CC tents destroyed in the high winds.
Presentations were held afterwards, with over 20 random draw prizes going out for those who braved the wind and looming rain to join with the club in recognising and celebrating teams' and individuals' achievements.
As it was our turn to host a Sportif, it was up to the Port Adelaide CC volunteers to determine our own awards, so here is our take on the award-winning teams and individuals from today's event and our method to our PSYCHO madness:
Best Performed Mens Team Award: Nick Wood Fitness: Samuel Allen, David Andriani, Michael Barnes, Nick Wood, Rick Woolfe (Fastest Average Lap - they completed three laps and averaged 1:43mins a lap quicker than the next best mens' team Tour de Legacy - Macdow 1 who also did three laps).
Best Performed Womens Team Award: PACC Fat Bottom Girls: Bethany Denton, Sarah Holmes, Gemma Kernich, Tessa Manning, Terri Rhodes, Amanda Steele, Sue Ann Woodwiss (Fastest Average Lap - over 12min a lap average quicker than the PACC Chicks on Speed, aided in part by better navigation and zero mechanicals)
Best Performed Mixed Team Award: Rankin Raiders: Nick Askew, Jeffrey Kasparian, Kerstin Oelckers, Merridy Pearce, Eugine Quinn (Fastest Average Lap over three laps 3mins quicker than Redliners on the Rivet Cycling who undertook two laps)
Cycle Chic (Team Award): Team Holland - Matthew, Kim, Ray, Mark and John Holland (best dressed, how cute having a family team jersey made up!)
Style Masters (Team Award):Vegan Velo - Karl Evans, Alexander Holmes, Reg Paterson, Philip Rawlins, Lars Uellendahl, Shane Ward (for being the nicest, most pro team out there on many, many accounts: thanking volunters for allowing riders to jump the queue as they were a 3 lap team, politely lining up in the drive in formation and not on the road, looking super clean and tidy in their new kit, number calling nicely and every lap, and finally: allowing the vego sausages to be cooked on the same plate as the meat infested ones.... They were stylish, accommodating nice guys: winners all over!)
Le Petit General (Individual Award): Noel McCarthy (Bike Station) (leadership award - he not only organised multiple teams but set a fine example riding on the front - at least past all the photographers anyway! (Apologies to Noel and Lynette Collins as this award was originally announced at presentation as awarded to an absent Lynette (Espressos) for regrouping her team at the top of the finish straight - and encouraging them all to finish together. But she was ruled ineligible for the Le Petit General Award as she was not able to muster a complete team to the start line! Apologies to Lynette and Noel for this.)
Windbags (Individual Award): Russell Johnstone (vinchange.com.au) (He'd obviously read the rider instructions for a good set of lungs to clearly call the team number over the line, and did this the best out of 33 teams (could have ridden harder - did not sound puffed at all!). Apparently he didn't shut up, timing tent could hear "talk talk talk" all along the finish straight!)
Ce Cavalier (Individual Award) Ilya Karounos (Red Deer Racing Red) (For the rider with the most cavalier attitude. To the rider from this team who missed his start because he was too busy in the loo - copped a 30 second solo ride to catch his team for his efforts and didn't seem fussed.)
Le Revolver (Individual Award) Nathan Hunter (SeerSymChoon) Awarded to the 'gun' rider today: dropping his own team at the final turn for a solo sprint finish (was also clearly the black sheep of the team in his Giant kit!)
For the Teams and Individual award winners who did not hang around to be presented to your adoring fans - please contact the club to arrange your prize!
Today would not have been possible without the volunteers on the ground from Port Adelaide CC: Paula Hollamby, Nicky Baker, Lee-Anne Fleming, Mark Gregory, Will Lyons, Andrew Crowe, Mark Robinson and Gemma Kernich. Marie Hedley from Cycling SA for volunteering her time to assist on the day with her wealth of experience in these events. Thanks to Anthony Mezzini from Elbows Akimbo for donating two vouchers to the random draw, serving espressos and sports drinks all morning, and servicing bikes that weren't clearly in a condition to take on the PsychoPORTif course! Cheers to Lynton Harding from ACRM Gawler-Baross Division for arranging radio support and traffic management at the trickiest turns and aiding the navigationally challenged. Kudos to Trott Park Fencing Club for sizzling about 500 sausages including vego/vegan options and keeping those drinks icy - it's a great fundraiser for a small club in a tiny and expensive sport. Michael and Sue for not being kept very busy providing Sports Trainer Services and keeping an eye on riders out on course.
We hope you all enjoyed Port Adelaide CC's PsychoPORTif as Round 1 of the Cyclo Sportif Series. Next event is Round 2 - scheduled for 9 February, hosted by our friends at Central Districts Cycling Club. If you liked our PsychoPORTif event, you might like some of our other events? Next Sunday is our club time trial at Outer Harbor. Silver Licenses welcome, ride as a small team (4 or less) or on your own! Or if you enjoyed the Strada Bianca section and liked a bit of dirt drift, you'll love OzzyCross - our next cyclo-cross race on Australia Day associated with the Tour Down Under!
Thanks to Kevin from Chameleon Photography for this album. Tina's Cycling Pics on Facebook here.
If more albums appear - we'll post them here!
Over to you Central Districts!