A STAGE YOU SHOULDN'T FORGET NORWOOD YOU WANT TO
Caleb Ewan took a super memorable win that had the local crowds and internet collectively join in a chorus of wild gasps, but it was all the extracurricular activities going down which made Stage 4 such a memorable one in the Soup Boys books.
I: A BRIEF WORD FROM OUR DIRECTEUR SPORTIF
True to Soup Boys form, all plans for the morning were ditched last minute for an impromptu deadlift session at Hindmarsh Goodlife. Unlike North Adelaide, there was no free entry hook-up, but 3 levels of weights rooms with the ground floor solely dedicated to powerlifting ('functional training') made me feel slightly better as I handed over a fresh $20 bill.
Of course, like all big lifting sessions a complete warmup, stretch, and roll are imperative to ensure no muscles are torn whilst working out or participating in post workout foot races. My Deadlift pyramids look quite similar to that of squats (20, 20, 15, 15, 10, 10, 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1, cool down), though my training partner for the day (a much more competent power lifter) utilised a 5x10, 5x5 split. I always make sure to rest for 3-5 minutes between sets, and always add in a few more warmup sets so I don't snap up my shi.
Distance: 374km (Honorary Soup Boy, Cam)
Vertical Gain: +6080m (Cam)
Beers: 39 (Cam)
TDU Fedoras: 0
KOM Bucket Hats: 2
Highest Temperature: 43.6ºc (Adrian's Garmin)
Dropped Chains: 2 (Dean)
Spilled Caffé Lattes: 1 (Dean)
✓ THE HIGHLIGHT
The gift of a second breakfast by getting stuck behind a garbage truck on Payneham Rd. Right, "highlight".
✕ THE LOWLIGHT
Comes in 2 parts. Part one is hungriness, the fault lies with the roads we had been riding – and the quality of life that they bring. Unfortunately food supply is scarce, we traded an extra summiting of Little Italy in replacement of lunch. Maybe not the smartest move. Part 2 is drivers cooking their brakes down descents. Read: we are faster than you. Yield dammit yield. Why do you think we have aero helmets on?
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It's called fucking squash man, it's called goddamn squash.” – arguments reached boiling point at Temporary Soup Boys HQ in regard to the correct naming conventions of our favourite high school sport involving a tennis ball and any number of squares. Its neck and neck on our poll. Shoot us an Instagram message to add to it.
(?) BALL TALLY
PLAN OF ACTION
We slid into Simon Geschke’s Insta DM’s earlier in the week in the hope of an interview and a game of downball (if they ever played that in Germany) and to thank him for providing us with this moment alone. We would catch the start of the stage, watch them roll out and bid farewell, for as much as we wanted to catch the race some more there was absolutely no way we were touching Gorge Rd again, even with a ten foot Silca pump. A recovery hills ride was on the agenda, the route to be determined half at breakfast, half during the ride depending how legs were turning. Another thing determining the length and difficulty of our ride was the fact we had some proper bicycling media responsibilities to take care of at 5.30 that night. Another jam packed day for Australia’s cutest bicycling teens.
NOT QUITE BROADSHEET
Initially breakfast plan (CBD) was well and truly panned when we realised we were running a little late. A short trip to Norwood to catch the start also had us realising that breakfast locally, or somewhat close to The Parade would be a bad idea, unless waiting 45 minutes for a caffé latte in a mug (so cute, yet still so wrong) was considered a good idea. After we featured in the background of a Cycling Tips Facebook livestream, our work was considered done so grand depart we did behind the tow rope of Alex who led us to a café some 4km away, one that didn’t have “many, if any” vegan options, one that charged you $4 for a handful of the most baby cherry tomatoes, but one that did have a hella San Pel bottle on the shelf. So redeemed it was.
III: ON THE GRID
Fortunately minus grid girls, watching professional riders get ready for a few hours worth of bicycling is a truly marvelous sight. There’s a weird (in a good way) vibe around the whole thing what with riders being pretty chilled out to help mentally prepare for the road ahead, mixed with team staff losing their shit over getting bikes, cars, food, and riders ready. Unfortunately Simon Geschke was well in the zone, but the morning wouldn’t be a complete waste. Adopting the scaling system used by many an Internet Bro, we have suitably modified the “10/10 would bang” into “Would ride out of 10”. Our Bicycle Technology Expert Alex provided his thoughts on each of the team bikes in this years Tour Down Under.
