SUNDAY SEP 18 / 2016 / by Andrew Talati

Ol Dirty Riders in bathrobes
Photo courtesy Fame & Spear @fameandspear

Ol' Dirty - Hip Hops roots

Ol-Dirty-Rest-area_Pimp-style_dollar-bills CocainePhoto courtesy Dan A'Vard Photography

About being irreverent and referring to the Hip Hop "Ol' Dirty Bastard" rapper from the Wu Tang Clan, with maybe a little less coke (Cocaine) but basically in the style for the ride says Andy Van Bergen from Hells 500, the event organiser.

Making the ride memorable

Ol Dirty Rest area Pimp-stylePhoto courtesy Dan A'Vard Photography

The whole goal of Ol Dirty is about creating a memorable experience, so it’s about taking pleasure in delivering a course which is completely different and doing the exact opposite of what you would expect in a bike event. The feed stops are are totally out of control and then surprising people around every corner.

Ol Dirty carrying bikes up high Rd track
Photo courtesy Clint Woodward - @descendrrr

The route is 65km with 1,550m climbing and is 95% dirt roads with the special climb at 25% on a rough off road track.

The ultimate goal is outdo the previous event every year. "I'm telling you 2017 will blow 2016 out of the water".

In its 7th year

Ol Dirty Pre ride briefing Andy Van Bergen Hells-500Photo courtesy of Julien Fleurus - @julesta17

From humble beginning of just 12 riders, to 30, then a 100, 150 and it kept growing as word spread, so much so Andy hasn't needed to promote Ol Dirty with the 2016 edition selling out two months in advance.

The best events grow organically and Andy and the Hells 500 crew never envisaged where it would go.
Andy is fortunate to have the support of his family and amazing, amazing friends to help make the event happen while seeing crazy ideas as a problem to figure out and turning these ideas into reality.  It's about delivering on the vision.

Making it look haphazard & disorganised takes a lot of organisation

Ol Dirty Bunch rollingPhoto courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh - @melbacycle

The planning was massive with 90 different permits spanning different government departments, so there was a lot of red tape to get through over a six month period.

The challenges are moving to a different shire based on the route with a whole new swag of memorable routes being investigated and means dealing with a different shire and developing new relationships. Currently this has involved working with the Yarra Ranges Council that includes the starting and finishing location of Marysville.

The local community is behind this amazing event to support 500+ riders descending on their doorstep in need of food and accommodation.
Andy said it was amazing to see CX bikes everywhere in Marysville the day before the event.

Mixing it up with different terrain 

Ol Dirty pushing bikes up high Rd trackPhoto courtesy Fame & Spear @fameandspear

Part of making it lighthearted and a bit of a joke was going up this high road which was actually impossible to ride, Even though it was mentioned in the pre ride briefing to check it out given that it was at least a 20 minute plus walk to the top (not even climbable on a mountain bike), people were still determined to have a go despite what Andy had said.

It was a case of the boy who cried wolf as people didn't take Andy's advice seriously and thought it was really part of the route.

Ol Dirty flat tyre changing tubesPhoto courtesy of Julien Fleurus - @julesta17

Not knowing what Ol' Dirty is creates the mystic 

Ol Dirty rest Stop and coke cans
Photo courtesy Fame & Spear @fameandspear

Ol Dirty Bathrobes and top hatsPhoto courtesy of Julien Fleurus - @julesta17

The surprises and novelty is delivered in spades with the signature of the event being the feed stop, so it’s always something amazing in the middle of the bush with common reactions "Where did this come from?, “How did they do this?". It’s about creating something which is totally ridiculous, memorable but not about the money ($45 would barely cover all the stuff and food you receive).

Ol Dirty Rest Area Velour bed Gold sheetsPhoto courtesy Dan A'Vard Photography

This year they had a full hotel decked out ‘pimp style’ with a velour bed, satin gold sheets, Champagne, cigars and like any notable hotel guests, were supplied monogramed bath robes.
This must have been quite a site as 400 riders in bathrobes rock up to the town of Marysville.

Previous years include setting up a Melbourne style cafe in the middle of the bush, a high tea with warm scones and even a soup kitchen; so it’s always a bit unexpected.

Last year they added a tailgate party- the party you have before the US Super Bowl. They had beers and all the soft drinks from grape Fanta to cherry cola. To add some theatre around this they invented a fake sporting team with monogrammed bomber jackets. In order to stir things up they had this fake team rumage through the pre ride briefing and make a racket. They proceeded to invite everyone to their tailgate party yet half the crowd had no idea what was actually happening and swiftly told them to go away.

Half the fun is doing the recce

Doing the recce (reconnaissance) of the route is half the fun; looking for interesting places, especially exploring places that people have never ridden before.
The second part of the planning process is delivering the experience and they have already had plans in place for the past few months for 2017.

Even 4WD drivers were amused

Ol Dirty en route with matesPhoto courtesy Dan A'Vard Photography

At one crossing a queue of 4WDs were waiting patiently for the riders to pass and thought it was quite funny and amusing given how remote they were but they were supportive with a bit of cheering mixed in with some good old Aussie heckling.

Last but not least the official mascot

Ol Dirty inflatable pink flamingo mascotPhoto courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh - @melbacycle

Jim Crumpler is the Ol Dirty's official mascot carrier, last year he carried an inflatable dinosaur throughout the course and this year it was a surprise for Jim when he saw this massive inflatable flamingo which is 3 metres wide, yeah he had a bit of a laugh. Apart from being patched up a few times it made it through to the end.

Type II fun

Essentially Type II fun is when at the time you are absolutely hating life and you want it to end more than ever but afterwards it's the best thing you have ever done and that pretty much sums up what this event is all about.

So it’s a balance between being challenging but achievable, it doesn't have to be too serious, it’s all about being out there having fun.