THE 40 DAY AND 40 NIGHT PILGRIMAGE TO OLDE WILLUNGA TOWN
The day of days. It is the one time we know what goes down before we’ve even arrived in Adelaide for the week. A pilgrimage to Willunga wouldn’t actually take us 40 days and 40 nights, but would the third time trying have us run through the day at least somewhat smoothly? Hell no.
I: A BRIEF WORD FROM THE DIRECTEUR SPORTIF
First of all, full credit to the boys & girls who made the pilgrimage out to Willunga on the day. The ride being the longest/steepest some had ever attempted it was a true test of spirits and will to eat all the Tofu-based offerings at the finish line. Of course, you're all rookies for not taking the express line (team car) which left the more fortunate of us plenty of time to reflect on the angst of our teen years & our first live music experiences in the comfort of air conditioning through our hair and 30 year old lux-carpet under foot (and pretty much everywhere else in the team car).
Distance: 470km (Alex)
Vertical Gain: +7325m (Honorary Soup Boy, Cam)
Beers: 39 (Cam)
TDU Fedoras: 0
KOM Bucket Hats: 2
Highest Temperature: 43.6ºc (Adrian's Garmin)
Dropped Chains: 2 (Dean)
Dropped Caffe Lattes: 1 (Dean)
✓ THE HIGHLIGHT
Bicycles. Somehow you’re still left surprised that they come out on top during a week like the Tour Down Under but there it is. Whether it was the riding to and from, power outputs laid down on the final stretch to McLaren Vale, the race itself, or the kick-ons happening after the days stage, it’s all good.
✕ THE LOWLIGHT
Noarlunga probably. What the shit kind of place is that. Being Soup Boys we held tempo at 50kmph through the fateful suburb but still managed to avoid 4 t-bone incidents (all v v close) and had some stuff thrown at our heads by a passing Commodore filled with 13 year old groms.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Anything Dean said really. We mean the dude was gone before any of us woke up and our first crossing of paths came some 6 hours later when he was retelling his entire day up to the minute in incredibly vivid, and 1L of beer type detail. We just hope someone was writing all of it down, we couldn’t keep up at all.
(?) BALL TALLY
PLAN OF ACTION
What you could probably call the final day of le Tour Down Under always follows the same kind of format, and this 2017 edition wouldn’t veer far from what had gone down previous. Some kind of breakfast would happen close to Treadly, we would tack onto the back of the MAAP/Treadly Pilgrimage ride and take in the sights and sounds on the way to “The Hill.” The exception would be Dean, who on the Willunga stage always has shit together (he gifts the Rapha transfer with his presence). Either way, we would all be heading kind of true south, where upon our arrival our Directeur Sportif would be manning Le Grille where we would be either watching the stage as they hit the famous climb, or not. We would see how we felt when we got there, and sussed the vibe of the les exclusive balcony.
NOT QUITE BROADSHEET
The key was finding a breakfast spot close to Treadly, but not too close that we still had to contend with long lines and hefty crowds. We cracked the case simply by sleeping through the pre-pilgrimage meet, briefing, and departure. Our morning glory (feed) would take place at Bambi’s Kitchen. The menu? Divine. The actual food landing in front of you on your table? Incredible – we’re talking so good that you don’t even worry about informing them that they gave you the wrong order, you eat it and lick the plate clean instead. Caffé lattes at a true village pace were consumed, a 3 hour headstart given to the MAAP/Treadly ride, 45 minutes given to Tenet Supply squad who bailed early so we could occupy their table in the sun. Bless.
V: CHURCH OF THE DAY
Spotted outside the national offices of the Lutheran Church of Australia – this Porsche immediately inspired Alex to spit hella bars in the name of retro German cars and Soup.
"I wanna buy a Porsche but i am way too fucking poor,
Thing is I also want a Ford, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Commodore
I need a salary twice Richie Porte's just to afford them
BMC money, lightweight disc, super record, then
I'll ride to the motor reg door
Don't lock up my bike unless the junkie hasn't scored
Walk to the counter tell the dude I implore, that you make another booking for a leaner's test for us,
We don't drive cars cause we ride so fucking fast
Could probably travel interstate quicker than our mate Clark Kent
Superman, superwoman, supermen, superwomen, supergirls, souperboys superfluid, SOUP BOYS!"
IV: THE OFFICIAL RAPHA PILGRIMAGE
A previously mentioned, Dean is the only Soup Boy that properly has his shit together come Willunga Saturdays. He slipped out in the early hours, before any of us had woken, and probably before many would consider leaving the nearby clubs. Meeting at Norwood Cycling Club just a stones throw from the CBD, the British brand known for its cycling wear for discerning cyclists team up every year with the local club who host the mid week amateur hour races at Victoria Park (reminder: Alex podium’d up in that shi).