ASTANA - ARGON GALLIUM PRO & NITROGEN PRO
Very hot. The colour way is nice, I really like the yellow highlights and choosing not to go full teal was a good choice. The Vision components (handlebars) really top it off. Would ride. 10/10
UAE ABU DHABI - COLNAGO C60
Colnago is back in the world tour peloton and they're officially cool again. The red forks and lugs look hectic. Generally all round cool italian swag. Would ride. 8.5/10
QUICK STEP FLOORS - S-WORKS TARMAC & VENGE VIAS
Not really a big fan of the full black and white. It just seems like they couldn't decide on the paint in time so Specialized just sent them plain black/white bikes for the new season. Things have gone downhill for them since they dropped Zipp as a sponsor. Wouldn't ride.
BMC RACING - TEAM MACHINE SLR01 & TIME MACHINE TMR01
The BMC racing team stuck the classic BMC style we all love. The bikes are beautiful as ever, but kind of leave you wanting more from a team who haven't seemed to change much over the last few years. Still cool. But hoping for something different next season. Would ride. 7/10.
TEAM SUNWEB - GIANT TCR ADVANCED SL
In previous years I'd say that the Giant pro team bikes have lacked a certain classiness that other teams have achieved or at least tried to achieve. This yearIi reckon they've totally nailed it. The paint is awesome, and the new design of the TCR is awesome too, as well as the new giant logo. Would ride, 8.5/10.
TREK SEGAFREDO - TREK EMONDA & MADONE
The new Madone is a truly beautiful machine but I'm honestly not sure about the red. Katusha seem to pull it off with the whole red army vibe thing, but I'm not really down with the Trek's. I'd still ride one like it's stolen though. 7/10.
AG2R LA MONDIALE - FACTOR O2 & ONE
Ag2r changed over from Focus this season and I'm not sure it was a good choice. The Mavic wheels kind of look weird on the blue, but I do really like the blue. Can't say I like the white handlebar tape but that can be changed also. Maybe ride? 5/10
BAHRAIN MERIDA - MERIDA SCULTURA & REACTO
HOT! I mean the Lampre Merida bikes were always cool but they didn't seem to have the pizazz that these bikes do. Since when did Fulcrum wheels look so damn cool? S P E E D! Would ride. 9.9/10
FDJ - LAPIERRE XELIUS SL & AIRCODE SL
Another classic look fromFDJj. They've kept things slightly more subtle than previous years with these bikes. I kinda like it. But the triple triangle thing is kinda weird even though it's meant to help make them ride nicer. Would ride. 7/10
LOTTO-NL JUMBO - BIANCHI SPECIALISSIMA & OLTRE XR.4
From a Bianchi hater, these are cool. I've said enough already. Would ride, 8/10.
KATUSHA ALPECIN - CANYON AEROAD CF SLX & ULTIMATE CF SLX
Were dope, are dope, and will always be dope. It's an undeniable fact. Red army for the win comrades. Not much else to say about these really. Would absolutely ride, 10/10
ORICA SCOTT - SCOTT ADDICT & FOIL
The black/green Foil's look soooo fast. It's just a shame we won't see Michael Matthews lighting up the sprints on one this season. Would ride, 8/10.
BORA HANSGROHE - S-WORKS TARMAC & VENGE VIAS
I really like the TRON thing they've got going on. It's like they saw the Quick Step bikes and then watched the movie and just thought, "nah fuck it that's a sick idea!" Would ride. 9/10.
DIMENSION DATA - CERVELO S5 & R5
The fact that they have Enve, Rotor, and Ceramic Speed as sponsors is just baller as hell. I hated on Quick Step's all black/white, and although it is still unoriginal and a bit boring, these guys do it right. Would ride. 9/10
MOVISTAR - CANYON ULTIMATE CF SLX & AEROAD CF SLX
See Katusha review except slightly less awesome colours. Would ride. 8/10.
LOTTO SOUDAL - RIDLEY HELIUM SL & NOAH FAST
I really expected more from Lotto-Soudal after their amazing efforts last season in the paint schemes. The new bikes again have a kind of Quick Step-esque boringness to them. I'd still ride one but i was expecting big things from the Belgian squad. They're still hot though. 8/10
CANNONDALE DRAPAC - CANNONDALE SUPERSIX EVO
These bikes are really well though out. The green components work really well with the green on the forks, and the silver frames make it all really stand out. Again, the Mavic wheels look kind of strange with all that yellow. But overall I'd say would ride. 7/10
TEAM SKY - PINARELLO DOGMA F10
TeamSsky. A team that never fails to break down the walls of monotony. Much like their kit, their bikes have managed to look more or less the same year after year. I can just imagine the designer working on the paint scheme 1 hour before he has to present it after a long night drinking beers. He opens up the file on his computer from last season's design, moves a couple things around and voila! A brand new paint scheme! He walks nervously into a large room with a table and two chairs in the middle. Dave Brailsford is sitting on one side of the table. He sits down with his MacBook and begins to search for the file, wiping the sweat off his forehead. His heart beats furiously as he reaches the folder he saved it in. He opens the folder. There are 2 files. he opens both but in a drunken haze he cannot remember which one is this season's and which one is last. His hands begin to shake. What does he do? He turns his laptop around, clears his throat and says, "ummm I've made 2 designs for you to choose from this year Dave."
