Fields of Joy CX (#FOJCX) is a Cyclocross venue developed and raced by Sunbury Cycling Club with very gracious support from Essendon Fields, Melbourne Aust.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

This guy...

Michael Blyth is 19 years old and had his world turned upside-down 12 months ago in a MTB accident not far from his home in Sunbury.

He was out riding the neighbourhood with his mate Jack, and chose to ride something that ordinarily was well within his capability and, unfortunately, found his life forever changed through a simple accident.

Mike wasn't a member of a Cycling Club and found himself uninsured. In addition to dealing with his paralysis, Mike and his family then found themselves dealing with the financial burden of rehab, alterations to their family home and long-term disruption to working for a living.

Mike's message to all cyclists is simply to be a member of a Club. Being financial, either as a Recreational Member or a Race License holder means that you are insured whenever you are on the bike 24/7. (note: Racing requires a Race license)

As a cyclist, TAC only covers you if you are involved in an accident with a car.. and only then when that car has a driver behind the wheel. You are not covered by TAC for accidents by yourself, such as running off the road or crashing into a parked car.

Please help us get Mike's message out there. 

Want to help Mike?
Sunbury CC are fundraising to buy Mike a car. We want to help restore some of Mike's mobility and independence. Wheelchair modified vehicles are not cheap and we fully realise that this is a lofty goal.  Please consider helping out. We will be asking all FOJCX entrants for donations. We are also seeking sponsors to help us with this. If you can work some magic please get in contact with us.

More information about Mike can be found at his website, including how to donate http://www.michaelblyth.com.au/


Monday, 23 June 2014


We walk a fine line... stay true to 'Cross but make the most of the unique opportunity before us.

 (photo credit Adam Jones. Colour scheme by Adam Jones)

This photo gives a clue to the scale of what we are able to do out here at Fields of Joy (and is by far our biggest feature BTW).

It is basically a bermed wall ride - coming into a left hander from the top, small table top, right, left and up a wall to exit. If anyone has ridden Mariners Run at Forrest then you'll have a good idea of what this is about. Hopefully the weather co-operates and we can include this for our first race.

Balanced against 'built features' are more traditional 'stake and tape' sections.

This is another major feature. This is our staired climb under construction. A neighbour came and asked whether are building a road when they saw this from Mascoma St. 

The grassed section to the right (adjacent to the road) is slightly downhill and a reasonably long, fast run. We intend to leave this pretty open so it should be one of the few times you can top out on a CX (assuming you aren't sucking in the big ones after the hill sector).

We have lots of ideas and believe the design is good, but the bottom line is we need to race this thing and see how it goes. Bring on July 27 for our 'Shakedown Race'. This will be a full dress rehearsal for our Winter Series. We'll be very much open to feedback and can make adjustments as we go if necessary.


Big shoes to fill...

Many thanks to Dirty Deeds for totally nailing another massive round at Darebin Park.

We are in the process of finalising our Season dates and should be in a position to announce things shortly.

Here's what we can say...

Work is still underway on the course. The rain this week may delay getting equipment in but will bed in some work already done. The remaining work isn't that major so we expect that should be done in time to let it settle before racing.  Exciting times.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Build it and they will come....

Here's what's rolling around our heads when it comes to design principles...

Our design aims include;
  • Safety first.
  • build something that is fun & flowy
  • make use of the unique opportunity before us..  build features that are fun to ride and  that a local park can't support (Excavators & bobcats = amazing opportunity)
  • Be true to CX.. don't overwork the features and turn it into a BMX or MTB track
  • Make it inclusive.. all grades should be able to ride most of it, else change the tape to make it easier for lower grades
  • Offer some challenge
  • Put riders in a dilemma occasionally... ride or run, ride a good line with congestion or pass off-camber?
  • Don't make it so hard that people blow out after one lap
  • Make it reconfigurable.. build features that will be linked by tape and changed race-to-race
  • Provide opportunities for canny positioning and fast lines... and let the riders determine the lines. This ain't about building single track
  • Reward skill. 
  • Work with the terrain
  • And most importantly, we don't have to get it right first go.. we can come back and make adjustments, add new features etc over time.

Please consider supporting those who support us.

It's nice when friends drop by..

We had a steady stream of visitors all day today.

Here is a selection:

Lisa Jacobs, Michael Blyth and Alan Iacuone. (Two National CX Champs and a champion of a young guy)
A close look will reveal LJ holding a commemorative "green & gold" shovel minted especially for the occasion. LJ did a considerable amount of berm shaping whilst Alby stood around looking very cold.

DIRTY DEEDS delegates also inspected the progress at key intervals throughout the day.

