TDU 2018: ALL ABOUT THE CREW LOVE
The Tour Down Under would venture into the hills proper this fine day, a last minute, barely organised crew ride chosen over doing brand related stuff at the crack of dawn. Normally hump day is a struggle, are we right folks?!?! But the race finishing around the ultra-picturesque setting of Stirling meant that crossing into the second half of the week would be a little nicer.
I: CLEARING THE AIR
First things first. A round hadn’t even been ordered at the Port Admiral before the decision was made. In fact, the decision could have been made in the middle of the Rapha Classic Ride, we’re not quite sure. When you get dropped, or follow wrong directions, the mind and your emotions can do weird and wonderful things. As the sun set, a succinct yet warm, open armed embrace of an email was sent through to the powers at Rapha, notifying them of our formal split. Nope it wasn’t a case of the distracted boyfriend meme, more a realisation that there was a huge incompatibility between us at SBC HQ, and Rapha HQ. A stalemate, a 1-1 draw. Our equalising goal? Riche tipping us off about the wrong directions that were provided, arriving at the mobile clubhouse first, drinking all the coffee and legging it back to the clubhouse.
We’ve worked on plenty of cycling and non-cycling related content time and time before, and for a few of us (in a much more serious way) do this kind of gig as our real life day job. Plans were to continue throughout the week with various activities in and around the Rapha Clubhouse, and put this weeks worth of content together with them blowing a tailwind in our sails. Instead, with the feeling of Dufresne as he emerges from the sewer pipe in Shawshank Redemption, into the freeing and cleansing rains, we opted to become our good ol’ fashioned selves: hired guns. That being said you guys make some damn nice jackets and shoes though.
II: THE REGULARS
If that sad news has totally bummed you out like it had us come Wednesday morning, you’ll be stoked to know that after missing his flight the night before, Mr “I’m 10 minutes away from the airport as the boarding call is announced” himself had finally arrived in Adelaide. That’s right, Jonensy Snow, Dean Jones, the Patron Saint of the Sartorial Cyclist. We’d only been seated for a minute or two before his arrival hoisted us straight out of our seats and into his arms, welcoming his arrival with tears in our eyes. Just look at him.
Yet that wasn't all, Ronaldo had ventured down from his accomodation in Aldgate, having finally arrived in town the previous night. All week we had been longing for some kind of father figure, surely there would be nobody better to fill that gap than a real life father of two.
PLAN OF ACTION
Still emotional from the events of the previous night, none of us were able to rise from bed any earlier than 8am. Another serve of hand cut oats for some, breakfast down the street for others. Late Tuesday evening Facebook messages circulated between crew-wide group chats of bike gangs from both Adelaide and Melbourne. Somewhat haphazardly a crew ride had been organised. Well, at least the concept of a crew ride. The route was yet to be determined, and the number of people that would show up was yet to be determined. All we knew was that we would finally venture into the hills proper, taking in some ultra-scenic roads and some of the action from the days stage.
Distance: 217km (Adrian)
Vertical Gain: +1927m (Adrian)
Rounds of Beers: 18
Most Frequented Pub: The Exeter
Rounds of Caffé Lattes: 9
TDU Fedoras: 0
KOM Bucket Hats: 4
Highest Temperature: 40ºC
Handball Record: 0-2-0
1-3/12-18 Vardon Ave, Adelaide CBD
✓ THE HIGHLIGHT
Non-bike stuff in the middle of a week jam packed with almost nothing but bike stuff. How utterly refreshing it was to be doing stuff with a big group of friends while we were all off two-wheels.
✕ THE LOWLIGHT
Day One of the heatwave. Oh so unrelenting. Hell, even if you are out on the coast, the South Australian heat doesn't let up with a cool coastal chill like it does in Melbourne, or anywhere else in the world.
"QUOTE(s) OF THE DAY"
"Ughhhhhhh...ah Ado you might as well leave me for dead right now." Ron immediately before he went into Last Stand mode.
"105? My heart rate is at 180 right now." It might have been the chilled bunch but screams were still being heard up Norton Summit.
