The king's men ROAD CHAMPionships 2016
The Greatest Race in The Universe
The King’s Men raided Eildon for the latest edition of the world's most famous & toughest race. The King had spent countless hours designing a course which would test every man’s will & courage. Handicaps were methodically calculated based on past results & current form, with endless debate & an unprecedented amount of sandbagging.
35 riders. 3 stages. 120km. 1,900m climbing. $2,743 calcutta pool. Countless sandbags.
Big thanks to our photographers The Flash & Mich
plus other volunteers The Goat, Hayley, & Mr Sherpa
Stage 1 kicked us off with a 10.2km Team Time Trial on a flat course from Kevington to Jamieson. Teams of 4, with absolutely no time for self-doubt. All teams set great times, with scratch clocking 12 mins 19 secs at a blistering average speed of 49.7kph. Team 3 consisted of 4 TKM Cup winners, & duly upset Team 2.
The 60km Stage 2 from Jamieson to Eildon commenced with a massed start. However, any thoughts of cruising in the peleton were quickly dismissed when the road kicked up immediately, & The Pimp & The Sherpa attacked about 3 seconds after they’d clipped in. They left a trail of destruction behind them - some were caught off guard & had to start chasing from the gun. After a while only three were left in the lead group. Fresh off his Summer Cup victory, The Snapping Turtle smashed his 20min average power PB @ 370 watts, but even this effort wasn’t enough as Pimp & Sherps eventually rode off. Smax & Dogolot were chasing hard, with many other mini groups behind, stretched out all over Eildon-Jamieson Road. Pimp & Sherps finished just over 4 mins ahead of Smax & Dogolot, with Turtle solo 2 mins behind them. As the riders trickled to the finish line after an exhausting Stage 2, the lunch break provided welcome respite & nourishment.
Anticipation was building over lunch for the Stage 2 results & departure times for the 49.7km Stage 3. All of the calculations & toil boiled down to one result: whoever crossed the line first on this final stage would be crowned the 2016 TKM Road Champion. The Padawan was to set off first. The Postie (1min45), The Crack (2:44), & The King himself (4:36) were the only ones setting off within 5 mins of young Paddy. Paddy’s nerves soon kicked in before departure, & despite his "training" being limited to a few 6km rides each week along the Yarra barking through a megaphone at his rowing teams, everyone knew this young man had what it would take to get the job done. At the top of climb, Paddy still had a 90 second lead over the Postie & Cracky who had come together, with The King a further 2 mins behind. The King would eventually catch Postie & Cracky, & these three worked together to catch Paddy with about 25km to go. This foursome rolled hard together all the way to the end, meaning it would come down to a sprint - The King was licking his lips at the thought, with Young Paddy biding his time, & waiting for his opportunity.
With the finish line in sight, The Crack was in first wheel & launched a selfless leadout. The King soon launched his sprint with Paddy responding immediately, & as the finish line approached Paddy surged clear to win by a couple of bike lengths. Sheer joy was plastered across the face of the youngest King’s Men, & before he could even catch his breath he called his father, TKM stalwart The Wizard, who unfortunately couldn’t be there to witness his son make history. One of the greatest moments in TKM history shared by this father & son.
The Pimp & The Sherpa once again worked as one on Stage 3 to smash out the fastest time, despite a puncture. They finished with the fastest time for the day, & once again left everyone in awe.
We hear from the winner & the fastest man alive.
The Padawan - The Ride of My Life
So Road Champs for me started a few weeks ago. I’d had a pretty boozy summer & a few festivals were coming up so was a bit worried about my prep. Though I knew King would give me a ridiculous handicap, I just wanted to get a bit of fitness to take advantage, & so I wrote a plan that looked like a good month of training. A week in I still hadn’t touched the bike & I was starting to think maybe I’ll just join Flash on the sidelines, smash Maccas & focus on doing a good training block for “Stage 4”. This started to look like a great idea when I got pumped out the ass every Noize - fk you Pimp / DK / SMX / Sherps.
A week out King & Cracky were rolling out to KL. I thought perfect, I’ll show them how sh!t I really am, get a couple of hills in the legs & acquaint myself with the gigaboo prior to the big day. Turned out I was worse than expected & King was super strong - I thought the race would be his. After this my priority was just to finish in daylight & hopefully ride with some mates.
