Monday, 23 January 2012

Tour Down Under 2012

A quick summary of my trip Adelaide. For the full set of photos, please click here.

Day 1 (36km)

After making the drive over from Melbourne, it was nice to unpack the bike and go for a easy roll from Glenelg down the Adelaide's equivalent of Beach Rd to Semaphore. From there it was time for happy hour on the balcony while the sun set.

Day 2 (100km)
The Down Under Classic was not to the late arvo which gave me plenty of time for two laps of Glenelg to Outer Harbor (a little further down the Beach Rd). After the first lap, it was time for the traditional daily coffee at Cibo's. I even attempted a ZABACCINO (Marsala and egg flavoured cappuccino) which surprisingly tasted better than I thought. After the second lap, time to cool off at the beach before catching the tram into the city for the team presentations (SKCC's own Matty Lloyd on the left) and the Down Under Classic. 

Day 3 (80km)
As there was no racing on Monday, the plan consisted of more coffee at Cibo's and riding along the beach. In the arvo, we drioe to Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills for a great lunch at the German Arms Hotel. The servings were huge, the beer cold and the wursts perfectly seasoned.

Day 4 (0km)
I finally gave into my body and had a day off the bike after. I drive to Stirling and had found a nice spot 150m from the finish. With the race pacing by 4 times, Stirling is a great stage and the only thing that would have made it better would having been riding to and from the stage. It is a nice climb up to Crafers and the way home is pretty much all downhill. William Clarke had an amazing ride managing to stick a solo break after being away for the entire race. One of our party ended up chatting to Will's nervous parents trying to play it cool and control their nerves with the peleton hot on his heels. 

Day 5 (85km) 
I was back and today was going to be a tough ride with a head wind all the way to Victor Harbour. I rolled out of Glenelg on the back of the Hampton cycles bunch with 100 riders. The size of the pack was quickly halved with a solid effort up the Hellacove KOM giving me 6th overall on Strava (I did get relegated later that day after the others uploaded their files). With a quick stop at a BP for some much needed Powerade, it was on again to the actual KOM for Stage 2. It always brings me so much pleasure passing 3km worth of stationary cars at the top of the hill making the long hot ride into a head wind worthwhile. After the race passed through, I took it a bit easier rolling the last 30km to Victor Harbour and was greeted by great oceans views. I took the easy way home in the passenger seat of a car.
Day 6 (110km)
Today had a slightly different ride planned involving bike paths from the coast to city followed by a quick smash up Norton's summit (Adelaide's equivalent of the 1in20). I attacked my bunch 500m in and had made a good gap half way up. Out of nowhere I was overtaken by a bunch of 10 Hampton riders (from the day before) and then another 10-20 strugglers before the summit. They all kept going on another epic ride and I descended back down to Norwood to see the start of Stage 3. From here, more bike paths back to the coast and a easy roll back to Glenelg. Later in the arvo, I squeezed 36km worth of beach cruising before happy hour followed by karoke night TDU tradition of karoke at the Jetty bar. 

Day 7 (100km)
Today was the Queen stage up Old Willunga Hill which was another perfect stage to ride too. We managed to get on the back of a bunch of SKCC riders (which were a little lost) but they towed us to Aldinga where we stopped for a ice coffee and watched the race pass through. Back on the road to Willunga itnto a block, we came across a female Green Edge rider and we all rolled turns sharing the work load. We made it just in time to see the race pass through the town before we ascended up the 3km climb (avg ~8%). The crowd cheering as we rode up makin it a great experience. We found some shade just past the finish to watch the race come up for the first time with Nathan Haas solo of the front. The second time up with the bunch blown apart we saw the riders finishing in all conditions before riding back down and back to Glenelg. 

Day 8 (50km) 
With the finale in the arvo and the previous day rides, it was back to cruising along the beach with more coffee at Cibo's and more time at the beach.
Day 9 (0km)
Post tour depression and a 730km drive home. I still made time for one last coffee at Cibo's and was sad to see only one bike out the front. Overall a very successful trip with almost 650km's ridden and I could think of no better place to stay than on the waterfront at Glenelg with the beach and nightlife only 100m away.