"Jesse, we have to cook" Bidons were almost filled with actual fuel before being filled with rocket fuel (Red Powerade).
"I played the other week, we got mad drunk." For the fifth or sixth time, Mortimer tried to downplay his knowledge of Lawn Bowls before totally schooling us.
NOT QUITE BROADSHEET
Crew by crew we assembled at Exchange on Vardon Ave, which by way of avenues is a measly one. Empty glasses of iced caffé lattes with or without milk were spread across the outdoor tables, while a small number of breakfast menu items were ordered. House made crumpets and berries, time spent waiting for Lugo and Matty J to arrive meant that they crumpets could be hand milled, and berries whipped. With some whole grains pumping through the veins, and a fresh tin of Wilsons being purchased the previous afternoon, we got to commencing the official 2018 edition of Handball with the Stars. The only difference this time would be that there would be no pro’s, we didn’t have the time to properly slide into DM’s like last year. Instead we would be taking on stars of the local cycling scene. Kip took on Adrian for round 1, but nobody was keeping score. Hell the game didn’t even come with a defined set of boundaries.
The housemade crumpets are so damn good they deserved to have the exact same photo taken of them multiple times. We give 'em 5 "Yahh's" out of 5 "Yeet's".
III: FFA UP NORTON
The temperature all week had been progressively creeping up on us more and more, with Wednesday being the first day of a forecasted heatwave that would last through til the weekend. Things on the crew ride got off to a relatively chilled out start as we weaved through the backstreets towards Norton Summit, but once we hit the base of the climb, everyone got their knives and pistols out and went for it.
Some sat up and chilled at the back, happy to take in the shade offered in the first half of the climb. Some struggled at the back, weary bodies from travelling across the Western Plains of Victoria, or poor cycling form hitting some where it hurt once things ventured uphill. Up the front attacks were coming left and right until things started to get a bit flash-bang level hazy. A little further back Ron jumped into last stand, only to be revived and autopilot his way to the top with Adrian, Lugo rocking full casual, Avi and Javen. The top of Norton was a picture of pure regret, as our friends who had decided to race to the top had fallen apart around the drinking fountain and jolly statue behind the Norton Summit shop.
When isn't Jonesy looking fresh?
IV: AROUND THE BACK
From the top of Norton it would be a much more chilled affair, as we took in a series of southbound roads following ridges towards Stirling. First it was Woods Hill, then down onto Piccadilly Road, one of the more European looking roads of the Adelaide Hills with orchards, vineyards and livestock scattered all over the place.
The only downside was a puncture to Mike on the way up towards Stirling, but it offered everyone a good chance to catch their breath and rehydrate in the shade before dropping down into Stirling, which by late morning was a hub of activity.
Hello, welcome to this community announcement. Throughout these here Tour DU stories, we have been featuring some of the works of our good friend, and Soup Bæs team mate Mr. Kip B. Jordan. Not only is he a super handsome man, who rocks the superior combination of Birkenstocks and socks* he shoots some straight fire through the lens via his Fuji camera. While we’ve done our best to acknowledge his contribution to supplying vibes on a daily basis (beyond TDU), and for top secret access to his pure, unedited and completely uncut content archive not only irl but url, just incase you’ve ended up lost in the magical, probably spelling error riddled copy, one more time, we demand that you head to his Instagram to take in more of his talents. We will be setting up a patreon on his behalf which we will not notify him of until we are safely within the borders of the Cayman Islands. Thank you.
*This combination is still up for very serious debate, but for now we will concede in the name of being nice to the man of the moment.
We’ve written extensively about how amazing the stage in and around Stirling is here and here. Admittedly this opinion could be based on the fact that our first ever Tour Down Under experience came during the stage finish into Stirling. Excuse us while we get misty eyed. Today we would be catching it briefly from a different stand point to previous years. But first things first, lunch.
Stirling Cellars & Patisserie
U1/5 Johnston St, Stirling
It's a bottle shop, so its open mad late, rare as hell in this parts of the country.
They have plenty of Solo: The Thirst Crusher, ready and waiting for you in the fridge.
