Sunday, 22 January 2012

Day 5....The Final

Well the final day of riding for most of us arrived. Another big day was in store with 130k and 1700m of vertical climbing involved. Temperatures were predicted to be in the low 30’s again, with a strong 30-40 knot southerly wind. We would have headwind/crosswinds for the ride down to Willunga, but a nice little tailwind to get us home at the end of the day.

Team KMD on the road to Willunga
The Ride Captain, one Buzz Crosby had come up with a nice course for us today, as all the courses have been each day. A touch of climbing here, a smidtz of downhill there, power on/spinning on, paceline required/gentle 2X2 abreast riding… was all there. Today, we headed once again up Norton Summit, however the Ride Captain had selected the older of the two Norton Summit ascents. This was a more gentle introduction to the traditional Norton Summit ride we do, however it kicked up rapidly over the last one and a half K’s with an average of around 9% gradient. It would test the tired legs of the group.

8.3am rollout from the Medina, as per usual, however there was one DNS from KMD. The famous French sprinter, Kay-belle Mitchell, had been put to bed by Dr Bourbon as his bung shoulders had been playing up and he needed to have a day off. This left KMD somewhat depleted for the sprints that would be on later in the day. However, Team Hampton weren’t without their issues with their roster too. Koala Foster had dialled “1800Qantasgetmeoutof here” and also started the day with a “DNS” against his name.

Both teams’s big units also failed to appear. Team Manly’s Justin Roscoe, who had been riding strongly all week and Ritchie Stewart also didn’t sign the whiteboard. Rumour had it that a dodgy prawn from the evening before’s dinner caused the no shows.

Gus on the lookout for a Manly Attack
A group of about 30 took off, and it wasn’t long before we hit the start of the Norton Summit climb. Damo was looking strong and set a brisk pace at the front. I slotted in behind his wheel, waiting for the inevitable attack from behind. Damo was trying to set up Gus McDonald, and about half way up the climb the pace picked up and there were more riders being shelled than a plate of prawns at a barbie! I managed to come around Gus and put about 50 metres into him which I held to the summit. It was a reversal of Greenhill road/Mt Lofty from a few days before. I later found when we loaded the day up on Strava it also got me the KOM for the Old Norton Summit climb, so we must have been going up there pretty quickly. As it was the last summit climb of FFT TDU 2012, it has double points, so good early blood to the light blue boys.

We regrouped at the top waiting for , and the pace was solid around the back of the Adelaide Hills as we headed south, over Mt Lofty and through Crafters. From here it was basically downhill to the McClarenvale Valley some 30k away. There were a couple of solid climbs, but much of it was 1% downhill with a headwind/crosswind. The group was swapping off nicely and we made good time. At a little town called Clarendon located in a little ravine/valley, we stopped to get some fresh drink/food on. These local shopkeepers must love it when 50 thirsty, hungry cyclists turn up and go through their shop like a horde of locusts! There is nothing left after we have descended on a café or milkbar! Feeling human again, we headed
Yet another coffee stop!
over to Willunga, a nice little town at the base of Willunga hill, where we ate more food, drank more coffee and watched the race come through a couple of times. We then went up Willunga Hill, along with 10,000 of our closest friends to watch the riders fight out as to who would win the other race going on, namely the Tour Down Under. All the riders were well supported and Valverde and Gerrans were neck and neck fighting for the stage win as well as the overall. Exciting stuff.

At least this guy had a body stocking on...not like
another who was riding up and down Willunga
in a mankini!
Racing over, we took off down the Willunga Hill bypass, made famous for the over 100kph descents of a few days ago. We took it a little easier today, due to it being much busier and blustery, however I still managed to nudged 95kph! At the bottom big Leigh Schilling punctured so the group split and some of the guys who may have found it hard to hang on for the upcoming smashfest home kept going, and the rest waited for Leigh to fix his flat. Once he had done that, we lifted the pace over the rolling hills, with a big southerly almost directly behind us. It is the sort of riding that suits a few of us and we had a good roll going, with 4-5 of us swapping off at around50k per hour. It wasn’t long before Damo and I got a little break on the rest of the group. As I took off, I told Buzz to rest, knowing he would have to take it up as we came into Adelaide suburbs. Strong riding was on by all, particularly Damon, Gus and Jay along with Buzz. We stopped for our final drink stop with 25k to go. Buzz and I had a little team meeting around the vacumn cleaner at the BP servo. We knew Hampton had a couple more riders than us, however if we were smart, we could give them a bit of stick! Damo, Gus and Jay were attacking at every hill, me chasing them down and then finally, I lost a wheel along with Jay and we were 50m behind Damo, Gus and Buzz, all riding strongly. In bike riding there can be temporary alliances as Jay and I started to work together to get back on. Gus and Damo were looking back to see if we were making any inroads into the gap. Over about 2k, we chased with the gap not coming down. Finally, I threw it into the big gear and gave it all to close the break. I knew there was a 3k descent coming and if we weren’t back on by then, we wouldn’t see them again. Lungs bursting, heart beating on the handlebars, quads screaming, we got back on, Buzz saw me coming and dropped back 10 to help me make the connection again. I used the downhill to regain my breath and set up for the last 10k down a slight decline from Flinders University to Anzac Highway.

This is what we all felt like after today
 Turning towards the city, tailwind behind us, slight decline, the pace well over 50, and the Buzzolini attacked. Great timing, only Jacko from HC, who caught us at a set of lights could go with him. Buzz was 50m in front of us for 4k as we tore along the arterial roads of Adeliade. This was solid riding, no one giving an inch. Jay and Mike Cole, blew gaskets getting over the last railway bridge, as Gus put in a huge effort to close the gap on Buzz and Jacko. It was down to me and Damo to then come of the back of the group with 200 to go to contest the sprint. Disappointingly, the little bike mechanic did me in the sprint, but it was great fun. Truce called, we all spun the last 4k back into Town along the Anzac highway, recounting to each other all the moments of the battle of the last 90 minutes.

FFT 2012 was officially over, with most of us flying home that evening or early Sunday. Another great week of riding.

Here is a summary of the week:

Tuesday, 180k, 1700m of vertical climbing

Wednesday, 145k, 1500m

Thursday, 190k, 2000m

Friday, 110k, 1600m

Saturday, 130k, 1700m

Total 745k and 8500m of vertical climbing. The FFT trophy stays with Manly, through strong consistent riding by all, although it was very tightly contested, however looking at the votes as they came in from the Judges, it was a split card 10-9 Manly, 9-10 Hampton and 10-9 Manly.

Better Luck in 2013, Hampton trundlers……!

Truth be known, it doesn’t really matter what the results are. It’s only bragging rights anyway and the results will be disputed for time immemorial.l Everyone had a great time…….

Remember only 360 days to FFT TDU 2013. Start Training now!

1 comment:

  1. Only being allowed to ride due to my namesake I had mere taste of what these boys do and how they do it. Stuff me their not only fit but a bit nutty as well. A mate of mine reckoned it was like Melbournes Hell Ride for 6 days straight. I can't keep up at home and it was only the downhill bits that I could keep them in sight. One day I hope I can get a bit closer to the action. Well done to Mike and Leigh Schilling for all the updates. I had a great time reading them now I can put names to faces.