TOUR DOWN UNDER '16: A RETROSPECTIVE
The final day in Adelaide for the tour, a day we always know is coming we just never want it to arrive. Yesterdays adventure had taken its toll, but we made sure we hit the town for one last day of fun and hanging with friends before a few of us had to fly home.
I: (NOT SO SECRET) PLANZ
Everything important would be happening in and around the CBD for the day. For once there were no transfers required, no climbing unless we really wanted to, and the opportunity for a sleep in with the final stage, a criterium in the middle of town not starting till 1pm. We met at Ebenezer Plaß where Lewis was helping set up his bike for a little show and shine. Jake from Treadly gave us a breakfast recommendation, and it was from there that we slowly devised our plan for the day.
- Meet up with Alex in town.
- Shoot Lewis' new bicycle which was on show at #makercycling (more on that later).
- Continually graze on varying types of food throughout the day, at a number of different locations. We were still trying to replace what was burnt off the day before.
- Catch a small glimpse of the final stage in the CBD.
- Head out towards Semaphore for fish and chips by the beach.
III: THE LAST BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
That recommendation by Jake was Bambi's Kitchen, just around the corner from the store which he works, and next door to our first dinner in Adelaide. Big breakfasts were ordered as we were still feeling the full effects of the previous days riding, almost falling asleep in our chairs between mouthfuls. Alex eventually joined us as we ate, and we had a chat to the Sydney crew on the way back to Ebenezer Plaß.
IV: THE DIGS
Packing up our hotel room for the week was something of a task. Partially on account of waking up 10 minutes before check out time with everything spread all over the place. It served us well for the 7 nights and 8 days in which we stayed, despite us not spending much time there at all. Upon our arrival ABC Jazz (Audio Only) was playing, we assume as a "Welcome to this slightly overpriced 3 star hotel" message, and for the length of our stay it wasn't switched off once. The soothing sounds of jazz sent us to sleep each night, and helped us pleasantly wake up every morning. The desk was covered in San Pellegrino, Peachee and beetroot juice surrounded our cameras, laptops and phone chargers in what was the perfect summary of our week of race reportagé. Final showers were had in a shower that lacked any sort of serious pressure, and bags left down stairs as we bid farewell to the digs, our temporary Soup Boys HQ in Adelaide.
A showcase of Australian cycling brands took place in a small market environment in a closed off Ebenezer Plaß. As always Hey Jupiter was pumping, as were the good vibes at the event hosted by Treadly, who held a swap meet on the same day last year. Our focus was squarely on big breakfasts, a second big breakfast at Exchange, a third at Hey Jupiter, and Lewis' bike which was on show as part of his frame builders stall. The following brands were displaying their wares for a crowd that at times got super hard to navigate.
VI: MAC BE SAFE, MAC BE SEEN
Named after the giant fluro yellow inflatable bicycle that stood so proudly at Le Tour Village until its unfortunate deflation, the final stage of the Tour Down Under is a criterium that takes in King William St in the CBD, both up and down its smallish hill, and takes a lap of the now disfigured Adelaide Oval before finishing with an uphill sprint.
Whilst it is a 20 lap race, we didn't arrive until 3 laps to go, with a small break doing everything they could to keep ahead of the main bunch, including some hectic #cornerlikecaseystoner action that made us especially proud as they were gliding over tram track simultaneously. The vibe from the crowd was fantastic, with those fantastic orange Santos fedoras out in droves. The break wouldn't stick, being swallowed up with just over a lap left. To give you a clue of who won the uphill sprint to the finish, he's Australian and seems to be winning every single crit in the country, even those held in obscure country towns. Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) took the stage, his senior partner in crime Simon Gerrans taking the overall by a handful of seconds. And it was as the post race interviews took place, course barriers began being disassembled, and crowds began dispersing that we came to the realisation that the Tour Down Under was ending, and that soon for some of us it would be home to Melbourne time. This, combined with our go-to convenience store being fresh out of Peachee resulted in a breakdown of epic proportions. Tears were certainly shed.
VII: THINGS WE'VE LEARNED
- Race Reportagé in its most raw, unadultered form is hard work. We praise the lord Tom Boonen every single day that we don't have to answer to a photo editor, or worse yet any editor. Fortunately we are made up of a number of people who are experts in talking shit, taking photos and going on adventures, so it made things a little easier for us.
- Bicycle riding is the best thing in the world. You can have ups and downs in non-bike life and yes-bike life, but one week or one day where you have an absolute ball of a time on two wheels makes you forget all that.
- Adelaide really like calling their streets Terraces. We are not quite sure of why, it could possibly be listed on Adelaide's wikipedia page but we aren't bothered to check. It did however arouse the curiosity that is for sure.
- 8 Days isn't enough. Last week it was 6 and we thought the same thing. There were not just roads that we missed out on riding up or along, but numerous other important venues, menus and caffé lattes which we wanted to have a go at. Maybe in another life (next year).
- There are a lot of man holes in Adelaide. Our local guys probably already knew that, the Melbourne guys already knew that, but no doubt forgot. For every near miss you have on a wet tram track in Melbourne, there are fifty near misses on a dry man hole. Yes we know how that sounds.
- Maybe it's time for some people to move to Adelaide. The hills are 10km from the city. 10km.
- Professional bicycle racers are amazing specimens, even more so when caught in the wild dressed in casual.
- The beaches in Adelaide certainly rival the bay beaches of Melbourne. We didn't see a cesspool as grand as St Kilda beach once during our day 2 adventures.
- Even when completely exhausted from a long day of riding to the point of hardly keeping his eyes open, European women will breathe new life into Adrian.
- The Soup Boys are stronger and better than ever. We are all a few kilograms lighter, a few shades of brown darker all thanks to the sun and bicycles. There will be tales of dropping each other on climbs and descents and near misses that will provide us with the perfect ammunition against each other.
VIII: CHURCH OF THE DAY
We've been trying our best all week to show that Adelaide truly is the "City of Churches" and we wrap it up with the final spot. Located in the north western suburbs of Adelaide, and spotted on the drive to the airport, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church is attached to a primary school of the same name. How do we know this? Lewis was a pupil there, and informed us of this fact as we drove past listening to Frank Ocean.
- Thanks to the friends we made, reunited or rode with during the entire week. Whether from Melbourne, Adelaide or Sydney, friends made the week.
- To anybody who offered breakfast, caffé latte, lunch and dinner recommendations. The true Champions of Breakfast are all of you.
- Gene & Johan for the countless iced coffees, we all adore you.
- The mayor of Prospect for allowing such a powerful meeting to take place with the Mayor of Ascot Vale.
- Jonesy, because he's Jonesy.
- Lewis for the lender bikes, Jack for mechanical assistance.
- Professional cyclists. Believe it or not, stuff like this couldn't happen with out you.
- All our loyal readers & fans. Thanks for the feedback over the course of the week, it has been overwhelming. We will be arranging a meet and greet with autograph session soon, just as we find a venue big enough.