The route changes every year, with a lunch stop just before the final push towards the climb where shade, slippers, and a position a few hundred metres from the king of the mountains line awaits. It would be here where he took in the race (no spoilers just yet) and sign some extra autographs, providing his arms weren’t sore from the previous days signing session.
V: THE UNOFFICIAL TENET SUPPLY PILGRIMAGE
Led by Yung Lugo and Vic, their band of merry locals in tow – the Unofficial Tenet Supply Pilgrimage became so thanks to Adrian and Cam sleeping in, DH Dai and Ming arriving in Adelaide at 8.30 in the morning, and by Alex and Harry still lifting big. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, and make use of the energy provided by Bambi’s fine breakfast fare – they rolled out down East Terrace towards the hills. We would meet them in Willunga at the secret balco spot, or maybe we wouldn’t. Both gruppo's would be taking similar routes, so only time would tell.
VI: THE OFFICIAL SOUP BOYS CHASE GROUP PILGRIMAGE
Last year it was waiting for a hungover Jack, something we fast gave up on (he would depart an hour and a half after us, and time trial it solo along the bike path to get to Willunga just in the nick of time). This year it was a combination of hangovers and comedowns. 2016 we gave the MAAP/Treadly ride a 45 minute head start, and got caught in their traffic descending into Clarendon. We assumed that 2 hours this time around would mean clean roads, allowing us uninterrupted countryside to belt out a few Das Racist sing-a-longs as per tradition. Gruppo 1 (MAAP/Treadly) would take line honours no doubt, while we would bestow the name of Gruppo 2 to Tenet Supply. That left the remaining Soup Boys & Friends as Gruppo Last. A 45 minute gap had us pushing the limits of the time cut pretty hard, and we were ready to start grovelling to Mike Turtur once we added another 10 minutes to wait for DH and Ming (their Not Quite Broadsheet at Exchange, also quite important). From there it was heading straight for the hills along a familiar route. Up Bel Air, not up Finn’s “false flat short cut” – down the back of Windy Point, an ambulance stopped to treat a rider at the same stretch of road for the third year running. Bunnyhops over train tracks into another climb that none of us can remember the name of, one that may not even have a name, but elicits a number of expletives thanks to a surface that makes Dinner Plain seem like some freshly laid hot mix. The Specialized tent, and the fact that it was still set up at the top of the aforementioned climb meant that we weren’t far off the back – there would be no grovelling today. Unless of course one of our favourite riders would be hitting the top step of the podium come days end. Finally given the opportunity to fucking rail the descent into Clarendon we arrived fresh faced and salivating over head sized donuts and hella ginger beers.
The Unofficial Tenet Supply Pilgrimage singlehandedly ate the Clarendon Bakery out of head sized donuts, and were cunning enough to slither away with the last remnants of the MAAP/Treadly squad before we had a chance to bottle them up with our bidons. We would settle for slightly larger than normal donuts, ginger beers, cokes and a 30 minute breather as to give the bunches a bit more space up the road, allow for even more sing-a-longs as our voice boxes were coming into form quite well.
Much like the current philosophy behind our kind of okay nations approach to economic policy, this form trickled down to our legs as once we were on the road to McLaren Flats & Vale we ramped up to a permanent state of 4 figure power outputs. With the exception of Adrian, he was distracted by the angelic voice of Jake from Treadly who appeared before him like the Angel Gabriel probably appeared before the wise men, offering a gift more valuable than gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – a butter croissant. Captured by Genevieve It lifted his spirits and carbed him the fuck up, latching back onto the bunch and rolling turns down the hills into Willunga.
While the race was just kicking off, fans were already lining the roads alongside the large scale vineyards that welcomed you into the town. While we made sure to roll in with class and elegance (zipped up jerseys, hair properly made – it didn’t get us past the ever-zealous security who thew us off the major road, and coincidentally onto the side road we needed to go down anyway. Despite our tardiness in leaving the Clarendon Bakery, and having to wait for Adrian to regain strength through the delicious golden Croissant, the Chase Group, for the third year running was the first to arrive at our destination.
VII: TUSCAN VILLA RECOVERY SESSION
It’s a tradition that was borne out of our displeasure at what seems like a given – mad long lines at every possible eatery in Willunga come race day. That and the fact that we wanted to get a little more out of our pilgrimage(s) south, something more than 60km each way, a donut stop, and witnessing fleeting moments of glory on the hill. Last year it involved a drop off the night before, us bonking as we arrived into town, choosing to watch the race on the hill, probably suffering sun stroke, then making it back to “Les Exclusive Balco” moments before we began ripping each others limbs off for food. We rested, we chilled, we talked shit and recovered – we left Willunga hours after everyone else. It was ideal, it was poignant, beautiful.
