Thursday, 20 January 2011

Stage 2 – Radelaide to Charlestown (FOR SOME)

The natural order of the world has been restored. The Sydney boys taking an easy sprint on the way to Charlestown - Photo courtesy of Cycling tips (who came 5th while taking a photo!!!)

Adelaide 18th January 2011

Today started off with a traditional FFT roll out of 8.30, we rolled off to a great little café not far from the Medina, which was first visited last year. The service is red hot and the Barista goes alright as well….

It was team Sydney’s chance to reel some rope back in from the demolition of the Stage 1. The group had swollen somewhat with fresh legs from Melbourne and Sydney, one notable Sydney inclusion being Kabel Michele’ behind the scenes director. Melbourne had the ever entertaining, Robbo roll in (roll being the word). Robbo was to provide some extra entertainment during the mornings riding, more of that later.

The roll out took us towards the infamous Norton Summit. The usual trip takes us up the New Norton Summit track, which is a tad longer and more gradual than Old Norton Summit rd. It started gradual enough and with a sign topping the Summit at 5km. Surely it couldn’t be too bad. Within a km the group had fractured with the back markers not bothering to try to hang onto the frenetic pace being set up front. Robbo did manage to hit the front early in the ascent only to crawl home well back. Being the big sprinter that was not too unexpected. There were some legs spinning over from the previous days activities at a much slower cadence and being only 15km into the ride the cobwebs were well and truly still stuck to the stumps.

Half way up I was certainly sweating more than I would’ve liked and very little noise other than heavy panting was coming out. To look over and see Leigh the Velvet Sledgehammer on his phone wasn’t a good sign so early in the day. The main group of about 10 included fresh legs, Dave the “Koala Bear” Foster looking in magnificent form, The velvet, Poolboy on no more than 2 hours sleep, The RadMan, Kabel Michele’, with Buzz just about to be unhitched. Newcomer Wade Wallace “Braveheart” just decided to cruise past all the main pacesetters on the steepest part and just casually take some happy snaps up ahead……. As you can imagine it was looking ugly for the day. With Radman leading out, The Velvet casually just went around Rad. Poolboy did his best to get on the wheel just before the summit, to no avail. More points to the peanuts from down south.

The first 30+km is some of the toughest in Adelaide with steep ascents and twisting fast descents until you hit Lobethal. About 5km out from Lobethal the pace was ON. Swapping off and rolling into tough pinches the rusty legs of some were hurting and some fresh legs were causing some grief. After another attack from the Velvet the call went out for the drug testers to make themselves known back at the digs after the race for some samples. Kabel needed a kick-start somewhere and was finding himself in a little hole that was dark and hard to see out of. His fumbling around looking for something bumped him straight into a bee’s arse at about 70km an hour through a fast section of brilliant winding road. The bee happily deposited it’s sting, a55 and intestines in what can only be described as a fortuitous suicide bombing allowing the little blighter to head to bumble bee heaven sooner rather than later. Joining Kabel was the rugged rough bearded looking “Hollywood” Blunck. For some reason Hollywood felt like going the swallow….the bee flew straight into his mouth and deposited a present on the inside of his cheek. Go figure! You would’ve thought there was a bee swarm flying our way. Mitch decided to leave his in for a photo opportunity. Clearly there aren’t too many other reasons why you would take a close up of that head.

Time was tight so a quick stop at Lobethal after Poolboy easily snatched the KOM and Sprint points in town saw us head out on unchartered road. Good old Robbo decided to roll over something sharp and grab the first flat of the tour. All his great Vic mates were happy to sit by while The Sydney crew helped out and got us underway without too much fuss. Up over a pinch and a great gradual descent saw us hitting low 70’s and into a town called Gumeracha. Party boy for the first time in the day decided to take his own course and went straight, he quickly sorted his error out and found his way back to the front and out on his own. Que in ROBBO…… Puncture number 2. With a flat tyre Robbo had what can only be described as a “Clanger” a “Brain Explosion” a “Fu3K Up” a…. alright you get the picture. He decides to see how leaning in and turning goes with metal rims on bitumen. Can I tell you, NOT good. Robbo promptly, but lets say in slow motion for all of us hit the deck, the ground shook a little but the little bald unit didn’t move too swiftly. The Heli evac wasn’t needed so off the road it was and finally the Vic boys helped him repair the flat. There were a pack of Lamas in the adjacent paddock, which I suggested, may be a better for of transport for him but he sucked it up beautifully and clipped back in.

We were now on a tight schedule with 40km’s to go to the feed station viewing and about an hour 15 to get there. Pool boy rallied the troops and attempted to get a solid paceline going. It seems that the Melbourne boys don’t quite get that one and let it be said when the call to arms out and the hard work to be done, a couple of the leading Vics were found wanting,hiding back in the pack. Not mentioning anyone Velvet……… The cracks were starting to show.

The group was flying before a few boys legs failed them, it splintered with a good solid group of numbers holding in there. We made it to the feed station with Buzz getting a great leadout from the Poolboy and with Frodo a close second NSW snapped up sprint points. The pendulum was coming back slowly.

Mitch seemed to be the only one to snap up a goodie from the feed station with a Kashuta feed bag landing beautifully in his grubby mitts, nice work. While eating lunch and taking a well deserved rest, Buzz fielded a call from Hollywood. He was with 2 boys that had been dropped from the group when the pace went up and got a massive bum steer to Williamstown instead of Charlestown. Bang that hurts. 150km day for the stragglers and a 3rd visit to the gorge rd. Nice scenery at least. The trip home was 40km and with the anticipation of a little surprise from the Buzz the pace was solid even with hamburgers, nachos, fries and whatever else was sitting in the full bellies of the boys. A tough hot climb along Greenhill rd almost to the Lofty Summit saw us all re-gather before the doors were blown off by, Leigh, Damo, Poolboy, Braveheart and sneaking into contention for the KOD (King of the descent) points was the grovelling Party boy De Luca. With a VERY questionable passing of a truck on the descent, the Vics got clear of the Sydney crew to snatch all the points. An awesome descent down Greenhill Rd, with possibly one of the best views going round was enjoyed by all. Mind you I did find myself locked up heading for the wall before pulling the Canyon up 2 turns from the bottom. Great to live on the edge isn’t it?? Good to see the fresh legs come in and some of the players from day 1 grovelling a bit.Tomorrow is a short one with some vehicle aids about to come into play on the Anzac Highway on the way to Glenelg.

Let it be said “no bragging rights or imaginary points are worth hitting the dirt or a car for gents. Enjoy the Buzz and keep it safe” Lets enjoy the coffee, the sights the racing and a thousand laughs along with some friendly competition.

Oh and in the TDU, we see Robbie Mac on top of the leader board with Goss second and Swift from the UK in 3rd. It seems the Ashes are still alive and well. With CavONDISH stacking 3km from the end and a massive bingle 300m from the finish in the sprint there will be some very sore bodies hoping on bikes tomorrow. The TDU is hotting up with the hope of an Aussie 1,2,3 and the pressure building in the FFT we can’t wait for Stage 3

Also check out more of the day and great photos - courtesy of Wade and his great website,


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