Today was a massive test for all and so far most have passed the gruelling tests laid down. Just as a recap The fixed wheel race crew and Hampton boys have covered 135km, 202km, 130km, 92km and today a massive 205km to Victor Harbour. Questions were asked by the other Manly boys about GC last night but all answers were delivered today with a dominant show of force from TFW race team. Massive special mention to a huge effort by young 19 year old Dan Schiener(hope I spell that right mate) he held on all the way to the end today with a fairly impressive final selection if Guvna, Derek, Foz and I’m pleased to say myself after dangling off the back on the final burg after Jay so kindly dropped the wheel and peeled off leaving too big a gap to close until about 10mins later riding on the rivet
The pressure was on from the outset which saw some people question their decision to join the ride. Some turned within the first 20mins. Not a bad move. Alexis was the first to flat on an ordinary section of freeway, and then Col did his usual and bit the dirt along the rolling road near Aldinga. Col doesn’t get going until he has some blood or stitches to show. He is hard as nails though and doesn’t bat an eyelid and gets in with it. Kudos for a huge ride with injuries
We hit Willunga after a drilling by Derek and Guv which caused loads of gaps to open up. Wheels were dropped and fear and doubt entered plenty of heads. Lunch stop in Willunga and people were sneaking off early in the hope of avoiding the pain and pace that was being set. We let the food settle a bit then headed off up the old hill at a very gentlemanly pace. It was nice to see the climb less all the crowd. Off to the TDU KOM at Myponga. This was virgin road for FFT and we actually found
With Bateman carrying injuries and at home watching the race, he saw us on the tv as the Pro’s crested the climb. Boom air time! The race was then on to beat the peloton to the finish. They had 50km, we had 30km and were seriously down on numbers due to all the splits in the group. The Boss lead the charge along with Jay after popping his lunch time pill, Koala was dangling early but came good and everyone chimed in and snuck in to see Greipel pinch a very fast sprint with Cadel still in Ochre.
With 85km to get home people were searching for something to get them home, food, drinks, chocolate, hot chips. Nothing would help you now if you didn’t have the legs and grit to hang on. Derek back in his usual spot on the front tightened the screws and the casualty list started in earnest. Tough climbs to Willunga and a long fast descent saw the bunch decimated leaving Derek, Guv, Buzz, Jay, Neo, Paris, Dan, I think Neo managed to be attached like a limpet to the bunch thanks to Derek’s hand of god push on the crest of a couple of climbs. The Guv pulled a lazy 65km on the flats with a nice tail wind after Willunga which got us to the fuel station for a quick refuel before the final assault on 5 of the toughest rollers on dead legs and lungs on main south road. The group rejoined at the fuels stop but that didn’t last long.
The final selection formed on the pinches and the job was done. Massive Kudos to young Dan on an awesome effort on those young legs, Neo said he had been schooled by some old dogs, Rojay was passed about a km from home as he had left VERY early on his own. He looked like Casper the ghost and gave no response nor did he even lift his head to acknowledge Derek riding last him. That there was a BROKEN human. Derek was awesome and likewise the Guv with Foz still showing he is still the Boss, Jay was there clearly with assistance, not sure what he takes but the transformation is well noted and I’m stoked to be able to tell the story from the front.
GC well and truly confirmed and sealed by TFW team.
Oh, and guess what, one more tough day ahead 145km to the finish line
There is no big spiel today after a relative lay day. 90km ticked over with some good TDU viewing at Houghton, chain of ponds, the Gorge and the Corckscrew……. If the policeman had if let us through. With the race well over 40km behind us we had plenty of time to get up the climb and take some shade before the Pros came through. But oh no! Road closed. So the main contingent and heads of state trundled back up the Gorge for some viewing on the very fast descent.
We managed to see Cadel and his merry men hit the front and we could see the game was set. What an awesome effort from legendary rider. There is clearly no way he will surrender such a big lead now
Stage 4 will be a true test if man, machine and ticker and questions will be asked of all over the 205km journey to Victor Harbour via the iconic Old Willunga climb. Good luck to all tomorrow as you’ll need it. With the tempo ready to raise from the ease of today
Who will fold???
FFT Stage 2
Today’s theme was broken men everywhere. After a brutal day one in the wind and ticking over a massive 200km there were a few non starters. And the ones that did start didn’t have too much to give. The only ones with some real gas in the tank were Derek and Rad after taping out the last 30 odd km’s yesterday dragging some stragglers home. The last 30 were clearly when the real gas was on and the final matches were lit. They both clearly stop out today as the freshest
Someone crept into my room last night and stole my spark plugs. Because I clearly couldn’t get the engine to start today. The early assault up norton Summit saw the power brokers destroy the bunch early, leaving Rad, Derek, Foz, Guvna an Dan To battle it out for KOM honours. Guvna taking the points. The rest of us grovelled up with Roger suddenly finding a heart string had snapped. Oh sorry it was a hamstring issue!!
The basket range saw some great descents with fast sweepers and tight corners. The pace was on and I know I was in the Red zone the whole time. The same group snuck away in the final few climbs with Derek having a brain fade and towing Rad (the opposition) to the line while leaving Guv and Foz dangling off the back. Lobethal is a big scalp and kudos must go to Rad for fighting off 4 Blokes to take bragging rights into the much lived Bakery in Lobethal
With fresh winds I thought it best to sneak into the local hardware to grab some garbage bags for everyone for the wind up at the KOM. As I exited the hardware I found myself in a Ghost town. The whole bunch had left me holding the baby! I was filthy given I was looking forward to the very fast descent into Gumeracha. Instead I ride on my cursing all and sundry.
