TOUR DOWN UNDER '16: A HAPHAZARD & HUMID DAY 3
A day slightly sent into disarray, partly thanks to the weather not being, or at least not seeming as hot as it should have been. In conditions that can only be expected when directly on the equator and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity we got rained on, even if it was just lightly. New bikes got built in backyards (to be revealed to the world soon) and another climb was attempted for the first time by the guys from Melbourne. A good day yes, but still one that required running the Hindley St gauntlet to grab a bottle of Bundaberg Peachee before heading back to the hotel. Naturally.
I: (NOT SO SECRET) PLANZ
We were starting to get much better at this "cycling holiday" thing after a couple of days worth of trying. Sure we were still dehydrated, malnourished, lacking sleep and generally sore, but things were gradually looking on the up. Looking at the forecast the night before we assumed that it would be too hot to ride anywhere further than "to a café" even though some (brands) were insistent on tormenting folk with a century and a half worth of kilometres (why?) The only thing we really had planned was to make the start in Prospect, always a highlight for some of us Soup Boys. Most slept in, but fortunately Jack and Finn were on the case, the former quickly establishing a hardline authority when Finn was spotted at Cafe (John) Cena. We relocated to a much more reputable establishment and devised the plan for the day:
- Jack would finish his new bike build, but having cut cables too short earlier this morning he needed to head to a shoppe to grab new ones. The bike would debut the next day.
- We would possibly ride. We weren't very sure where and when, but it would be to somewhere. That quickly turned into riding back to the hotel, until we re-ran into Finn and had a trackstanding-in-the-middle-of-traffic conference to decide what to do. More on that in a little bit.
- Visit a supermarket. This was the only box that needed ticking off on the way to improving our cycling holiday capabilities.
- Semaphore Pier, which was then put to the backburner following shark sightings. We should have told everyone that we have Mick Fanning on speed dial, everything would have been fine.
- H-van iced coffee. It had been giving us life all week, and we expected us to do the same this afternoon.
III: BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
After Finn's little indiscretion we left Café Cena and head into Prospect town hall, conveniently located directly across the street for an assortment of fruit, pastries, salmon and tarts, all provided for us by Jack's dad, who just so happens to be the mayor in that part of Adelaide. We ate and drank to our hearts content before moving on elsewhere, unfortunately a rare picture of the Mayor of Prospect and the Mayor of Ascot Vale (Adrian) couldn't be arranged as one was on a cycling holiday, and the other still had a job to do. Maybe for next time.
Our second stop off on the breakfast trail to greatness was Cafe Komodo, hidden in a back alley and up a gravel car park. The food at Prospect town hall had satisfied the hunger for the morning, so in the company of countless vinyl chairs and laminate tables we drank caffé lattes and affogatto's in mismatched and mis-purposed glasses. If anything go there for the decor and the soundtrack, we've been told the food is pretty stellar too.
IV: TOURRIFIC PROSPECT
There are so many things we find appealing about the professional bicycle race pre-stage setting. It's the navigation of interviews in languages foreign to our own, its cutting up kit in the name of aero, and bandages after crashing in the name of aero. It's team bus chilling, with the closing set of Earthcore playing loudly in our ears as a means to pump us up for punishment soon to be dished out. Its Powerade by the kegful, its having "swannies" and DS's all in matching uniforms and Toyota Hiace's with decals on them. It's sharing signs obviously meant for an absent Michal Kwiatkowski even though the only evidence of their existence is hella pixelated. Adrian's gotta call Steve and tell him to up the megapixels for us.
V: CHURCH OF THE DAY
As promised yesterday we were going to make up for missing the first installment of Church of the Day by bringing you not one, but TWO CHURCHES. And we're glad to say we have delivered on that promise with places of religious worship uncovered this morning and this afternoon in two completely different parts of town.