They serve up a proper decent caffé latte. Iced or not pair it with one of their pastries from a wide collection. They vary from French and Italian flavs.
The bottleshop side of things has heaps of vino, specifically proper Italian varietals, plenty of local stuff, and a grand selection of craft beers.
It's so pleasantly cool inside that you'll procrastinate leaving. Not too constructive if you're in Stirling to watch a particular bike race, or if you have someone you need to be riding home to.
The choices in the bottle shop are so overwhelmingly good that you’ll grow giddy.
Eventually they will run out of ice cold bottles of Solo: The Thirst Crusher. You will have to wait for a restock.
Stirling Cellars & Patisserie, hidden away in a carpark just a stones throw from the main road through town, a favourite post stage chill spot for the SBC. This time around however we had done the hard yards beforehand, so while we waited for the race to enter the first of a handful of loops around Stirling and Aldgate, we indulged in baked goods and freshly poured, ice cold Solo: The Thirst Crusher.
It just so happened that this particular location, loved far and wide among the Soup Fraternity was one of Adrian’s customers, though the connection comes predominantly through the beer, wine & spirits side of things. With the heat of the day, dehydration having well and truly arrived, the option of something alcoholic was passed up for the crisp lemony notes of Schweppes Solo, the ultimate summer drink. Two glasses were handed over, Kip and Adrian choosing to down it straight, off the rocks. Refreshed, as were all the others, we were ready to venture back out into the sun, the race only a few kilometres from entering the finishing Stirling Loop.
✓ Meat in the pie
✓ Onion, also in the pie
✓ Pepper – spices
✓ Tomato Sauce – vegetable, or fruit
✓ Calippo – more fruit, also Ice
✓ Solo: The Thirst Crusher – water
VI: THE KOALA WHO KNEW IT COULD
How about some racing then hey? Even though we had just scoffed down a couple of pies, cakes, and a few bottles of Solo: The Thirst Crusher, we positioned ourselves right next to the feed zone of the race, 50 odd metres uphill from what would be the finish line for todays stage. We timed it perfectly, crossing over and sneaking into a slight VIP area as we watched the race go by, collecting KOM bucket hats, but unfortunately no pro team bidons or musettes in the process. Once the hustle of the race passed through, a very cranky security guard looked to usher us away. She didn’t have a broom so fortunately we were able to get away unscathed, but that didn’t stop us from accidentally rolling through some highly off limits areas on our way further down the hill.
300m FROM THE FINISH
Producing and curating content, especially cycling content, and ESPECIALLY cycling content in Adelaide, during the Australian summer comes with its own set of threats/dangers. First and foremost, the sun is an ever present predator amongst us. To counter its watchful eye, rock some bucket hat swag and find yourself a nice shady location. If possible, climb on top of fences, up trees, balance on shoulders. This will give you a premium vantage point over your other rivals. Listen for the race as it approaches, measuring the light through your smart phone, point and shoot digital camera, film camera or SLR.
Once the preferred settings have been set, take a test shot to make sure everything is molto bene. Then as the race comes by, take the same photo a bunch of times, spotting Manuele Boaro and the worlds fastest Koala leading the charge as the rest of the race chased down the solo breakaway.
VII: AVOIDING PREDICTABLE MAYHEM
A few years ago, among the post stage carnage that is descending back into town, BMC’s Campbell Flakemore was involved in a collision with a spectator who was reportedly “trying his best to keep up with the pro’s”. The collision was a big one, and you could say played a big role in him choosing to cut his pro cycling career short. Wanting to avoid any possible mayhem on a descent that was already super fast, and somewhat sketch, we packed our bidons with rocket fuel and boosted out of town as the race was about to hit the final lap of the Stirling-Aldgate circuit.
In conclusion, on the way down we passed two riders who had come down in separate incidents, both being attended to by paramedics. The major one was on “Collarbone Corner” a curve with a notorious crack right on the ideal line. When the rest of the crew got back to the Break Free, they too confirmed another fall at a different corner on the Old Highway. Take care out there, and look out for your fellow bicyclist.
