While in the northern hemisphere winter has well and truly departed, deep in the southern hemisphere folks are starting to get excited about mud, rain and cyclo-cross. As the opening prologue of Melbourne, Australia's 2011 Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclo-cross Series draws near, Brendan Bailey from the DDCX organizing committee sat down with the 2010 Aggregate winner, Lewis Rattray, to discuss the upcoming races.
BB: As reigning Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclo-cross Champion, how are you feeling about this year's series?
LR: Even thinking about the upcoming series makes me a little nervous! I'm super pumped for it, and hope to defend the title, but I also realise there'll be a heap more good riders out there to give it a go. Perhaps what little experience I have could give me an edge. I'll just have to find out as soon as the gun goes.
BB: So how have you been preparing for the series? Is your preparation different to last year?
LR: Last year my preparation involved heavy drinking most weekends (a year of 21st birthdays), and about 6 hours training a week just to keep myself interested. I now have the year off uni between courses and I'm training every day. I've also cut back on the benders. I'm hoping to keep this up through winter but we'll see how we go.
BB: Last year you made a controversial switch from the Mountain Bike class to the CX bike class midway through the series. Do you have any similar shenanigans planned this year?
LR: No bike shenanigans this year. I've got my cross bike dialled now, brand new, no excuses for pulling out the MTB. I may try and track down a fancy costume or something special for a race or two!
BB: That's probably a good idea, because the prizes for fancy dress are way bigger than the prizes for actually winning. Going back to training for a bit... do you do any CX specific training? Any practicing running up stairs, or carrying your bike through mudpits, or rehearsing your beer handups?
LR: I do actually. The other day I ran to the shops, and carried the shopping above my head while running home. Practice for shouldering the bike! And I actually built some collapsible barriers that I've been taking down to the park once a week. I make a mini course to do reps. People look at me very strangely.
BB: So, who do you think will be the biggest threats to your title this year? You know, aside from (Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclocross Series Co-organizer) Nik Cee?
LR: Hah! Well I've heard on the grapevine that there'll be a few quick roadies out to claim some prizes. Hopefully there'll be plenty of mud and plenty of barriers to separate them. If the usual five or six frontrunners are there from last year I'll have to keep myself pretty fit!
BB: Last year we were surprised to find out that you weren't riding for a team, or a shop, or anyone other than yourself. Has this situation changed?
LR: Well my work (St Kilda Cycles) have certainly stepped up and sorted me out with a bike, some sweet tubular wheels and tubular tyres. That's all at the moment, but it's a nice casual way to be racing. I wouldn't say no to anything more, but I'm happy promoting the shop for the moment.
BB: I figured I'd let you get a plug in there. That's about all we have time for, but before we go, is there anything else you want to say?
LR: Well seeing as you asked. I'm heading to Europe at the end of the year to do a few races. If there's any promoters who want to give me a start in a race I'd be stoked! I should also add thanks for putting on such an awesome series. Cyclo-cross will only grow from here, but you guys have well and truly set it off with your series last year. See you at the velodrome!
The 2011 Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclocross Series kicks off June 3 at the Harrison Street Velodrome, in Brunswick.
For more information on Australia's Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclocross Series, see http://dirtydeedscx.blogspot.com