It’s Super, It’s Flow, It’s Both: The Story of a Superflow Silvan Sunday.

It’s Super, It’s Flow, It’s Both: The Story of a Superflow Silvan Sunday.

Superflow. It’s a fun invented word -  a compound noun, to be exact (thank you, Linguist Ness. Back in your box now!). Throw “super” onto anything and you increase its properties, right? Superhero, for instance. Not just your regular garden-variety hero; rather, a hero with special qualities, powers, and abilities. Superstar is another one. Take someone that shines brightly in a crowd, and recognise that they are actually even more remarkable, more famous, more talented than a regular star. If something deserves the prefix of super, it means it sits above and beyond the norm.

So what makes a Superflow event so special? After riding the Sunday chapter of the race at Silvan, here’s what I have been able to determine. 

The first thing I felt when I drove into the parking lot of this trail network woven into the dense bushland of the Dandenong Ranges on Melbourne’s eastern fringe was a sense of welcome. If this were indeed a race, it wasn’t the type that polluted the atmosphere with a feeling of foreboding and pressure and anxiety and tension as thick as the flora surrounding us. All the riders were there to pin on a race plate and give it their all, sure. And yet at the same time, that desperate sense of competition and ruthlessness that comes with the territory of racing was noticeably absent. Everyone was relaxed. Everyone was chill. Everyone was there to have a great time out in the bush on their bikes with other like-minded legends. And if they came away victorious, then that would be super. 

Then there was the race event hub. The first adjective that comes to mind when thinking of how to describe it is “adorable.” Seriously. A collection of vendors, registration stations, first aiders, and food stalls tucked into the bushland like something out of a renaissance faire. Everyone was smiling, everyone was laughing, everyone was chatting, everyone was sharing the stoke. Nowhere was there a feeling that anyone was there out of obligation. Nowhere was there a crowd crush or any sense of hustle and bustle. Everyone wanted to be there to share what they had with the riders. The only thing missing was the dulcet tones of a troupe of troubadours with lutes and lyres regaling the riders with singsongs of speed and conquest. For such a small smattering of stalls, the vibe put out was nothing short of super.

On the other side of the event hub was the approach to the race start. The Hill. Oh dear reader, The Hill that greeted me and my noble steed. I’m mountain-bred, and spend many of my days hiking and biking and skiing in alpine terrain and let me tell you: the gradient and enduring length of this fire road was a true test of my resolve (and my very out-of-condition legs). The climb went on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Respite was only found on the crest of the sporadic waterbars, upon which I would stand to question my life choices and commiserate with my other analogue-biked comrades as we watched those wise enough to have equipped themselves with eMTBs cruise past us with not only seemingly no effort but, dare I say it, a degree of enjoyment?! There were occasions where the gradient of The Hill was so steep I had to “Superman” my bike out in front of me, arms outstretched, head down, feet slipping on the loose, dusty gravel, calves and lungs shrieking for mercy until the little orange sign indicating the Race Start Point came into view. Such a sight could only be described as super. 

And then, after leaning against the base of a majestic ancient gum tree in the middle of the start zone to regain my sensibilities, I felt ready to line up to tackle the first of the three descents. What welcomed me was sweet, hand-cut, old-school single track that snaked its way around and down, tight corners, off-camber sections mired by deep dust and ruts…and so, so, so much fun. I dared myself to trust the dust, to lean into the corners, to let the brakes go and give my noble steed permission to carry me safely and speedily to the end of the track, at which point I released a celebratory woop and followed the signs pointing me back to the start hub. What else could be used to describe this sensation other than our Word Of The Day: super!

As another saying suggests: what goes up must come down, and the reverse is just as applicable here. All the fun of the descent had to be repented in a repeat of The Hill, with lots of extra Hill thrown in for good measure. So my noble steed and I trekked up, and up, and up, and up, and then up some more, until our favourite little orange sign welcomed us once again to the start. The relief was super. 

And then we did exactly that all over again!

After the third mission up The Hill, I pointed my noble steed down the second stage. Riding down a climbing track feels somewhat naughty, and yet it was a total blast. After one particular left-hand turn I decided that the ground and I needed to become better acquainted, and I treated myself to a little dust bath. After all, what is a race without a spill? As I like to say, “if you’re not stacking, you’re not trying hard enough.” Apparently on that section, I was giving it my all - an effort that can be modestly summed up as super.


I like to save the best for last, and my final stage was the Downhill track. Here we meet the second half of the word Superflow. For me, flow is what I feel when everything feels right. Flow is the state of mind in which I am simultaneously at peace whilst being completely dialed and focused. Flow is where things are smooth and natural. Flow is comfort and thrill and ecstasy and fun and peace all balled into one super sensation. Flow is why I ride. And flow is what I found. And flow is what I did, all the way down to the bottom of the stage…

…and then mished my way back up The Hill to rinse and repeat.

Once I had my fill of timed stages - two runs down each of the three tracks - I cruised on back along the traverse through the ferns and gums, reveling in the satisfaction of having completed my first race back after a four-year hiatus. I was exhausted. I was dusty. I was sweaty. I was stoked. I was super. 

That, dear friends, is what the Superflow means to me. It means the thrill of the race with none of the stress. It means the joy of bikes, basking in gorgeous native bush, riding fun trails carved and maintained by passionate builders, and sharing the stoke with friends new and old. It means experiencing the mental silence accompanied by the chainsaw hum of a finely tuned hub. It means cursing the climb and relishing the flight down. It means finding flow on a whole other, super level.  

Let’s do it all again soon at Falls Creek, shall we?



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