Given we had actually been out on the road, not doing “bulk kays” but at least semi “considerable kays” things in the Break Free kitchen were edging closer and closer towards widespread cannibalism. Jonesy hadn’t even had a beer yet his tongue was blistered with hot takes. Eventually, after a few long and deep breaths we mustered the courage to head out the door for the evening. Goodbye air-conditioning, for now.
Open every day except Christmas day.
Also found in:
Nordburger – Adelaide’s answer to…well we assume Huxta. We’re not entirely sure who has been around longer, or whether Nord has the same kind of weird reputation with undeservedly popping up on every single “Best Burger In Town” listicle as Huxtaburger does, but the South Australia equivalent stands miles above the other when it comes to branding, even post Huxta-rebrand. Subjectively. Another thing they have over the Collingwood “Mecca” is the fact that they serve frozen custard, something of a South Australian quirk and specialty. Given that we weren't entirely sure what to expect of our evenings catering situation, Slade, Mortimer and Adrian picked up some burgers on the roll across to the East Parklands.
As it turns out, stopping at Nordburger would be the right decision – there wasn’t much in the way of catering at this evenings venue, unless you were mad into pickled onions (we’re not talking Lampascioni here…at all) and crackers. The burgers, simple but fantastic. They held together far better than your stock standard Grill’d or similar. The chips? Despite the ride across the city, they remained hot, however the still 40ºC temperatures at 7pm could have offered quite the helping hand. All of this was washed down with drinks chosen from a menu that didn’t offer the best drink of all (Solo: The Thirst Crusher for those of you playing at home) but at least a menu inspired by the northern hemisphere. A&W Root Beers were chosen all round.
There was a noted desire for some kind of chilled physical activity, one that would let us drink beers, stretch legs and toes, wear no shoes, and hang out with bulk friends in a social, yet rather low-key venue.
Adelaide Bowling Club. Located on the eastern fringe of the CBD, it was lawn bowling in a Caribbean tax haven made just for us. A booking for 16 wasn’t enough once everyone had arrived, and it wasn’t until everyone arrived that we discovered how little any of us knew about the game. Sport? Fortunately we had Mortimer with us, who had “played it the other week and just gotten mad drunk” yet somehow knew every rule, technique and strategy under the sun. We were grateful, as even with his sage advice, most of us were still hucking it deep into the sandy gutters, John Daly style.
BEER OF THE DAY
West End Draught aka. Wendy’s aka. Westy’s aka. Red Tins aka. Torrens Water aka. Adelaide’s Only Local Beer That Comes In A 30 Tin Brick, and is probably Adelaide’s second most iconic beer. It is known for it’s undeniable price point and it’s strong backing of the South Australian Big Bash hot shots the Adelaide Strikers. We could run you through the palette of the beer but there’s really not much point, because we don’t think anyone that drinks this beer really cares. What’s more important is how cold it is. The most ideal way to consume a Wendy is slightly below freezing temperature so that when you pull the tin out of the freezer it's at perfect Wendy’s Slushie consistency. Now if you dipped your tastebuds into the Rapha Fanta slushies at the pop-up and were impressed, then prepare to have your mind completely blown. Margaritas and Frozen Daiquiris, stand aside. This is hands down the greatest frozen beverage that will ever grace the surface of your tongue. What we will say for Torrens Water is that it is not as enjoyable when consumed from either the tap or from a bottle, and anyone that tells you otherwise has spent a little bit too much time in Davo Park and can’t be trusted.
From anyone with half a brain it would have to be 5 Adelaide Ovals out of 5 Adelaide Ovals.
If there are any boomers out there reading this, boomers who are much more versed in the technical aspects of bowling on a lawn, feel free to get in contact with advice and/or critique of our form. Forgive us in advance.
The DJ wrapped up the night, and we were the last ones left on the green, bar the handful of possums crawling around the perimeter fences. A roll back into the city ironed out any ailments our joints had suffered during the nights activities. Our pro cycling careers might be floundering, and our pro-cycling Instagram takeover-ing careers are in tatters, but maybe just maybe we might be a shot at repping a small sovereign state at the Commonwealth Games in April. Norfolk Islands @ us.