Brailsford takes a deep breath, looking displeased. He exhales heavily, then replies, "I like them both, but which one will weigh less?"
Wouldn't ride. 0/10
IV: WELCOMING KIP
After having his flight turnt back from Adelaide amongst Toto’s Rains Down In Africa – Kip of Melbourne Whip and fellow cute teen fame had finally landed in the South Australian state capital. Having endured hella wanderlust and fomo all week through various friends Instagram feeds, he was keen to hop aboard the Soup Boys express and take a journey through time, space, and the Adelaide Hills beginning with a tame warm up along Montacute Rd. His enjoyment would be short lived however, as a single ascent of the Corkscrew had him ordering himself a plot at the nearby Montacute Cemetery.
The route, planned by Alex and Finn, but also left up to fate was largely up and down, emphasis much more on the former when Alex let us know that Corkscrew would be one of the easier ones of the day. Soon we found ourselves at the dead end bottom of Marble Hill Rd, a literal wall of orchards and bush debris blown onto the roads from the previous nights storm standing in our way on our quest towards freedom and the top.
Despite the photo taking pace, Cherryville was summited with collective desperate gasps for air, mutterings of “ah I’m well fucked” while hunched over handlebars, or “oh is this the top?” from Adrian. Fortunately for our legs, lungs and morale, time was not really on our side so in the shade of a school bus stop on Montacute Rd we modified the route to include a tad less climbing, but keep our legs significantly fresher. But first things first, rehydration at Norton Summit.
Rehydration came in the form of (hosted by Finn) an educational awakening to Thomas Playford, former South Australian Premier – a man who had a bit of a kink for building hella infrastructure. With whistles wet and minds woke we would continue on through the Basket Range.
The final climb of the day would be another battle up the molto bello Little Italy (Burdetts). Adrian would bury himself in chase of Jack’s 4 seconds faster time only to find his Garmin messed up yet again, but was warmed with the fact that he was able to topically matchy match his Nonno’s chain with its namesakes very own valley orchard. Comfort.
Having not eaten since a wildly underwhelming breakfast, we’re talking worse than Keith Roadhouse level underwhelming – we were hoping to force the Oxford dictionary to redefine the term “smoking” as we hit Greenhill Rd. Unfortunately there was a cooked driver with some brakes to match holding us and a few other cars up. Annoying riding into the smell of burning brakes, however it did mean that this photo could happen. Plus a Volvo driver was only too happy to let the woman roasting her car what was up when we reached the bottom and began winding our way through the suburbs.
V: DOWNBALL WITH THE...STARS(?)
In a weird turn of fate it would be us having to show up for some Downball or just for this weeks arguments sake “ball” with the stars. At 5.30 we would have a meet and greet/autograph signing session which simply turned into us lambasting newly transformed Corporate Jack, quizzing Robbie McEwen on his high school rules (they were hella advanced) before getting even more sidetracked and heading into the Cannondale stand to meet some of the true stars of the Tour Down Under (the race).
With some help from Matt (shout out to shout you out) we managed to cut most of the line and quiz Alex Howes and Tom van Asbroeck on the ins and outs of the Soup Boys lifestyle. Alex kind of got the gist, he was introduced to us via an Insta-DM the evening prior, but was no doubt cooked from just having to travel to Victor Harbour more than you should in any given lifetime. He was reinvigorated when we presented both he and Tom with our very own, personally signed and custom messaged autograph cards. Totally stoked on both Harry’s Landcruiser team car and the fact that he had more Instagram followers than Dean, he was happy to trade autographs for cards and Cannondale Drapac t-shirts.
VI: PIZZA PIE 3.142
Y'all ever have so much pizza sitting there right in front of you and you just didn't know what to do with it?
Not sure on how many of us actually did/completed maths successfully in high school, and with resident numbers man Dean 10 slices deep with no sign of coming out of the Pizza Coma any time soon, Alex decided to measure this 1m offering from Antica up against a Soup Boys staple, the Jovani's Jumbo Margo. Completely scientific, we decided the 1m pizza was approximately .3m2. Now, if we take the 18" diameter of a jumbo sized pizza and find the area, we only have about .16m2. With price differences in mind, Papa Vani is still lookin' good in this case, though we'll keep that secret from ASADA & the pro peleton. Dope on pizza boys!
