TOUR DOWN UNDER '16: VICTOR CAN HAVE HIS HARBOUR
Stage four took the riders from the start in Norwood (convenient) to Victor Harbour way down on the south coast (anything but convenient). With the "pilgrimage" to Willunga the following day, the opportunity was taken to chill out in town instead. Some took it a little more literally than others with several burgers consumed within a few hours, trying their best to justify it by the work they would put in on the bike tomorrow.
I: (NOT SO SECRET) PLANZ
When considering that the race was basically headed somewhere near Warrnambool, the potential for the day was left wide open. Add to this the fact that it had rained a bit overnight, and more rain was due around midday and things were approached a little tentatively, but options available included:
• Go get guest pass from Jack who managed to score one during the pre race gathering at Prospect.
• Use said guest pass to get into the start of the stage as the riders #chill and #psych themselves up for the day ahead.
• Head up Norton Summit, pick a great corner and snap the riders as they make their way up.
• Go and visit Felix for semi-breakfast at the Rapha Pop-up
• Ride in the afternoon. Somewhere, maybe Lobethal, who knows. There were too many roads being tossed about as possibilities.
• Eat burgers at some stage, with the likelihood of multiple burgers being eaten as the day wore on.
• Visit Le Tour village.
• Collectively decide which pilgrimage to Willunga we would be going on.
III: BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
Finally the #breakfastgamestrong game was beginning to get stronger and stronger with each day we spent in Adelaide. As should only be typical of such finely tuned athletes, breakfast was in 2 chapters at different locations. The first was the Rapha Pop-up, where Felix delivered on his promise of a "buttery slut" of a croissant (or two) whilst Gene and Johan were happy to oblige with iced coffee's. They obviously read about our heartbreak the other day, bless.
The second breakfast stop slowly blended into lunch, and included another round of iced coffee's, with dietary requirements the only differing factor. These were paired up with a noodle bowl, corn fritters with eggs and a killer soundtrack of soulful hip hop. The location was good, the vibe was good, the food left us wanting more and being inside meant we weren't outside which was (at the time) being utterly bucketed upon by the rain demi-gods. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday at Monday's.
As previously mentioned the stage was rolling out from the leafy? (well at least the main street is) suburb of Norwood and heading due south to Victor Harbour. This meant that we would be catching the start at Norwood as if we are going to drive that far, it might as well be home to Melbourne. That meant that today, from a professional bicycle racing perspective was more about goodbye's than anything else. Norton Summit had been canned from our list of plans about half way along riding to the start, so the hour or so before the starters gun going off would be all the action we would catch for the day, minus what you count on the big screen.
As for the guest pass, well that didn't work either. It got us nowhere. Despite this we still promise to give it a shot on the final day of racing to fulfill our dream of providing you with some next level content. That being said we may need a plan B so anyone with the special powers &/or hook up, please holla. Instead of joining the riders in their pre-race, Toyota Hiace chilling, we walked the start line, and what you would probably call the paddock area before race start at 11.30am Central Adelaide Time. Autographs were signed, awesome for the kids and the mad screaming ladies (who can blame them, some of these riders are H O T). Compression socks and Birkenstocks were seen being worn by a rider who's identity will remain a secret on account of us respecting his privacy and not having him blow up for such a fire fashion choice. Bike's were finely tuned, and riders exited the paddock area to hit up Cibo, because you know that the most important thing you need before a stage is a cup of International Roast in a red paper cup. Before too long they were off, not that any photos were taken of the actual departure, priority went to accepting cans of lemonade from promotional girls via the feedzone style heading back down The Parade towards the city.
*One is not like the other. Pro Bicycle Rider Koen de Kort vs. dude who saw Warren Tredrea do a pre-season in one once.*
V: DYNAMISM OF A DOG ON A LEASH
So far this week there had been a significant lack of skid vibes, despite the fact that Troy was in town until Wednesday. To make up for a near unforgivable indiscretion, following our departure from Monday's Alex proceeded to rip a mad skid on the freshly drenched Gawler Plaß. Sure it wasn't on a track bike, but we made do with what we had, testing the durability of our tyres like it ain't no thing. We just wanted to pay homage to our friends at Skid.cc.