This photo epitomises Nick Cee's racing moto - 'If it's moving, suck it's wheel'

 Here's the build team (minus Marco who we left work tirelessly down the far end while we hob nobbed with the Champs). Super special thanks to Essendon Fields, particularly SB & Tex.

Plus many others, including many Sunbury CC  members & friends bearing cameras, CX bikes and smiles.
There was also a sighting of a not-so-Angry-Butcher heard to mutter "this is awesome" repeatedly.

Thanks everyone for sharing a special day.

Try doing this in your local park.

We broke soil today on what can only be described as a dream project.
Sunbury CC are proud as punch to be developing a purpose-built Cyclocross facility at Essendon Fields, 12km from the Melbourne CBD.

Here's some pics to whet your appetite.

Pic 1: This has been dubbed the 'Stairway to Heaven'. No barriers on this course, built-in steps.
A neighbour came from way over yonder and asked whether we were building a road. No joke.

Pic 2: First berm for the day. The orange vest is Jack O'Hare, MTB course designer and machine operator, SCC Club Prez Hutchy at the controls. Both have mad skillzzzzz. Say no more.

Pic 3: We said fast & flowy, this is what Marco came back with. Clearly he has gone completely mad. This series of berms is wide enough to accommodate a family sedan plus some. Rather than pull him back, we let him go. Marco earnt the nickname 'Picasso' today as he clearly is an artist with an excavator.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Supporting Michael Blyth

On the 22nd of May 2013, Michael Blyth suffered a horrific spinal injury whilst mountain biking in Sunbury, Victoria. This has resulted in paralysis from the abdomen down.

To add to the tragedy, Michael was uninsured.

Soon after Michael's accident, Michael's mum Kathryn reached out to Sunbury CC to see whether the cycling community could get behind Michael and help out, both from a fundraising perspective, but more importantly, as a show of support.

Michael wasn't a member of SCC and many of us hadn't met him. He was a Sunbury resident and worked in the local bike shop, The Angry Butcher. We wanted to help but knew that doing something small wasn't really going to cut it, particularly as Michael was relatively young and now faced dealing with a paralysis that will impact him the rest of life.

Fast forward 12 months.. Michael's well into his rehabilitation, getting stuck into music production which is his other great passion in life, and we now have a project worthy of Michael and his family's situation.

Michael and his best mate Jack are avid Mountain Bikers. Jack is also a course designer and has recently helped design and build the Cairns World Cup Downhill course.

To say that Mike and Jack are stoked to be helping design and get a Cyclocross Race Series up is an understatement.

Our stated aim is to fundraise to provide Michael with a wheelchair modified car, so as to go some way to restoring a small portion of his mobility and give him some independence. We have no idea how long this will take and are hopeful that a sponsor might materialise and work some magic.

Mike has an important message to all riders. MAKE SURE YOU ARE COVERED. Many people don't realise that a crash that doesn't involve a car generally means there is no TAC insurance. Join a club and be covered by insurance 24/7 so that if you are ever injured, you don't face the same situation as Mike & his family.

More info about Michael Blyth, and how to donate, can be found on his website http://www.michaelblyth.com.au/

'Fields of Joy CX'  

Sunbury CC Presents... Fields of Joy CX (#FOJCX)

  • Sunbury Cycling Club, with very generous support from Essendon Fields, is currently in the process of establishing a Cyclocross Facility only 12 kilometres north west of Melbourne's CBD.
  • This is an exciting and unique opportunity, allowing construction of a purpose-built cyclocross precinct with features not possible in temporary CX facilities such public parks (eg bermed corners).
  • A 3 Race series (+ a Trial Race) is currently being planned to support the existing and incredibly successful Dirty Deeds Cyclocross series hosted by Brunswick Cycling Club. The aim is to run this series this Winter, starting with the Trial in July.
  • Sunbury and Brunswick cycling clubs enjoy close ties and see the Sunbury CX series as a complimentary 'sister series' to Dirty Deeds and a means to help meet the explosive growth within Cyclocross racing.
  • Importantly, this initiative is a fund raiser for Michael Blyth, a young Sunbury rider who was tragically paralysed in a Mountain Bike accident and left without any insurance coverage. Michael has an important message - "make sure you are covered" - and is looking to encourage all riders to be licensed members of cycling clubs and hopefully avoid his situation should they ever be injured. (more info on Michael can be found at http://www.michaelblyth.com.au/)
  • This entire initiative is supported by Cycling Victoria and is set to become a mainstay of the Melbourne Cyclocross scene.
  • Essendon Fields is a vibrant shopping and mixed business precinct set on 305-hectares in and around Essendon Airport.
  • Essendon Fields need to be congratulated for their foresight in supporting grass roots racing, local community and Michael Blyth.