MONDAY JUL 17 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

The Jamaican Bob Sled team 2016

Hawthorn Tri Club - Jamaican Bob Sled winner at the Melburn Roobaix 2016Jamaican Bob Sled at the Melburn Roobaix 2016, photo courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

For Travis Grenfell, the President of Hawthorn Triathlon Club (HTC) it all started back in 2016 when they entered as the Jamaican Bob sled team and won 'best dressed'. It has been on everyone's mind since to one-up that effort so, after receiving an email from Melburn Roobaix they started to advertise it to the club.

Discussion about ideas

Mario cart Team - Melburn RoobaixThere were discussions about creating a team around the Power Rangers and then they found a picture of a race in the US where they did a thing with the Mario Cart (Game) with the balloons and costumes so they settled on creating the Mario Cart Team.

This idea would enable everyone to put their own touch on it by making their own costume with lots of variety.

We all grew up on Mario cart

Super Mario Cart Team - Mario and LuigiMario and Luigi, photo courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

Everyone in the team was of the age where they grew up playing Mario Cart 64 so everyone is passionate about it.

Super Mario Cart Team Bowser - Hawthorn Tri ClubSuper Mario Cart Team Bowser - Hawthorn Tri Club

Lots of memories and discussions about playing the game, who your favourite characters were and even down to the noises each character made so there was some practicing and training (to replicate the noises).

Music - a big logistical effort

Super Mario Cart-Team is off with Donkey Kong leading the charge

For Travis, putting the music together for the ride was a big logistical effort on its own. The boom box (speaker with amplifier) was set up in the bidon cages with a series of AAA battery packs to get it going all day so they were constantly swapping out the batteries. So, all day they enjoyed the Super Mario Cart sounds intertwined with party music.

(The whole time I was doing the interview I could hear the Super Mario Cart music in the background).

Working out the characters

Determining who was each character was quite easy as they threw it out to everyone as you needed the core characters of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong Jr, Koopa Troopa and Toad.

Getting the costumes

Hawthorn Tri Club Donkey Kong Travis GrenfellTravis Grenfell as Hawthorn Donkey Kong

For Travis, Donkey Kong was his personal favourite when he played it as a kid which he bought on online.

Hawthorn Tri Club with Princess Daisy and Princess PeachPrincess Daisy and Princess Peach, aka Anna who rode with a full length dress.

Hawthorn Tri Club - Super Mario Cart ToadThe amazing Toad

Some of the girls put together some homemade costumes which was amazing and the Toad hat was absolutely huge and all handmade so the creative people had a chance to make these amazing costumes.

Fun in the morning seeing everyone's costume for the first time

Hawthorn Tri Club, Super Mario Cart TeamPart of the fun was seeing everyone's costume for the first time in the morning. The balloons had only been organised that morning so it was fun trying to get them out of the car, unpacked, untangled and onto everyone’s bikes

Growing interest for the Club

Going by the last 2 years, the interest is growing. Hawthorn Triathlon Club has 150 members so with so, many photos being posted on social media it's gone from 4 people last year to dozen this year and next year it will be absolutely massive. Travis will need to think about how he co-ordinates everything so it will have to become very simple.

That's what happens with events, the first year a few people try it out, the next year you have a small group and once you have critical mass it will be this thing that everyone is involved in with potentially 25 people for 2018.

So chilled, relaxed and everyone was having fun

Princess Peach - Super Mario Cart at  Melburn RoobaixPhoto courtesty of Princess Peach aka  Megan Hawkins @megahawk (pictured in the foreground)

For Princess Daisy, aka Anna Spanner, it was so chilled, relaxed and everyone was having fun. It wasn't a race, it wasn't a competition, just a chance to enjoy and see different parts of Melbourne.

Different bikes for Roubaix

Princess Daisy and Donkey KongPrincess Daisy, aka Anna and Donkey Kong aka Travis Grenfell before the grand departure

For Travis, he competed in Cyclocross last season so it was a perfect bike for the cobblestones (built for it) plus it's his commuter bike. With a few brave souls on roadies and some more sensible choices (laughing), we'II see how they go on the cobbles. Last year there was some slipping and sliding so Travis is pumped for the mud again.

Mario Cart Team riding in Melburn RoobaixAnna with her loan bike with 6 gears

Anna's friend kindly loaned her a brand-new bike so it was being christened on Melburn Roobaix. It’s a different bike to her usual steed, with only 6 gears, plus it was her first time riding it so she had to go hard to make it up the hills but she was fine (only had to push the bike once).

Riding with all of my friends

For Anna, the best part was riding with her friends while being all dressed up and having the music blaring and just enjoying it.

Seeing different parts of Melbourne

Mario Cart Team - riding through lane ways at Melburn RoobaixPhoto courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

Once Anna was in the west it was a case of 'where am I, I have no idea where I am', but it's great to have gone down alleyways and find new areas.

Backup plan: there is always the pub

If it does get wet there is always the pub to hide for a few hours and warm up plus, it’s the off-season so it's a great way to get everyone together.

Some stiff competition 

Super Mario Cart Team - Entered best Dressed team award on stageSuper Mario Cart Team - Entered best Dressed team award on stage

Being limited to 4 people for the award, having a larger group didn't have the same impact of just seeing 4 people up on stage but if the whole group went up on stage.

Super Mario Cart Team - Entered best Dressed team award waiting patiently
For Travis, there is some stiff competition to win the covenant 'Best dressed' award with Bikies and Ikea which sadly they just missed out on for 2017.

Promoting the friendly side of the club

Super Mario Cart Team - Mario going BMXPhoto courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

For Travis, being involved in the Melburn Roobaix is an opportunity to promote the friendlier side of the club by adding photos to their newsletter and on their website.

Hawthorn Triathlon Club runs a big beginners’ program as the whole sport can be very intimidating so, anything that can show the softer side will help market that program which is important to the viability of the club.

Super Mario, Princess Daisy, Toad Hawthorn Tri ClubThe average age of members is from the 30s to 40s but would like to attract the 20s to 30s age group but it's a big time commitment so you don't tend to get many younger members.

Sitting around the Velodrome and having  few beers

For the crew, the favourite part is at the end and sitting around the Velodrome and having few beers and a laugh, that was good. It’s actually a tough ride as it's long in distance but by the end of it you feel it, you have to work plus it's rough and there is plenty of mud.

You don't take it seriously 

Super Mario Cart Team - Wario and MarioWario and Mario, photo courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

Get a group of mates together, get dressed up and go 100% and don't hold back. Nobody cares what time you get in, there are all fit riders yet, last year they just made the time cutoff by 23 minutes so we spent a hour at breakfast, an hour at the Bicycle brewery pub, you don't take it seriously.

Getting the best dressed prize back in 2018

Hawthorn Tri Club - Jamaican Bob Sled winner at Melburn Roobaix 2016Jamaican Bob Sled winner at 2016 Melburn Roobaix, photo courtesy Hawthorn Triathlon Club - HTC

So for Travis, Anna and the crew they will be back in 2018 to get the best dressed prize back and keep the tradition alive.

To find out more about Hawthorn Triathlon Club