Ol’ Dirty is an off-road bike event hosted by Andy Van Bergen who is the founder of Hells 500. This event has been running since 2012, and this years event promise a mix of newly discovered tracks, killer lines, and deep grooves. Andy promised “it wouldn’t be an Ol’Dirty production without beats, liquor, batchies, and chow. We’ll bring the party if you bring the party. We’re delivering a route this year that will blow your tiny minds. Not to mention a mid-ride break and lunch stop the likes of which you’ve never seen before (probably with good reason). All delivered under the wash of amazing beats, an incredible crew, and some of the gawdamn best peeps in this amazing little community.”
The name Ol’ Dirty refers to the rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard. His tunes are always played at this event and riders are guaranteed some great quiet roads A company of like-minded crazy riders, and always some super steep unsealed climbs. You are guaranteed to see at least one, if not all riders getting off to walk.
This is the second year that this event was being held in Marysville, situated in the heavily forested areas of the Great Dividing Range. This was once a gold mining area. Today Marysville is a popular tourist destination, and tourists are attracted to the areas beauty and serenity. Cyclists, well we’re attracted to the hills.
The 2017 Ol’ Dirty is paying tribute to one of the last days of Ol’ Dirty Bastards life spent at Coney Island, by offering a carnival atmosphere.
2017 Ol’ Dirty
Due to suffering a number of broken bones late June I’m currently off the bike indefinitely. Whilst pain is preventing me from riding, my love of cycling hasn’t waned and I offered to volunteer for this great event. The alarm was set for 4:45 am, and coffee was my friend as I set-out in the dark of night. Much of what I was going to be doing today was a mystery. All I was told was this ride was to have a carnival theme and to expect hip-hop, popcorn, fairy floss, jumping castles, show bags & clowns. Psycho clowns.
My kinda scene.
There was a massive turnout and the course certainly didn’t disappoint. There was a mixture of mud, single-trail, mud, super steep climbs, more mud, hip-hop, psycho clowns, mud and to top it off a carnival near the end of the ride.
The entree of the course was a tough climb up to Mount Gordon. From here it just got harder. The highlight/low light of this years course was the super steep climb up to Dom Dom Saddle in the Black Spur. This peaked well in excess of 30%, and covered in mud. It would be nearly impossible to climb on a good day. The climb and muddy conditions nearly finished off a number of riders. Virtually every single rider was forced to get off and walk their bikes up this very, very, very, difficult climb.
I could feel their pain and could imagine their legs screaming trying to push their bikes up this hill. Many colorful words were being thrown around, but at the top was a treat. There was a rest stop and riders were handed out Bertie Beetle showbags. Yes showbags!
The ‘Bertie Beetle Showbag’ is a true icon of Australia.
It was first produced in 1963 and has since become one of the most popular showbags ever made. The Bertie Beetle is a small chocolate bar manufactured by Nestlé. It’s a chocolate coated bar containing small pieces of honeycomb, shaped like an anthropomorphised beetle.
Not what any of the riders would have expected going into Ol’ Dirty. This gave them something to bring up their spirits as there was still a long way to go.
After many more challenging roads riders were treated to one final surprise. A carnival in the middle of nowhere. There was a jumping castle, prize machines, popcorn, fairy floss, Burritos and some much needed refreshments. Waiting to welcome the tired riders.
Many looked shell shocked, but there was a good vibe that they had just experienced something wild.
I haven’t been able to do much since my injury, and was all a bit too much for me. I was very exhauted towards the end, but very glad that I made the trek out to Marysville. As a bonus I had the chance to catch up with a large number of friends. My favorite part was the climb up to Dom Dom saddle. It looked absolutely crazy. Most likely I would have had to get off and walk up it, but I would certainly have given it a crack.
A big thank you to Andy and Tammy Van Bergen and all of the support crew for putting on such an amazing event. The level of detail they put into an event like this is truly amazing. Going so far as to getting custom made teddy bears of Ol’ Dirty Bastard (see image below). My young son loved it when I brought it home.
One thing is for sure. Many would already be queuing up for tickets to 2018 Ol’ Dirty.