TDU VISITS THE SURFACE OF THE SUN
The printed media race guide stated that for the first stage the Tour Down Under for 2017 would be heading north to Lyndoch, situated at the foot of the Barossa Region. However, when the cycling fans of the world woke in Adelaide this fine morning, they were asked to experience what it would be like living on the surface of the sun for the day.
I: A BRIEF WORD FROM OUR DIRECTEUR SPORTIF
The first day on the road for the men and final day of racing in the women's tour started as word came in that I'd missed the pre tour Directeur Sportif briefing. One can only assume a rival team sent the invitation to the hotel next door with an inconveniently similar name. With this unjust act fresh in mind, I made my way to Powerhouse Gym on Churchill Rd, Prospect (3032 > 5082).
The old school 'hardcore never dies' vibes mixed with the brooding over our not being allowed to race the tour produced a chest workout that would ensure pectorals akin to the Austrian Oak's.
I'm not a fan of the barbell bench press as a 'working' movement, but rather a warmup movement after a good stretch. In the case of my own body, some muscle groups can benefit from complete muscle isolation while working out (chest, arms), whereas others (legs, back) require large and stimulating compound lifts to promote optimal hypertrophy.
Following 2-4 light 20-25 rep warmup sets of bench press, the rest of the workout is as follows,
Incline Dumbbell bench press - 4 sets 8-12 reps
Cable crossovers - 5 sets 15-18 reps
Incline iso-lateral machine press - 5 sets 10 reps
Dips - 5 sets to fail
Post workout single origin espressi were consumed at Walkerville's Local Grind to the soundtrack of John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat - Hooker 'N Heat.
Distance: 217km (Alex)
Vertical Gain: +2553m (Alex)
Beers: 8 (Honorary Soup Boy, Cam)
TDU Fedoras: 0
KOM Bucket Hats: 1
Highest Temperature: 43.6ºc (Adrian's Garmin) Handball/Downball Tally: Coming Soon
✓ THE HIGHLIGHT
Has to be the hotel pool, or could it be the hand pumped beer, and sitting outside the pub feeling the cool change coming through.
✕ THE LOWLIGHT
The heat. Easily. It was sapping. The Garmin was constantly fluctuating but the one thing you could be sure of was that it would sit above 40ºc, and most of the time north of 42.0.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Passing! Car!” – a random guy coming back through Williamstown after the stage had finished and people began going home. Even weirder was that there was not only nobody to actually pass, there were not any cars within the general vicinity of 5 minutes away. Better safe than sorry we guess.
PLAN OF ACTION
All pre-planned plans of action melted away by about 7am in the already sweltering-ish heat. Everything that had been discussed flew out the window through a joint sleep in as if it was some kind of telepathic memo. What we did know was that somehow, some way, and some time we would be finding ourselves out in the Barossa Valley, or at least the fringe of it as the race head north out of town for stage one. Having experienced the heat through opening the balcony door for 1.5 seconds, plans of action were immediately modified to the much simpler: don’t die.
NOT QUITE BROADSHEET
We further increased our property portfolio for breakfast, this time remembering to toast the sourdough bread. After the savoury course was complete, a simple freewheel around the corner to the Rapha pop up (bananas being cradled) provided us with Johanmade caffé lattes and pastries to help see us off through the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide. We would be returning to the pop up at the completion of our ride for a similar sports drink, one of the hops based variety. Further incentive to successfully execute the revised “plans of action”.
III: THE RISK
The smart move of the day was heading out of town early. Those that missed the telepathic “it’s okay to sleep in” memo head over to the Rapha pop-up and took the 7.30 express out to Williamstown and Lyndoch. A route made up of rollings hills of suburbia, of small, twisty climbs and wide open gravel roads they were able to see the race come through onto the finishing circuits before the sun really started to get cooking.
The far less smart move was to sleep in, procrastinate on breakfast, then roll out at 11am – right when the sun “really started to get cooking”. A similar direction was taken by Lewis and Adrian, the rest of the #squad would be taking an altered route out to the same location, however brunch in Kent Town was suitably a more pressing matter. An initial stop was made in Old Tea Tree Gully (village), home to a leafy triangle in its centre that would make arguably the most brutal criterium course in Australia. But more on that for another time.
Second only to a longneck of Coopers Sparkling Ale, self-baptism in the leafy surrounds of Old Tea Tree Gully (village) is scientifically proven to be the best way to cool down when heading north into the “desert” to catch le Tour Down Under.
The pockets on the backs of Tenet Supply jerseys were carefully considered to ensure that you were able to house all your relevant bits and pieces when you go on a ride, and to safely, and snugly house Coopers Sparkling Ale long necks for the cruise home.
Several other stops for h2o were made, and the ride soon became one of survival. While stationed at Kersbrook Mogas, when not discussing the Victorian surfs barreling waves of the 1960's, it was discovered on Twitter that the race would be cut short by a circuit due to the heat. This provided great reassurance that we the bicycle race loving spectator weren’t the only ones completely fried out of our minds and on bicycles. But would the #squad reunite one last time before turning for home? To be continued...
VI: CHURCH OF THE DAY
The Kersbrook Church of Christ, built in 1863. Mass service at 9.30am with Sunday School on at 10am. There is a giant sign out the front that reads “You Matter To God” – poignant as you are literally riding yourself through the climatic manifestation of hell on earth, bidons with contents so hot they’re ready for a teabag.
V: THE REWARD(?)
(Cont.) The answer, a resounding no. Dean, honorary Soup Boy for the week Cam, and the rest of the Rapha group ride rolled past as both Adrian and Lewis were well into chomping their raspberry icy poles. Something again about pressing matters.
Alongside the Rapha crew, Dean took in the opening exchanges as the race finally hit the finishing circuit through the southern regions of the Barossa Valley.
A little further south at the lower part of Williamstown (which by the way isn’t as impressive as Melbourne’s Williamstown, a truly special suburb despite our bias towards the western suburbs of Melbourne) Adrian and Lewis pulled in among crowds, surprised that they had made it on time to see at least some racing action. With enough time to order some sausage rolls and re-empty the bakery’s fridge for the fourth time today, the race came flying by. First the solo breakaway rider, no doubt from continental Europe and racing for AG2r (we have photographic proof of this to prove that this was the case) shortly followed by the charging peloton, then convoy which provided numerous perving opportunities (looking at you Astana Argon’s & Bora-Hansgrohe S-Works).
Thanks to the power of Twitter, and a rather dodgy livestream we managed to discover that Caleb Ewan would go on and take the win and all the leaders jerseys with it. Like he would have provided the traditional cycling media with interview after interview, we opted for more sausage rolls, ice creams and cokes, a fair trade. Despite the disgusting heat it became an afternoon worthwhile to briefly see the pro’s fly past, and catch up in a slightly wog setting in a country town.
VI: THE PAT ON THE BACK ANYWAY
We spent the evening celebrating the little things. We had all made it back alive, at least we thought that was the case. With our hotel pool closing at 10pm daily, we scoffed down parmigiana’s bigger than our heads, and glasses of hand pumped beer to provide the carbs for a dusk shoot back to the pool.