I wanted to make a clever pun out of Wildside for this post title, but CyclingTips beat me to it and, frankly, that was all my comedy options take--- wait, wasn't it in Tasmania? How serendipitous. There is nothing that gladdens the heart of an Adelaide native more than finding another state to pick on. And, given that I have already declared a fondness for Canberra, I have no option but to aim a jibe or two at my Mexican cousins. Start your two-headed-joke counters NOW. Wildside is a 4-day, 7-stage MTB event that starts at Cradle Mountain and finishes in Strahan, a town spelt Stra-HAN but actually pronounced StrORN. That gives you an insight already into the complexity of the Tasmanian mind. Another insight was the delight that Strahan locals took in breaking the world record for the most number of water-skiers towed behind a boat at once. One hundred and forty-eight (although I understand that was a head count only [BANG!]), and it was broken last week. The curious part was that the record they took such pride in breaking WAS THEIR OWN. I don't mean to pick on Tasmanians, but really, somebody should have told them.
The stages were full of sweet singletrack, arm-pumping descents, and trails guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Actually, I have no idea what the trails were like. I was doing support crew. But I read those descriptions on pretty much every MTB race promo flyer I see so I'm sure they were there.
A question... why is 'sweet' the adjective of choice when describing single track? It's not a lolly.
Mountainbikers are a cool bunch. They are very different from roadies. Lots of hairy legs and nary a gold chain to be seen. The good ones are modest. The bad ones are happy. Everyone talked to each other and the feeling of bonhomie wafted around the start line muster like a bad fart on a Winter morning. It was delightful to be a part of.
As I mentioned, I was there to do support crew for the lovely Andy. What I did not mention was that I was THE MOST AWESOME SUPPORT CREW EVER. Andy may not mention that either, if you run into him, so you may have to remind him. I only ate Andy's post-race treats once and we rarely got lost. And I did not see any other support crew deliver fresh dim sims to their charge. So I am pretty confident I was awesome.
Below are a few pictures of the race that tell the story better than I ever could. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that Wildside is a race I would definitely like to do in the future. It's really motivated me to get my MTB moving. Love it.