This is the transcript of the discussion between Bill Smith and Andrew Gresham, who started the Newy Cogheads, based in Newcastle NSW Australia. They run a series of group rides around Newcastle, NSW, Australia – and are raising money for the Heart Kids Challenge. Like any group of riders, they are just keen to get out, get riding, and have a laugh (and longneck) afterwards.
Bill: “Hey Gresho, thanks for taking some time to chat about the Newy Cogheads, I especially want to talk about the Heart Kids Epic 3 ride Series that the Cogheads have run this year.”
Andrew: “Thanks for the opportunity to promote mtb riding through our group, if we can get people off their backsides and out on the trails that is great.”
Bill: “By the way another great ride last night, bloody hilarious! These days in the club there are the weekly night ride, several 100k coghead marathons and a dozen other races that the club participates in, but where did all this start?”
Andrew “The Newy Cogheads group was originally formed after going down to the central coast (NSW) on wed nights with Stu Lee and Sir Hilly back in 2002. Back then although the rides were great, getting home at 10pm every wed night was not so great. I suggested to Stu that we could get something going like that in Newcastle, so we did meeting at Glenrock Reserve every Tuesday night at 6pm and riding Hard for an hour then go for a couple of beers at Tommy’s house near Glenrock, his wife Jackie use to put on the best food after a ride and we would be home by 8…that culture of night riding hard for an hour then beers and a chat still exists today, hence one of our mottos Ride,Drink,Dribble.”
Bill: “Seems like a winning formula! The Tuesday night rides regularly pull 20 plus riders, how do you keep the group organised and in line?”
Andrew: “Our group has a strict no dickhead policy that works great, if your mates a dickhead then don’t bring him on a ride, it’s easy to police and they just don’t comeback”
Bill: “Haha, funny but so true. So how many in the club these days Gresho and why do the Cogheads fill so many Podiums at races?”
Andrew: “The Newy Cogheads have over 200 active members which around 50 are the “Cogetttes” mostly wives and girlfriends of the Cogs, they ride every Thursday night and on the weekend.”
The Cogheads attend races on mass throughout the year and we have been quite successful winning at the Mont and Scott 24 over the last three years in the masters and mixed divisions.
We have some gun riders in Stu Adams, Tristan Gribble, Nicole Sutton and Sarah Neumann regularly winning various races in their age groups. Not to mention Ross Cairns the brains and Brawn behind the H.U.R.T (Hunter Race Trail) and Ross recently competed in the US AZTR. We even have our own bus and bike trailer to get us to races and riding days out of town. A big emphasis is placed on this being a family orientated group, this aint no boys club.
Bill: ”With mountain biking getting so popular and all the races available why did you create the Heart Kids Epic 3 Ride Series, is there some history behind it?”
Andrew: “One of the best thing about Newcastle is you can ride out your front door and within a km or so you are in the bush, we can ride north, south or west always riding new trails. In the club we can cater for everyone so we set a meeting point and for those wanting to ride for only 2 hours could drive there do the loop and drive home, and that part of the ride is at social pace. For the ride out and home group is at race pace and would finish by getting a longneck from a pub at the bottom of Mount Munibung and riding to the top with the “largy” in the camelback, the views from the top is the best in Newcastle you can see 360 degrees and feel like you can touch the lake and ocean, so finishing an epic with a longneck up the bung has become an initiation of sorts and a real highlight.”
“Race fees for some of the cogheads were becoming a strain on the weekly Budget so I wanted to create a challenging series of rides for people within our group, to motivate them to train and look after their health, to do it for a charity was a great way to motivate and also give something back to the community from our group. I came up with Heart kids for our charity as one of our members Rob and Laura Aspey lost their little girl at 4 months of age after being born with a heart condition. So the Heart kids Challenge it was, 3 challenging rides, spread out over the year being careful not to clash with any big races on the mtb callender all finishing with a longneck!”
Round #1 Bloody Norah 90k + Ride From Warners Bay headed south covering the coast from Swansea to Norah head then back to Swansea next to the SE corner of Lake Macquarie.
Round #2 Brownys Wild West 88k + we started at Rathmines park SW side of Lake Macquarie and headed straight west covered massive climbs to the top of Awaba and Sugarloaf Range and back through Fassifern, Teralba around the western edge of the lake very tough ride with 2300m of vert and took 8hrs.
Round #3 August 24th is 110km The Mclovin Monster 28km of this covers 1000m of vert “the Mclovin 1000” and 50km of singletrack heaven which is flat and fast before returning via the Big Dog track back to boolaro to get a longneck and ride to the top of the bung for a group photo.
We have also set 3 rides within this ride to cater for everyone a 30k and 50k as well as the 110k.
We raise money by fining cogs for anything from getting a puncture to having bad breath, also people can get a memento of any of the three rides by purchasing a Heart kids challenge key ring, for $15 not a bad trophy for three rides.”
Bill: “So really after all the trail riding, racing and celebratory beers up the ‘Bung, the Cogheads are really a bunch of family folk with a passion for keeping active and giving back to the community?”
Andrew: “Exactly Bill, now get some training into those legs ‘cause were going Epic August 24!”