- Posts: 7334
- Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:51 am
- Location: southern end of Adelaide - home of hills, fixies and drop bears
The sporting among you may be aware that the Tour Down Under is being run around Adelaide this week. I kinda like racing - some of those racing bikes are rather cute. Anyway, me boss (the Bloody Old Sod who Sits while I do all the work underneath him, Europa to you lot), decided to take me down to Willunga for the day to watch the lycra'd fools race around and get their lovely bikes all grotty. Willunga's about 33km from home so it seemed like a good chance to stretch me chain a bit.
And the ride was going really well, until about 15 km from home when it started to rain, and I do mean rain - it stopped short of torrential ... just. But we kept on slogging. Made good time too, an average of 25 km/hr, the boss's heart rate singing along in the 150s, his body heat keeping him warm but doing little to help me - I hate road grime on my black paint.
We got to McLaren Vale, just short of Willunga, to find we'd missed the first lap of the race (three laps over a long circuit) Still raining of course, so the boss propped me against a chair where I could perv on the recreational bikes bopping around while he treated himself to a meat pie.
Rain stopped, we moved on. Just cruising along the main road to Willunga, bitterly cold wind from off the Southern Ocean, and a line of big trees beckonned. So we stopped to watch the world go by, me against a tree, him on the ground, when suddenly, he's leaping around slapping himself. It appears he'd disturbed an inch ant nest - got bitten 4 times. Most amusing and the language
Off to Willunga, just in time to see the second lap come through. Nice little breakaway in the front led by an very cute Cevolo with a rather aggressive Cannondale on her tail. Then the peleton - some very tired wheels in that pack, but you could sense they were about to chase down the upstarts out front.
Then up Old Willunga Hill. The third and final lap was to turn off the circuit for the other laps and go up this old stretch of highway. Man is it steep, and twisting. We stopped on the lower slopes, neither of us really feeling like going further, and it gave us a chance to watch all the other spectators riding up the hill. Most impressive was a bloke on an ancient single geared bike riding up the hill (repeatedly I might add) on his REAR WHEEL. He could pop a mono then just cruise up this hill that had everyone else struggling. But the bravery of the day award goes to the dad towing his son in a baby trailer ... and setting quite a good pace of it. Two police mounted on their mtbs came past, and pair of idiots gave them a push up the hill yelling "Allez, Allez, Allez" at the top of their voices. Much fun.
Interesting yarn of the day was with an old bloke who'd ridden in the Breakaway Tour the day before - this was where you got to ride a full stage of the race before the pros had a go. Apparently, on the King of the Mountains climb, there were a couple of 'heros' who stopped but, instead of admitting that the climb was too much for them, pretended to answer their mobile phones ... in an area with no mobile coverage
Then came the racers. The breakaway had survived ... and shattered as soon as they hit those slopes. Some riders just powered up the hill, others made harder work of it than some of the rec riders. The peleton had stretched right out to a thin line with a number of gaps appearing. Robbie McKewin was noticeably struggling near the back.
Down to the finish line. We found a spot where we could look right down the straight leading to the finish line and near where the riders would be looked after by their mechanics. A top spot ... only the boss put me behind a barrier to protect me and I couldn't see a thing. So you can imagine that I had little sympathy when all the mechanics came out and congregated in front of him so he couldn't see anything either.
The race finished with a charging sprint to the line. Robbie beaten by some young bloke from Tassie ... Robbie did NOT look happy. And I got to perv on some of those lovely but very tired racing bikes.
Then the rain started. Drips and spits then a ten degree drop in temperature and a downpour - seriously, I had goose pimples on me black paint. We hid in the old railway station until the rain stopped, then headed off for home.
Hah! It started raining again about 2km out. Rain? Mate, it was beyond rain. And cold. Man oh man, even I was having trouble getting my blood flowing and I don't have any But we set a cracking pace and fought on. It rained all the way home ... almost, but more of that in a minute. We fought on bravely. I could tell he was tired but at least his new ShyShorts seemed to work as there were none of the usual moans of pain and wriggles of discomfort.
Then, just as we got off the 5km gravel bit, (I really mean mud, but it's normally gravel) me rear tyre went flat.
It was still bucketing down, the temperature had dropped even lower and the creek next to us had given up trying to flood because of the layer of ice forming on it. Okay, I exagerate, it was still doing a good job of flooding.
So the boss parks me against a tree and pumps some air into the tyre. It seemed a good plan - just get me home and do the repair in comfort. It didn't work of course. Got a good two kilometres on the first attempt, but after that ... hopeless. But the rain now stopped and we were 2km from home, so he uncermoniously tossed me into the mud and put a new tube in the tyre.
We arrived home, tired, cold but satisfied ... but I suspect neither of us will do much tonight. Total of 68 km for the day. Average heart rate of 152. Average speed about 23 km/hr.
Twas a good day.
The Black Beast
(note by Europa - I had to edit out some of his more err personal observations about those racing bikes )
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