This morning a brief prayer service was held just around the corner from Alex's house at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Anthony. There were several things we did expect: the fact that the building is white, that the posters out the front advertising service times and the plaque commemorating the laying of the first foundational stone (which was laid by our very own Soup Boy, Zeke) are in Greek and then in English, and finally the artwork above the main entrance. What we didn't expect was things that were lacking, things that are quintessentially Greek. columns and olive trees of course. Nowhere to be seen. We're now not even sure if this is a Greek church, maybe its...Cypriot...
Our second church contains spoilers to the rest of the day, so feel free to ignore this paragraph to scroll down, then back up. Following our ascension of Norton Summit in the stifling humidity, we felt it necessary to hold an afternoon prayer service and beg for forgiveness for words said on the way up. The site was St John's Anglican Church at Norton Summit. Services signed are a sole 9.30am Sunday mass, but should you feel the need to recite fifty Hail Mary's in the Lord's house upon arriving at the summit, knocking on the door to the tune of 2013 hit song "I Am A God" by Kanye West will summon the priest in residence.
VI: GETTING SWEATY AND NORTY
If you've skipped the second church, welcome. If you continued to read through, well now you basically know how our afternoon panned out.
The decision to ride up Norton Summit was made whilst Dean, Adrian and Finn trackstood amongst fellow stationary traffic in Prospect. With the thought of kicking back at the Rapha pop up, iced coffee in hand looking mighty appealing, it took the convincing words of Finn who said "oh thinking i might do Norton" to convince the others, and so began the tailwind, pastry fueled journey up Magill Rd.
A new climb for Dean and Adrian who had only descended it the previous year, Finn told tales of side streets hitting 24%, and guys everesting that shit. Stories of sub 15 minute bunch rides up to the top, and took a moment to remind us that the day previous there was a public time trial held on closed roads. One that even included prize money. Whilst we didn't hit any "holy mother of god" % side streets, nor challenge the sub 15 minute mark, we did work up a sweat in what can only be described as sub-tropical conditions. Sure Adelaide is nowhere near the equator, but its further north than Melbourne so that counts for something. After collecting our thoughts and repenting for our sins at the top, we split, with Finn headed for more hills on the way home, Dean and Adrian descended Norton with iced coffee's on the mind.
VII: GOOD, BAD & UGLY
- Jack's father. What a gentleman allowing us cute, yet visibly delinquent teen bicyclists into his own town hall to feast on a complimentary breakfast. He breaks the monopoly Gene & Johan held on the Good column.
- We finally got to a supermarket. But we can only half say this. Whilst we did actually walk into one, we didn't make a purchase as we expected to find ourselves in one much later in the afternoon. Come 9:05pm and we realised we had missed our chance for another day. We hope our mothers aren't reading this because they would be furious at our tardiness.
- Norton Summit. If it's considered Adelaide's equivalent to the 1/20 it just might be better. There is the whole "hometown vibe" thing going on for us from Melbourne, and the same thing in equal amounts from the Adelaide guys, so for now its a stalemate. See if Montacute was considered Adelaide's answer to the 1/20 then they would win hands down, everyone the world over would. But that's not the case.
- Tailwinds. Making getting to the base of climbs easier since the invention of wind, and we guess air.
- The Pacchetti from the little Italian cuisine pop up within the Rapha pop up. The sauce is rich, and was seasoned so well it gave Adrian visions of grandeur, and threw him back to childhood at his Nonna's house. Go try it!
- Finally for the day, another food related tick in the "good" column. Surely now there is enough proof that we are slowly getting a hang of this cycling holiday thing. It goes out to Veggo Sizzle for their meat free feast, both sweet and savoury. It hit the spot after an arduous evening of watching other people race bikes from the comfort of the lawn.
- Road works, forcing some to just miss the start of the stage rolling out. We have a few more chances, let's hope we take them.
- A cafe called Cena, but not paying homage to the wrestler who has so generously allowed his name to be used. You'll have to ask Finn how the coffee compares between cafés Cena and Komodo, but to give you an indicator, Jack walked towards the rest of us shaking his head that we were even standing outside. Yikes.