While on top of the famous Checkers Hill, Foz, Derek and myself got snapped in a photo for the local rag. Guvna arrived to ask “why isn’t my name being taken for the interview” the reporter said “sorry mate you weren’t here for the photo” he was filthy, poor bloke was sent off as a checkers hill virgin to ride the climb while we had our photos taken
We headed off after the pros came through to tackle the hardest part if the day. The corkscrew an ridge traverse to Lofty via Ashton and down into Sterling. Foz got a bit nervous and pulled a spoke out so he didn’t have to climb all that way and instead got a lift with a couple of old timers all the way to Sterling. Wonder who will be fresh tomorrow?
That part of the trip was brutal with Derek getting pinched by Will from Manly who had very fresh legs and weighs in at about 35kg dripping wet. Very little was said over the next hour as men were in survival mode. That flog Rojay was eating cheese cake in Sterling after taking a flat land short cut.
We watched a great battle for line honours in the TDU with Ulissi from Lampre pipping Gerrans And Cadel. It’s always a great finish with a tough grinding uphill sprint. We headed off for the Belair downhill which is always a blast and down into Glenelg for some coffee and soul searching. Aussie who just arrived at lunchtime with fresh legs manage to get runs on the board straight. For a tour virgin it was a solid effort to get points on the board with line honours into Glenelg
A few mentions for the day, never seen the Guv struggle like he did today. He is human, the NEO teretz boy held his own but will soon cop a jab in the chops for mouthing off the the Elders of the bunch. Welcome Virgin FFT Adelaide comer Aussie Ben, Bateman – What a disgrace sitting on your own at some swish Restaurant sipping white wine. Wine tours are done with your wife not on a riding weekend. Manly boys have done well and sticking fat and getting the km’s done. Derek for trying to cash in on a lazy finish to yesterday’s big day. And I’m a shell of a man hoping for the second coming after a massive, juicy steak at the Stag!
FFT stage 1 kicks off today obviously coinciding with stage 1 of the TDU. Before I fill you all in on stage 1 the previous days activities need to be documented.
It was to be the “Recovery/Easy day” clearly that didn’t float the Boss’s boat and he was determined to tick over 100km. There were many options we could’ve taken but it wouldn’t be an FFT ride if it was easy. So off to Sterling it was via Belair. This is usually a down hill smash fest giving us some very fast downhills and sweepers. Clearly some pain was ahead if us with a serious shock to the system with 15mins of steady steep to tackle. We re gathered half way up and set off again for another 15mins of solid undulations until we reached Sterling. I heard many a murmur from the crew saying F3cK! I didn’t sign up for that today. After consuming some quality produce and a nice sit down in the quaint little burb of Sterling it was suggested we head for Lobethal. Well that sent the white flag up for a couple of riders (no names) but with 190km 1st stage looming it was a sensible move for some.
The core crew set off with Derek setting a solid pace out along the flatlands toward Lobethal. We shot straight through there and down our favourite The Gorge rd. Neo Pro Lucas who we have realised has teretz syndrome was beside himself with how awesome an fast the decent was. Foz snuck past me to UNOFFICIALLY claim the downhill. Radman was very tentative given how out numbered he was. The pace in was very solid after that with Rojay Burjay finding himself in unfamiliar territory on the front. Clearly he knew the roads into town being an ex and current S.A. Bogan. He drove it all the way to the coffee shop. 105km down and a pretty solid day for a Recovery session. Welcome to FFT 2014
Headed back out through the Gorge and we knew at some stage leading into Cuddle Creek the attacks would come. I managed to keep the pace civil almost to the top I the steepest pinch until Derek stepped in. Red zone in the last 200m was hurting and we had some tough rollers ahead. Radman chased because he had to. Then it was Guvna, Rad chased then it was Rojay, Rad had to chase. How much fun is this!
The best drag had arrived, about a 3-4% grade with the wind giving us a nudge. The pace was hot and there were 7 of us left in the game. Young Dan Schiener burst off with an attack and Rad had to chase it again. Then Danny, Foz and myself sat in behind a struggling Lucas who when told to GO just managed a head shake. Nup got nothing…. Derek snuck away for a solid win for the first real point with Rad well covered and realising what it was like to be Buzz a couple of years back
At that point my Garmin said 170km to go. Yikes. A couple of matches had been lit with a long way to go and a punchy headwind coming in. The bunch rolled well and we managed a steady 33km average for 105km to Angaston where we fuelled up at a local bakery. I think I fell in love with the best cake I’ve taste in years, a cracking little Jelly cake with real cream oozing out of it. I grabbed 2!
We took in the Feed zone, the second sprint and the KOM on top of Menglers hill. The journey home had us left with just under 100km and a decent of the Gorge again. My well mapped out ride was going beautifully until we were presented with a dirt road, a bypass was taken which ultimately threw us back in the road we came out on and a couple of long leg deadening climbs we didn’t factor in. Surprisingly there were still some good legs in the bunch and the pace was still on most if the time. A timely stop in Birdwood at the bakery gave us a last refuel before the final attacks through the gorge.
And on cue the attacks came, the bunch splintered and the explosions erupted behind us, most notably the NEO Pro had stopped chirping. After doing some very solid turns all day and into some block headwinds he cracked. His roommate Rojay took great pleasure in seeing the explosion. Rojay had played the game well and hidden out of the wind most of the way home. The heat was on through the Gorge with Guv, The boss, Jay, Col Carrigan, Dan Schiener and the Buzz. (Apologies if I missed your name as I couldn’t see straight at that stage) the pace continued all the way into town with Jay going against the Boss’s call of ride done and continued to we’ve his way trough the traffic
A massive first day done and what is clearly the biggest 1st day of FFT ever, 202km. Yikes, who will be out in the morning for another solid 135km taking in Norton Summit, the corkscrew and down into Sterling