This years edition of Les Exclusive Balco would be a little different, more convenient – a quality that comes with having such a mighty fine Directeur Sportif. Aboard the Landcruiser was a bounty of ready-to-BBQ-af meats, veggie burgers and assorted fruit and vegetables. First in was the Official Soup Boys Chase Group, followed by the Unofficial Tenet Supply Pilgrimage Group some 10 or so minutes behind. For the most part that would be it, bar the arrival of a few strays that would wind their way down following the stages end. Once the #squad had finished stomping recovery was on the mind, cue the ceremonial lighting of the BBQ, the playing of beats, and the kicking up of feet upon a bed of lush astroturf. Located a stones throw from the very bottom of the climb, we had Tuscan like views right out to the coastline. With the sounds of the television helicopter getting louder and louder, we moved downstairs, letting the veggie burgers crisp as we huddled around the television to watch the race hit the summit a first time.
Adopted Soup Boy Cam showing the masses how to cool down after letting loose on 2000w leadout trains aka twisting the screws aka dropping (watt bombs) everyone.
!! KEEP IT CRISP GUN SHOW INTERMISSION !!
With hordes of Soup Boys and friends arriving at the Villa on Willunga Hill, DS Harry was tasked with firing up the BBQ, keeping tongs firmly in his grip as he worked his way through cooking up a feast to mainline nutrients directly to everyone’s catabolic quadriceps.
An internal battle with DH and Ming went down once we returned to the surface for more food – they weren’t quite sure if they wanted to head up the hill to catch the second summit. We recommended that they should have left 5 minutes prior, and hurried them down the stairs, wishing them luck on their expedition. The rest of us were content with balcony, television and barbecued foods.
Up on the hill Dean was kicking back with the Norwood CC x Rapha collab / chill out tent some 300m from the top of the Willunga Hill climb. Having warmed his cheering voice up with a serving or two of chicken burgers and laminations he was ready to greet the pros as they made their way through for what would be another episode of the Richie Porte: Willunga Hill Merchant Show.
Once the road had cooled down following Richie lighting it up, Dean, Ron, DH and Ming would return to us, to bask in the glory of shaded astroturf and remaining barbecued foods. Motivation to return to the city of churches was rather low to say the least, but the carpark climb and an alternative coastal route (something a little different to the year in year out bike path standard) was on offer.
VIII: BEACH RD
We would wave goodbye to the Les Exclusive Balco, thanking our hosts and departing. Adrian would warm up the legs with a quick summiting of Willunga Hill, returning to the bottom to catch the final drinks call at the local servo – Janice letting some of us in technically after closing time to restock on Coca Cola, sunscreen and dollar bags (of lollies). The Tenet Supply Pilgrimage turned themselves into the Tenet Supply carrot as Adrian, Cam and Alex rolled out of Willunga by themselves, taking guesses as to when the carrot would be caught. 16km, 22km and 25km were the guesses all shaken upon before 30 second turns were rolled out towards the bike path. As we hit the coast, calls from Dean (1L of beer deep) and messages from Lewis had us estimating the carrot was still half an hour ahead – all of our guesses were toast.
Not far after we realised we were well and truly dropped by the carrot, we hit the coast – at Noarlunga. It was everything we could have imagined. Like some kind of genetically mutated Frankston. Beautiful. We dug ourselves out of that hole via a number of steep pitches, ending up on a wannabe freeway. Where was this coastal route Lewis was so adamant that we would enjoy?
Ah there it is. Back beachside at Brighton.
As fatigue and thoughts of nothing but loved ones and big re-feeds filled our minds photos became sporadic, then non-existent. Fortunately photos taken at a much more #summervibes and leisurely pace were covered last year. Cars sitting on 60kmph were becoming too slow for us to simply sit behind, so DRS would be enabled and overtaking moves perfectly executed. Arriving in Glenelg, Alex, Cam and Adrian had yet to catch the dangling carrot, much to their utter dismay. It seemed as though a 33kmph average on the way back from Willunga simply would not be cutting it. Alex would peel off at the surburb known Australia wide as being a bootleg St Kilda, Adrian and Cam time trialling it past some stray bunches enroute to the hotel – hopefully the car park climb if their fatigue wasn’t too next level (turns out it would be, the hotel balcony was not far off the scene of a post Rainbow Serpent comedown ward). But when they arrived, nobody was home.
