Velofest 2001

Velofest 2001, it is a cycling festival held in Glenelg, Adelaide annually. It has many activities lined up for that day. Some of it are Cycle the City, Mountain Bike Racing, Bike Skills Challenge, BMX Sprints, BMX Dirt Jumps, Penny Farthing Racing (those bikes with one huge wheel at the front and one small wheel at the rear), Criterium Road Racing, Pedal Prix, and Bike Trials. However, the main purpose of this event is to raise funds for South Australis Asthma Research Foundation. This year, Subway (sandwich restaurant) was the main sponsor.

As for me, I was allowed to join only one event from the entire list. Primarily it's because I do not have a racing license with the South Australia Cycling Federation. So, it was only Cycle the City left. It's not a competition! It's a tour around the city on bike. To qualify for that, each rider must contribute at least AUD$10 to the foundation. There were marshalls clearing up the roads for cyclist. Sometimes, it's kinda cool to ride in the middle of 2 lanes main road. =) There's plenty of people who joined in the fun - ranging from 70 years old to 6 years old (either on a tandem together with dad or on a carrier behind dad's racing machine).

I arrived the venue (Wigley Reserve, Glenelg) at about 0900 and the flag-off was scheduled at 0930. I quickly got myself registered and pin up the number on my jersey - #1060. The registration counter was supposed to close at ten past nine but there were still many people queuing up for it and that a caused a delay. They finally let the riders off at approximately quarter to 10. Everyone was taking it slow and riding at an easy pace in the first kilometre.

But as soon as those legs started to heat up, more and more riders increased their speed and that caused a split in the main group. Riders who will be competing later in the criteriums took this opportunity to warm up. I did not want to be left behind so I pushed on and stayed close to their wheels. Unfortunately, it wasn't too long before many riders in the main field were being separated from the stronger riders. All these happened as we came to a section with barren fields on our left and right (
the fringe of Adelaide Airport) and we were tormented badly by the gusting cross-wind. Sad to say, I was one of the casualties as well. I was with the main field for a while but not long enough to complete the entire course.

Well, I did tried to stick closer and occasionally hide beside them but too bad, my pistons (legs + stamina) wasn't quite as good as theirs I guess. I can't do anything but to see them get out of my sight. From that point onwards, I was pretty much on my own until the finish line. I was in between the main field who got away and the field who was dropped earlier on.

I arrived start/finish line at 1030. Many other events have started by that time. Some parts of the road has been cordoned for the Pedal Prix. Pedal Prix is similar to those recumbent bikes but they have alloy foils wrapped around as the outer shell to make it more aerodynamic. Besides, it was also my first time watching a 'live' BMX Trials and also Dirt Jumps. I use to watch them on ESPN! Wow....it sure does looks scarier than on TV screens. Balancing is the key criteria! Everything has to be carried out on the bike. As for Dirt Jumps, it's dare-devils in action! Oh yah, I noticed an ambulance on the standby just beside the Dirt Jumps' ramps. =) You never know!

Anyway, I did enjoy the whole thingy. It was an eye opener for me. I haven't seen such a big cycling festival in Malaysia - apart from races.

Until next time.......Happy Riding!

p/s: More pictures are left in the gallery section. Check them out!

~ Vince