Having the climb so early (on Stage 2) was good. Got over it easily enough but I knew that wouldn’t be the problem. Unfortunately I’d thrown all the sandbags out before the climb so I had nothing to help me get down the other side & I got dropped. That was ok I thought, saves me having to ride hard all day & now I can enjoy it. After seeing a few crashes, Scoots & I agreed to take it easy on the descent. Chicken came past, we caught Skunk & the 4 of us just rolled smooth turns, but then the miracle happened - we saw a bunch of about 7 riders including 3 cup winners up ahead. WTF? How did we reel them in? I still have no idea, but fk it felt good to roll up beside King & just start yapping to him.
Unfortunately we were just about to hit another descent so my new descending partner Woody, & I hit it over the top of the climb to give us more time. Still got dropped at the bottom & lost time, but I’d done enough to be in the lead for Stage 3.
I text Dad: WTF I’m winning. I don’t know which one of us was more surprised.
Between stages I was being psyched out BIG TIME by all the BIG BOPPERS talking about what I had to do. I tried to play it cool but truth is I was more nervous than going over to King’s house for the first time.
Stage 3 was all pretty boring until I was caught, though the last 25km were the best I’ve ridden. Rolling turns with the guys I had been training up at KL just a week prior couldn’t have been better. I can’t stop thinking about those last few km’s & going over them in my head, they were pretty special. As we’ve heard a number of times Cracky did a remarkably selfless lead-out, King gave it a shot but after averaging 500km weeks he must have forgotten how to sprint, & Postie must have seen a mail box or something because he just stopped.
I think the sprint was being contested at 29km/h but that was just enough for me to take the wine.
The highlight of the day was definitely after crossing the line & calling Wiz to tell him the news. He definitely crept into my thoughts a few times as it got tough there,& it was a shame he couldn’t be there to celebrate with me. But make no doubt about it, that one was for you WIZZY.
Thanks again to everyone involved, the race committee, the volunteers, the riders & especially THE KING (mostly for the handicap).
Best race of the year.
The Sherpa - The Proudest TKM Day of My Life
Don’t get me wrong, I love all members of The King's Men, but after the 2016 road champs, THE FACTION are the fking sht.
All the pros & stay at home dads now want us to impregnate their wives. The only King's Men that were not impressed were Doglet, DK & Smax because we made them look like the E graders riding around at Glenvale.
It is no secret (well it was to Smax & DK before the weekend) that I prompted a few people to make sure the first 10km out of Jamieson were as fast as possible. I didn’t eat solids for 10 weeks as my finish line was at the top of that hill - everything after that was time where DK & Smax were going to treat me like their latest catch off Tinder. So I made sure we gassed it & dropped the big hammers before they could start dropping me.
3 seconds into Stage 2, at the foot of a 10km steep berg, The Faction were at the pointy end & stretching Phil Liggett’s elastic band longer than Smax’s ….. (refer to Smax’s Facebook for examples). TURTLE, PIMP & I just drove strong 1 min turns until we had ridden everyone off our wheels… 5min in things were looking sketchy, Doglet was there, Smax was there & DK who was caught out by the initial acceleration was nearly back on… 8 min in I rolled to the back & told Smax we were driving 1 min turns, he mentioned we should wait for DK but I quickly let him know that was not going to happen as his ability on the bike & finishing speed scares the sh!t out of me.
10min in… Smax gone…15min in Doglet gone… over the top of the first climb PIMP, TURTLE & I were on track for greatness & would never be seen again. Unfortunately Turts dropped off as we started another climb on Stage 2 but without him PIMP & I wouldn’t have put 4 minutes into the closest guys for Stage 2 & backed that up with the quickest time on Stage 3.
Turts drove until his legs gave out, then he drove until his lungs gave out, then he drove until he couldn’t grip the bars, & then he continued to drive the pace until his brain gave out, he was seeing stars, & he went into melt down on the side of the road. But this performance came from a bloke who has improved more than any cyclist on the planet in the last 12 months. In the last year he has won cups, beaten Doglet in a Kew Blvd ITT & is riding off the front at Glenvale - he is the real deal.
Stage 2 was bloody tough & very rewarding, but PIMP was tougher. As the day went on & the stages clicked by, he got stronger. He is the strongest rider in TKM & I was honoured to suck his wheel over the last 25km. I was sucking with everything I had, I was counting down the kilometres over the last 30 minutes & thought every turn I did on the front would be my last & I would be watching Pimp ride off into the Sunset as he accelerated from 44 to 46 to 48 to 50km/h…. Yes, 50+ km/h on a dead flat road after 105km of rolling turns all day, the bloke is a legend.
I am already excited about next year.
Tuesday morn FULL NOIZE
Thursday morn FULL NOIZE
Saturday morn BUSINESS TIME