Friday, 21 January 2011

Stage 3 – Glenelg, Unley and the Greenhill

Adelaide 20th January 2011

After some very solid riding and numerous, well in some cases excess consumption of the great amber ale it was a day for recovery and self-assessment. The odour permeating from some was intense to say the least. The rollout destination was straight down to Glenelg. We had a breakaway group head out the traditional way only to be beaten to the pass by the group directors and a close possy that believe in the directions being given. It seems that those that question or waiver from the path ultimately end up in no mans land or fall behind wondering what went wrong!

Knowing the usual attempts to utilise large vehicles on the fast trip down to Glenelg would be on the cards Buzz and Poolboy were very vigilant sitting on the front knowing that at any moment any number of bodies could come flying by in any one of 3 lanes tucked in behind a bus, a truck or larger vehicle hoping to get the lights when it counted. Most of the big players were in the front group but even the best miss the boat sometimes. Poolboy pounced on a passing bus with Buzz close behind. The energy went ballistic with the Koala Bear Foster trying to jump on board as well as Kabel Michele’. The big unit, Leigh seemed to miss the boat and could see clear road ahead. His attempt to smile through gritted teeth was almost inspiring as he rolled past us freeloaders tucked in file behind the bus one lane across. It was a test of nerve to see who could stay on the back of the bus as Leigh in the inside lane blew a gasket only to watch his fellow Vic, Foster fall off the bus and back in line. Buzz snuck onto a passing truck in the outside lane and had a sweet ride to swing past Poolboy and over the line first at the lights into Glenelg Manly 1-2.

The rest of the crew made their way down for a super relaxed start to the day. There were some funny stories to be passed around from the day before and loads of coffee, chocolate filled doughnuts, toasted sanga’s, small and large treats to be had before rolling out to the high energy start line in Unley. With magnificent leadership from Robbo on the front we landed spot on in the same place as last year. After yesterday’s MISFORTUNE on the bike Robbo was keen to stay upright and to lead from the front and break as much wind as he could.

The start line was a buzz with media everywhere and thousands of happy onlookers trying to get glimpses of the Pro cyclists. After yesterday’s bingles on the road there were plenty of riders resembling mummies wrapt from head to toe and the worst being poor little Cav. He was well supported and cheered all day for getting out there and riding after what looked to be a race ending crash. If he does actually make the end I will be surprised. He certainly didn’t look too happy tapping through Stirling today at least a minute back from the main Peloton on his own.

After descending the now famous Greenhill rd it was time to head up it for the first time for many. It was a nice pace set by Robbo till he blew a pooper valve about 200m’s in, time to go to the back champ… Thanks for your efforts J. Poolboy and Buzz set a nice cruisy pace early before stopping to take some happy snaps on the way up. They must’ve known Dave Foster was coming up as we passed a Koala’s ahead sign half way up. By the time we reached the top of Greenhill rd it resembled the slopes of Mt Hotham on a good day. Bodies were scattered everywhere but some still had a smile while others clearly couldn’t speak. Some poor bloke at the top of Greenhill asked after a big night out if someone could PLEASE strap him into his bed when his group got home got home so that he couldn’t possibly go out again and abuse his temple the way he did the previous night. Hangovers and hills mixed in with heat don’t quite mix.

We decided to deviate off track only slightly and make our way to the summit at Mt Lofty. The look out up there is Brilliant and was well worth the deviation. The Koala Bear thought he could carry the Foster name and snatch some KOM points only to hit the reverse switch and have Poolboy and Rad swing by to snatch the points. Poor Foz the Boss would’ve received a photo of all the riders up there looking at a million dollar view, clear skies and warm temps. Sorry mate is was good though. We all miss the Boss being here almost as much as he missing being here. So tomorrow we ride for you mate. Our black arm bands are almost worn out but will make a couple of extra days I’m sure.

The following decent into Stirling was short but super quick and almost ground my carbon pads down to metal on the stop. We had intentions of getting to the KOM at Bridgewater but thought we were too short of time. A few decided to run the gauntlet and head there. There were 8 crusaders who managed to ignore the men in Blue and made the KOM with about 1 minute to go. Radman inhaled his Subway he had been carrying for ten minutes before a quick departure back down into Aldgate and back up the hill towards the finish line to join most of the FFT crew in the shade. The TDU bunch swept by with plenty of cheers for McKewan and the rest of the Aussies. Lance was driving at the front trying to keep the break away close for Robbie. When it all came together with about 5km to go it was game on. Michael Matthews jagged the victory on the long uphill sprint into Stirling. In only his second outing in a Pro team he has secured a stage victory. Not a bad buy by Rabobank.

The trip home was supposed to be via the Greenhill decent again but most of the crew jumped on the back of the Pro groups heading back to town. The crew being shown a new track home with the highlight of having a spin with the likes of legend Stu O’Grady and the new Leopard team.

A solid recovery day was had by all. With The traditional Checkers Hill day with new route and a rear entry (keep it clean people) is on the cards tomorrow. Rest up, I think it may hurt tomorrow.


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