For those of you who may be shaking your head in utter bemusement over the title of this chapter, click here.
VI: GOOD, BAD & UGLY
If Jonesy is the Patron Saint of the Sartorial Cyclist, well then surely Alex must be the Soup Boys own judge, jury & executioner when it comes to Bike Tech (bicycle technology). Well for today's Good, Bad & Ugly we are taking a slightly different approach, as we felt the need to after visiting Le Tour Village. Instead for today this segment is going to be called "Hot or Not" and for a world wide web exclusive, for the very first time will come with accompanying imagery for everything deemed hot. We suppose that this is the warning for anyone under the age of 18 as we throw Alex into the spotlight and delve into some of the hottest bicycle technology available.
LOOK 796 PROTOTYPE TIME TRIAL BICYCLE
The Look time trial bike for the completely obvious reason being that its f**ken hot. There's the aero stem, the aero cover on the crank, the wheels and everything else, but most importantly look at that head tube from front on it's about as thick as a blunt paper. It would look good in any colour way, but ever since seeing Grégory Baugé win the World Champs aboard a Mondrian Look, it's been the dream bike brand ever since. I don't even care that its $20,000.
SMS SANTINI MERCATONE UNO KIT
We undeniably love the kit, there is absolutely no doubting that. What gets it is the price. We just want to channel the inner Marco Pantani vibes without having to remortgage our parents homes, sell a kidney or begin shipping cocaine. That's why the Pantani kit is desired in the first place.
ROTOR UNO HYDRAULIC GROUPSET
As many of us are avid fans of Rotor and their products this one excites us. That hydro everything, hell just the spring on the rear derailleur turns me on like nothing else. There's some really cool tech in there too like how the power metre can configure the optimal position for your Q-Rings in just a few minutes of riding, as opposed to the previous set up time of roughly 10 hours of riding time. It's also great seeing a brand stick with, or even build upon the chunkier hoods on their group sets, other brand are starting to mess with the shape which isn't ideal. It's a shame that because of eTap, an upcoming product like this hasn't had a lot of press time.
SRAM eTAP WIRELESS GROUPSET
Almost entirely for being the chunkiest looking thing on the market. Some people will love it, but it just looks anciently big. Sure it could be said that there was a similar reaction to Di2 when it was first released, but that was then and this is now. Just wait for Shimano to do wireless, Japanese electronics will wipe the floor.
CERVELO S5 MTN QHUBEKA TEAM COLOURS
Them Cervelo's you know. Don't pretend you don't know the ones. Best paint job in the gruppo, why did Team Dimension Data have to go black and white.
TREK MADONE HEADTUBE x NOSE CONE COLLAB
In a time where some companies are doing fully whack things with their front ends, and particularly their brakes, the clean lines of the Trek Madone are pretty sick, even though they are a part of quite a complex set up. They almost put the BMC to work there.
SPACERS ON ALL THE DEMO BIKES
The spacers on all the test bikes hashtag slam that stem. Also disturbing was the fact that there were bikes with stems on them that were less than 130mm long.
GIANT LIV AVOW
The paint job, the cranks and that nose cone. You'd definitely have to get yourself a matching Envie.
ROHAN DENNIS' WORLD HOUR RECORD TR01
Rohan Dennis' world hour bike. I'll never forget that time he did that speech in high school, and I'll never forget the night he broke the world hour record. The only thing stopping it from elevated to god status is the lack of a 60t chain ring on the front. Other than that, perfect specimen.
VII: FUTURE TEAM #GOALS CHECKLIST
Well we were hoping to organise an official press conference to announce it, we just needed the go ahead from Brian Cookson. Anyway to the important news, we are going to be officially launching an attack on the World Tour Peloton, with the very specific aim of being Australia's answer to Orica GreenEDGE. Whilst this grand plan is only in it's infant stages, we spent the afternoon compiling a small checklist of some of the things we may or may not require...