- Norton Summit. Not really for the climb, as in the gradient itself but most definitely for its patchy surface. It makes #cornerlikecaseystoner on the way down just slightly too rattly in some parts.
- Punctures. After splitting from the top, Finn suffered a rear puncture on his way home via more hills. Never fun.
- In a crazy turn of events, it was the feeling in our hearts as we rolled into the Rapha pop-up to see Johan and Gene about to roll out on a ride, with a closed H-van behind them that tops our "ugly" list for the day. We're truly sorry, we never imagined it could or would happen. But no doubt by tomorrow all will be forgiven and forgotten. Fortunately for us, the Pacchetti mentioned in the good column made up for it.
- The way your entire body feels after climbing for a whole bit in mad humidity. Showers were immediate upon return to the hotel.
- The apple store. Adrian is having nightmares every single time we pass through Rundle Mall.
- Adelaide's tram stops. Potentially biased as the point was raised by someone from Melbourne, home to the largest tram network in the world (we hope we're right on that one). But whats the deal? They're almost on the cusp of being a bad excuse for a median strip/traffic island combo.
- Just the plain idea of a suburban street being 24% in gradient. Sure there's some of those in Melbourne, and there's probably some that come close in Albury/Wodonga, hell we've even ridden some of them, but when you think about it. W H Y ?!
VIII: BONUS PRODUCT REVIEW
Finding an open supermarket and browsing the important cereal options is the perfect segue to this secret bonus section in which we got Adrian to review the Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey: Columbian Edition from a few collections ago on a climb up Norton Summit.
*whilst this product was in fact purchased and not sent to us, do feel free to mail us any product for intense testing and reviewing*
IX: SANTOS WOMEN'S TOUR FINALE
FINAL STANDINGS: TOP 3
1. Kimberley Wells (High5 Dream Team)
2. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5)
3. Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS)
1. To all the women in the breakaways. We saw solo after solo attack, which towards the end turned into a four rider break which shook things up a little.
2. The crowd for turning out in masses. Having witnessed unwavering support for the women's races at the Shimano Supercrit and the Bay Crits in the last few weeks, we know their racing doesn't go unnoticed by the public, but the energy of the crowd is amazing.
3. Almost all of the bikes, and all of the kits worn by the teams. One of these days we are going to have to do some super in-depth analysis of which one is the best. Perhaps something for our Patron Saint of the Sartorial Cyclist to take care of.
The Santos Women's Tour came to a close in the evening with Stage 4 being held on a half built Clipsal circuit (as in the v8 Supercars). It could be argued that it will be the less unsavoury of the two events, as much as we love our motorsports. A big crowd turned out to see the elite women hammer around a course that seems a hell of a lot longer until you actually ride it in a relatively quick time, remembering that you are not a professional bicycle racer.
The good thing about #cornerlike being named after Casey Stoner is that it is completely unisex. You could ask the members of the SBC if they knew more male or female Casey's and chances are it would probably be the latter. Anyway, despite not sending a memo out on account of a mix up with time difference (our email server is set to Central Melbourne Time not Central Adelaide Time) there was a real show of Pythagorean style, particularly at the northern end, also the most tightly cornered end of the circuit which followed a series of small Assen type chicanes before the finish line arrived. Whilst we didn't provide an award for the winner, we did want to give a special commendation to those women that were in the break towards the end of the race, as through the search for valuable milliseconds they truly began testing out the durability and grip of their tyres sidewalls.
For those of you that were wondering Kimberley Wells took out the finale in a fantastic sprint finish that had the crowd cheering from the stands the moment the main bunch hit the final few Assen chicanes. Annette Edmondson was right behind to take second, and Katrin Garfoot finished third, and took the overall tour victory for Orica-AIS. Post race it was spoken of that the plan is for the Santos Women's Tour to slowly but continuously gain momentum to become a showpiece event in the global women's calendar, and based off this evening and reports from the other stages, there's certainly no reason that can't be the case.