There is something different about riding, riders, and racers in Australia. Compared to the US, it seems like there's a lot more humor and fun infused in events that are ridiculously draining and challenging. Then of course, you've got people like Brett Bellchambers, who take that all a step further being funny, an excellent example of what a good person is, and shredding relentlessly hard and going further than anyone else is willing to go, all on a single speed.
Brett has had some recent races, and, surprise, he won. Of course he won. He also competed in some, well, different events.
Take the Sydney 12 hour by Rocky Trail Entertainment. I think the event's official name is the JetBlack 12 Hour at the James Estate Winery, in the Upper Hunter Valley. All of that seems relatively normal compared to US events. The part that's different is the winery part. The winery doesn't just squeeze grapes and make wine, it squeezes singletrack out of the crooks and crannies of a beautiful landscape. They fully advertise this - shred singletrack, sip finer wine, pretty sure they put it in prettier terms with a better accent but yeah, it's like that. This video shows that, courtesy of the fine gents at Flow MTB magazine, a stellar Australian magazine, as well as Rocky Trail Entertainment, endurance event organizers that put on a great show:
Now, tell me you don't want to go do that event, really, tell me. I don't even care about wine and that just seems amazing. I have to hand it to all parties involved for making that happen, looks incredible.
Brett, of course, kept it real. This photo is titled Beer Lap, because, duh, he is drinking a beer while hot lapping the winery - very clever Mr. Bellchambers.
He came in fifth overall, crushing the single speed class with a first. Not so shabby.
Then he went on to do an event called the 3 Ring Circus, doing 50km, and for the life of me, I can't really figure this event out, perhaps because I'm not Australian, possibly because I'm a few sandwiches shy of a small picnic.
3 loops of varying sizes compose the 3 rings of the circus which racers complete and compete in, totaling 50 km. That makes sense. But go to the website https://www.wildhorizons.com.au/3-ring-circus/about there are a lot of people in curious clown type costumes well, doing curious clown type things. It shames US-based Single Speed Worlds events for the dress up factor. I'm led to believe there's a circus for the kids too.
Then there's the Rolloff event the same Wild Horizons event organizers hold. I, too, assumed it was an event limited to large, internally geared hubs. Not so. Here's how they describe it's origin, courtesy of the Wild Horizons website:
A little history.........
It was in May 1992, late afternoon on a cool Northern NSW day. Nearing the end of a mountain bike ride, the rider at the front called a halt on the top of a slight rise on a section of sealed road. ‘Time for a Rolloff’ he announced to the half dozen or so riders who pulled up next to him. The group spread across the road, each with one foot on the pedal at the 12 o’clock position. On the count of 3, they pushed off with the other foot and went straight into an aerodynamic crouch position. The road was not steep but reasonable speed was picked up. Holding the position, some necks felt pain. Smiles cracked across faces as rider passed rider. Once on the flat, speed dropped away and eyes picked out every pothole or slight hump in the surface. Slowing...slowing...... slowing. One by one the riders rolled no further. Almost at walking pace, 50 year old Irene Bisset wobbled past a young bloke half her age and, as he slowed to a stop, Irene went on to be the furthest travelled rider. She had won the Rolloff, perhaps the first one ever held.
Here's the link to the full deal: https://www.wildhorizons.com.au/rolloff-world-championships/main-rolloff You'll notice there are men and women who seem to have an affinity for getting up close and personal to their top tube and some sort of aversion to riding on their saddle. Yes, perplexing.
So, is the US shamed? Perhaps. Pedal-less tucks, a singletrack infused winery, and a circus race, even for the kids too. Plus, one of the nicest, funniest, and fastest Australians, Brett Bellchambers, keeping it real the whole time. Brett ran Nine Line 2.0 29" TCS tires mounted to Frequency i19 29" TCS Team rims, and a lovely, comfy Volt Team saddle that he swears by - hey, if he calls it comfy after that many miles, whew, there's something to that. Here's to Brett, yet again, way to go!