VII: DOWNBALL WITH THE STARS
The story of this chapter actually started the day before when we rolled down to the Cycling Australia tent at the tour village to meet Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Rebecca Wiasak (all total legends of the game [cycling]). We were hoping to tick off another fun filled chapter in the series that is downball with the stars, hold an interview, snap some photos then finish with a challenge to a game. Only thing is the brake dust from the car cooking itself down Greenhill Rd must have settled upon our brains as we forgot the much required tennis ball. But the opportunity to break Alex’s winning streak of 2 against Lachy Morton from earlier in the week led her to invite us to play on the infield during the following nights MND SA Track Classic at the Adelaide Superdrome. And so we enter.
We weren’t really sure what to expect when walking into the Superdrome at Gepps Cross. Having seen a couple of Instagram stories here and there it looked like it held a pretty sick party vibe, something like 6 days in Gent, but slightly smaller and slightly less beer. Either way when we arrived the carpark was PACKED. After a brief tussle with security (nothing a 1v1 sprint can’t resolve) we were welcomed into the infield by Nettie who was super welcoming and seemed hella geed up from the racing and the atmosphere, something that could be down to the 1:1 bread to Nutella ratio sandwich she was eating (one of her apparent staples, as well as bananas). It was here we got a fresh Wilson out and got to work with a couple of games of two-square (we were letting her preferred naming of x-square get its moment in the sun as it was only on 2 votes) and began an interview of hard hitting questions, prefaced with her stating that she knew who the Soup Boys were. Cue the nervous laughter.
• • •
"I think going into the tdu I was a little bit nervous because I hadn’t done a lot of road kilometres, whereas this time last year I was a lot fitter because I’d been on training camps for a long time so given the form I was in, to get a 2nd and 5th on the stages I think it was actually not too bad. Its nice to be back in the motions, and to actually coming out enjoying it I think it’s a good start to the season."
↑ On results, and then goals ↓
"At the moment I really want to do the Madison at the track world champs in April, then once thats done it’s switch over to the road for the China World Cup. That one’s nice and flat so it suits me, maybe the Giro – I’ve never done it before so a Giros stage could be cool, maybe one of the flat ones. And then Team Time Trial World Champs."
If a statue of an Adelaide Crows player was to be erected outside Adelaide Oval...
"Eddie Betts (editors note: the correct answer is and always will be Andrew McLeod). Signing a new contract for 3 more years is great I think its good to keep the consistency, and the confidence in what is already working for us. We turned it around last year and I'm looking forward to this season."
She gave us a deeper understanding of two fierce rivalries, the first being Anna Meares as a Port Adelaide supporter, the second being her brother Alex – able to pinpoint the event that ignited the lifelong sibling rivalry.
"It actually increases the rivalry between us out on the track which is good, keeps us motivated. So whenever there is a comp, the threat of having to wear the other teams guernsey makes us even more competitive. The thing is that now we’re (the Adelaide Crows) are in the right place, so I can jump into that deal with confidence."
• • •
"It has to be the front seat in the car. We ended up with scratches, bruises, blood pissing out everywhere. It was a war every morning. There was pushing on the chair, yanking on the seat belt, playing with the levers that tilt the chair forward. But it was only ever when mum was there, when dad was driving we were on our best behaviour."
Current pre-race pump up song & podium song of choice:
"Something current, at the moment I’ve been liking Shots by Imagine Dragons (we are unfamiliar with almost any song that isn’t a club banger, fortunately Nettie sang the chorus for us). And to stand on the top step of the podium, the national anthem because it means you’ve won."
• • •
Ideal rest day:
"Sleep in, normally I’d go to the beach but considering its been 40 degrees maybe not in weather like this, but really just do absolutely nothing."
After we let her recover from the intense barrage of questions, we chilled trackside and watched some of the racing as she explained the ins and outs of tempo races (the new type of race added to the omnium). Super funny and really down to earth she even introduced us to Matt Glaetzer who jumped at the opportunity to take us on. Something we would almost immediately regret agreeing to. If there was a legitimate career path for handball (no disrespect to Mitch Docker at the Wallball tourney thats up and running) Matt would have already won a World Champ or two. We had been schooled by all the pros former or current on their own nuanced rules from their school days, but Matt took it to another level, showing us that there is a lot more to it than bouncing a ball over a line by throwing in a sneaky backspin shot here an there. We’re going to need to practice before facing him again, maybe at the World Champs we get something going. We wonder how Baugé’s backspin is.
After the game we hung out and watched the final few races. It was great seeing so many national and world champions in one place all racing against each other in so many different types of races. If only there were more events like it in Australia.