1) HEADPHONES FOR MAD BEATS
It seems quite evident that the one thing the pro's know how to do (damn near best) and one thing that staff and managers seem to approve of is next level aural chilling. We are massive fans of music, as evident through numerous nights at My Aeon or more appropriately through the Morning Playlist segments of these race reports, so it's only natural that we would need to seek the finest listening equipment for post training ride chilling, nights on the ergo, or for that deep house kind of stuff for when we are stuck on the bus driving through the snowed out section of Milan San Remo.
2) SMART SPONSORS
Just imagine this right, you form a UCI World Tour team, everything is going great guns. You're performing well at races, the media is loving you, brands are loving you and you're signing with them, they pumping valuable dollars into your venture. Then the brand sends you some of their goods/wares/whatever the hell it is that they may or may not specialise in, and their product turns out to be terrible. Maybe not in the actually quality but in its practicality. You don't want to make that mistake. Trek (now with added) Segafredo are a great example of the use of "Smart Sponno's". How often are you going to be reaching for the caffé latte whilst training, or in the workshop? The answer is almost every waking minute of every day. They played their cards right, we need to make sure we do too.
3) A BIKE WORK STAND
If possible, colour matched to either the bike, or the brand(s), or even the environment. A stand not only projects the image of professionalism in a post stage workshop type of way, but also means that we can finally put the ladders and metal pole we've been using as a haphazard work stand away.
4) GARDEN HOSE WITH SPECIAL NOZZLE
Perfect for watering the freshly grown tomato plants in the garden, copping a spray in the middle of summer, or hosing down the bicycle after a lengthy day of gravel grinding. The hose and special nozzle would definitely come in handy for when we need to keep our rides looking and running fresh.
5) MATCHY MATCH DECALS
It's our understanding that in order to look as completely, and as casually professional as possible. Everything should be (as described) "matchy match". Sure matching the kit is enough for some, but we aren't the kind of people to do things half halfheartedly. Bikes must match kit, which must also match helmet. Decals on wheels must also match, power metres, bidon cages, cleats, contact lenses the list goes on.
6) A MECHANIC
An integral part of any team of course. We would need a mechanic to take care of our rides before and after a big race, making sure that we are getting the absolute max power down, and assist us in installing a hidden down tube motor if absolutely required. Without a trained professional mechanic, we would just be a group of guys with chain grease on our hands watching YouTube tutorials.
7) CUSTOMISED NAME STICKERS
These of course should be temporary and easy to remove as the plan is to become such household names, stickers will not be necessary. In the mean time we can pair them up with any flag of our choice, and present them in either Helvetica or Bebas Neue. May come in handy if riding home half cut from the post stage pub crawl with your team mates, ensuring you don't jump on a bike 4 sizes too big.
8) A CLIMBING BIKE & AN AERO BIKE
Because we will never know when we will be contesting both numerous HC climbs and a long flat finish that results in abunch sprint in the one race. You also NEED THEM BECAUSE MARKETING. Having both of these bikes sitting atop the team car would ensure that we would have all bases covered for any race parcours scenario, except of course if there was a TT positioned directly in the middle of the race. Then we're only slightly screwed.
9) THE BRO
You know the kind. He wears polo shirts, sometimes rocks double sunglasses atop his head, and can often be seen juggling helmets, bidons, rice cakes, or ordering the more junior team staff around to make sure things run well. He's out doing all the hard yards while we chill on the couch with the headphones we decided to purchase after reading the first thing on this list. He would occasionally be accompanied by a cameo from the chill-baby, bring an overwhelming sense of cool to the team with his sunglasses/bucket hat combo that is total fire.
VIII: CHURCH OF THE DAY
Towering over Le Tour Village, St Francis Xavier Cathedral just might be the biggest in Adelaide the City of Churches. There is another one north of the river which we would like to also check out, but as for measuring its height, width and weight, we are just trying to figure out how to go about that. The foundation stone was laid in 1856, and construction began in 1887 yet didn't finish until 1996...which is almost at the point of still being regarded as "recent". Admire it as it basks in the evening light.