IX: #V2CTCPC LIT CRIT
The second (Australian) iteration of the VTWO Carpark series was the perfect way to end the week of cycling hedonism. Replicating a multi-level nightclub in a carpark deep in the centre of Adelaide, the VTWO boys – powered by a generous group of sponno's put on an event which surpassed everyone's expectations. There were a handful of food and draaaank vendors, and DJ booths with bangers blaring from ground to the 6th floor. The racing was fast and aggressive, with amateurs and pro riders competing head to head. The only problem is going to be backing up this effort with an equally as impressive display next time 'round.
The latest instalment of Dean Jones’ award winning photo journalism series – People In Various States of Cooked.
After our longest day on the bicycles, a re-feed – nay a final supper would be of the utmost importance. We began with a visit to a family favourite from last year, Vego Sizzle where we cleansed our palette which had previously been tainted with the taste of nothing but rubber, tar, and whatever else you would find in the air in Noarlunga. Entertained by a pedal powered beer trolley we then junked out at Burger Theory – Ron immediately feeling himself come back to life after downing a beer in 6.9 miliseconds while the others fulfilled their desire for what was thought to be an insatiable appetite for junk burgs & frozen custard. We would spend the rest of the evening catching up on lost content and preparing ourselves for the impending comedown of leaving Adelaide the following day.
XI: THE COMEDOWN
Short and sweet would be the order of our final day in Adelaide. But at the same time we would do absolutely everything to lengthen our stay just a few more hours if possible.
THE SBC COMEDOWN ALBUM OF CHOICE
The XX - XX
Distance: 500+ km (Honorary Soup Boy, Cam)
Vertical Gain: +8000m (Cam)
Beers: 43 (Cam)
TDU Fedoras: 0
KOM Bucket Hats: 2
Highest Temperature: 43.6ºc (Adrian's Garmin)
Highest Heart Rate: 420bpm (Harry)
Dropped Chains: 2 (Dean)
Dropped Caffe Lattes: 1 (Dean)
FINAL HANDBALL TALLY
PLAN OF ACTION
The plan of action sort of flew out the window the night before. We were all beyond cooked, called in for last minute bunch ride responsibilities or tempted by fate & the bright lights of Hindley Street on a Saturday night. If the ride out to Willunga hadn’t cooked us properly a sesh at Big Window would. We would not be participating in Church Of The Day for we had already sinned too much while the sun was down, but once risen we would participate in our final meals in the City of Churches, take one last roll and say our goodbyes as the final stage – a crit which holds the same level of excitement as an afternoon on the Champs Elyseé would kick off. And finally from there, it would be a 7, possibly 8 hour drive home to Melbourne. Work beckoned before dawn for 2 of the traveling Soup Boys.
NOT QUITE BROADSHEET
Spread all over the place our final Not Quite Broadsheet was a bit haphazard on all parts. Dean took in the banquet on offer at the Rapha AGM, Cam ate a frustrated meal in Stirling, hampered by the numerous flats he encountered on his final ride in Adelaide, while Adrian fell in love with the menu at My Kingdom For A Horse. No photos supplied though, as our hunger was left that yearning as we had become woke that morn that we had no time to take photos. It would be a two step process, both of which had us with food in our mouths.
With a check out time extended til 11am we were able to recover from our respective final rides and congregate at Exchange for one final breaking of the bread before an official roll out of town. Cam was well cooked from the Speedvagen ride cut short, Jonesy recovering from the several litres of beer consumed the day before, and Harry was running off no sleep and whatever something something remained lodged on the brain. Once the Landcruiser was packed, it was time to cruise the land. A designated stop was made at Bordertown at one of the final bastions of the Shake n’ Dog combo – a delectable meal enjoyed after Gazza successfully deciphered the written instructions on how to make a milkshake, and how to microwave a sausage. While a success, the lack of mineral water options at the towns OTR left a lot to be desired, we slummed it on the regular kind. We would be back in Victoria soon.
Our next stop, and final planned one at that took place at Horsham for fuel, oil and to end Adrian and Cam’s near decade long embargo’s of McDonalds (choices were very limited at 8pm on a Sunday night). Any sore stomachs from the shellshocked delivered by large McDonalds meals were soon forgotten as we were treated by a beautiful sunset over the Northern Grampians on the way through to Stawell and the #1 Family Tourist Destination of Australia: Ararat.
As soon as the sun set however, the bugs came out in their respective swarms, we’re talking to the point of no more water left in the car and approximately 0 vision available through the windscreen. Somehow the drive had taken us 10 hours so far, and even with another hour to go, the final thing that we would remember from the journey home – the perfect way to summarise the trip – came at a Ballan roadhouse as we cleaned the bugs from the front of the car. Thanks for the week Adelaide.