Tour Down Under 2009
On Monday we go to Victoria Square to pick up the race jerseys. We arrive at the exact same time as Joe! We pick up all the jerseys and goodies bags and have lunch with Joe on Flinders St.
After lunch poor Jon goes back to work whilst Joe and Jude go for a nice ride along the beach (in the heat!). Jude tests the race jersey and although it all seems a bit tight (the arms and the elastic at the back pockets), it feels fine during the ride.
The week before the community challenge ride we did a major car shuffle in the Barossa to train and check out the route that we will be riding… It will be tough!
On Saturday we drove the 2 cars to Angaston, had lunch there and left Lara there. We then drove the Pajero with the bikes to Tanunda as we had decided to start the ride from there (just before Menglers Hill).
The hill is fine, the last 50km of the course are beautiful and take you on a scenic route through the Barossa Valley. We came back feeling happy and not too worried.We then drove home with the bikes and left on Sunday morning at 8.30AM from Burnside Village (which is where the start will be this Friday as well – about 2.5km from our place). OMG, that was a tough ride. The first 70km or so is uphill. Sure, you have a few bits that go slightly down hill, but overall it all goes up, up and up. We also suffered saddle soreness as the tarmac feels really rough in most places and struggled with a very warm head wind. We had a lovely lunch stop after Singleton and another quick stop in Lyndoch. By the time we got to Tanunda we decided to stop there and not do the last part of the course again AND have to ride back from Angaston to Tanunda again afterwards…
We drove home, had a quick shower, prepared a fruit salad for that night and went straight to town. Pierre had invited us and other friends to watch the criterium of the Tour from a perfect spot: the balconies from his office on East Tce. A fantastic spot to watch and take photos! We enjoyed drinks, music and food whilst watching the tour and Lance race past. Awesome night!
The Tour Down Under is the first race of the season for the professional cyclists and it is the only race for professionals that is not held in Europe! It is held each year in Adelaide so we decided a long time ago that we would ride the Community Challenge on the Friday. The community challenge allows cyclists to ride the same route as the professionals later that day and if you are fast enough you can even finish under the finishers arch before the professionals. It is a beautiful 155km ride through Gorge Rd all the way to Williamstown and then into the Barossa Valley past some lovely wineries and up Menglers Hill for the King of the Mountain.
Pete, Marcus, Troye and Joe also signed up for the ride and Pete entered us all as team Woop Woop. Mark, Ted, Jen and Adrian also joined us for the full 155km and Mel decided to tackle the 32km from Angaston.
It was an early start (up at 4.30!) to get to the start line on time. A massive sea of yellow in the street just before the 6Am start was quite impressive to see. The first 5-6km was very slow as 4500 cyclists tried to get started, but once we were on Gorge Rd it was a lot better. Jon and Marcus were excellent wind blockers and Jude sat behind one of them during the whole ride 😉 We lost Marcus somewhere after Springton and found Adrian at the last water stop. At the end of the ride in Angaston it was very busy, but thanks to mobile phones we found each other quickly and spend an hour or so relaxing and eating before we went to Denise’s place (Mel’s auntie) for a much needed shower.
Sunday, final stage of the Tour Down Under. It’s a city based stage where they do about 20 laps of a circuit with a tiny, tiny hill for the King of the Mountain points. This stage goes right in front of Adrian & Alix’ doorstep and we all go over for a bbq at their place. From the balcony you can see the riders zoom past, but we spend most of the time on the street. Walking to different locations to see them zoom past. Much better chance of actually taking one out when you’re on the street… 😉
Lance has one half-hearted attempt in winning this last stage, but after one lap at the front he kind of gave up? Very exciting all 😉
The next day is Australia Day and Pete, Marcus, Jon and Jude head over to the cricket grounds to watch the cricket on a very hot day.