Cycle Touring with Unique Cycling Tours

I’m back.

14 days in France, 10 days with Unique Cycling Tours, and 4 days by my lonesome in Annecy.

6 hours from Geneva to Doha. A 20 hour stopover in Doha. 13 hours to Adelaide. We are a very long way away.

Climbing some epic mountains:

  • Mont Ventoux
  • Alpe d’Huez
  • Glandon/Croix de Fer
  • Telegraphe
  • Galibier

Plus other rides across some superb countryside and through some amazing old villages in stunning Provence and the Rhone-Alpes.

My vocabulary cannot provide justification to my amazement of riding across this stunning country.

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Before i get further into my experiences, I want to put something out there.

I’m thinking of doing a cycling trip next year to Italy.

Dolomites, Bormio, Lake Como??? I haven’t given it too much thought. 

BUT – Is there any interest among my readers to get a Wednesday Legs cycling tour together for winter next year?

Based on my experience with the Unique Cycling Tours team, I would have no hesitation in using them if we can get a Wednesday Legs group together.

I am not fixed on  the specifics, and more than happy to enter into dialogue if there is an interest.

Send me an email and we’ll see where it goes. No immediate rush, I’ll be asking the question for another several months. But if we can get 5 – 7 responses, we can look to lock something in with George at UCT.

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So, my experiences. Please forgive the length of this posting, a lot of photos.  Tgere is probably too much to take in with the one visit, so feel free to jump in and out at your leaisure.

The 3rd part of my trip where i travelled by myself to Annecy will be included in the next Wedneday Legs posting.

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This tour promised to be a spectacular introduction to cycling on the continent, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Unique Cycling Tours part of my holiday had us staying in Seguret in Provence for the first 5 days, then transitioning down to Allemond at the base of the Glandon in the French Alpes for the next 5 days. Excuse my cartographic skills below, but 1represents the first half of the UCT tour, 2 is the second half, and 3 represents the few days I had by myself before i flew back to Adelaide.

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The tour started with

  • Sporting Director and Tour Leader – George Wilson

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  • Super Domestique and chief wise-arse – Steve Sanders

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  • Team photographer and blogger (Beardys Caravan) Marcus “Beardy McBeardy” – Only for the Provence section

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  • Team chef/Yorkshireman/Hardman on the road- Chris Heeson – Chef on the Provence section, then team rider for the Alpes.

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  • Ferg “Did I mention the time that I ” Frog – using this tour as a boot camp for his attack on the Melbourne race series.

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  • The Director “of video selfies” – Richie

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  • Jedi Yoga master – Ed

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  • Super Lantern Rouge – Ian “did someone mention a picnic” Pibworth.

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A few comments about my trip and observations before I start with the travelogue:

  • My goals were to finish each ride, not in any record pace, but at a pace that would see me comfortably finish that days and all other days riding.
  • I was going to take as many photos as possible on the bike, and whilst I kept this up, I found that every turn had another classic photo opportunity – when do you stop?
  • Eat, Eat, Eat. This was a cycling holiday, and therefore fuelling was of paramount importance to ensure we got to the end.
  • Listen to the body. 9 days of cycling was going to place unknown demands on the body.
  • Chill out when you can – if that means taking a 10 minute stop to have a picnic – so be it.
  • As a general rule, the French do not make good coffee.
  • As a general rule, the Belgiums make excellant beer.
  • Look around you, you never know if/when you will be back.

Part 1 – Provence

Day 1 – Transfer from the airprt to Segulat

We all met early outside the NH Hotel at the Lyon Airport, packed the van and trailer, and jumped out on the autoroute, first stop Bedoin at the base of Mont Ventoux where we were to get rubber down on a warm-up ride on day 1.

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Accommodation was a 30km ride away from Bedouin skirting Mont Ventoux, but the sight of the famous rock on our right shoulder provided a teaser for the next days challenge. The main ascent of the 3 up Mont Ventoux starts in the historic old town of Bedoin, so a perfect start to our tour.

It was good to see the bike arrived safely, and didn’t take too long to build, with a little help from Steve on the rear derailer.

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The short ride had us passing through the town of Mallecene, the start of the Mont Ventoux ascent from the opposite side to Bedoin.

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The accommodation in Provence was a superb villa built into the side of a hill at the top of a short but very steep driveway, overlooking the plains of Provence. An infinity pool provided very welcome relief at the end of each days rides as Europe was experiencing a heat wave.

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Dinner in Provence was provided by Chef Chris whose effort to ride long and hard and then to put a superb dinner on the table became the stuff of legends. Chris is a “retired” chef teaching down at TAFE, and has a small catering business on the side.

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A briefing each evening was facilitated by George. Day 1’s briefing had George walking us through the ascents of Mont Ventoux using his local knowledge and the mapping app ride with gaps. The challenge had been put out there to the team well before the tour started, 3 ascents of Mont Ventoux. Beardy, Ferg and Richie were to tackle the triple ascent. Ed and Chris the two, and the rest of us the one.

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Strava route for day 1 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1037840518

Day 2 – Mont Ventoux

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Waking up to glorious views over the valley, the triple team set off early, with plans for the remainder to meet them in Bedouin for a coffee after their first ascent. The heat was building up quick, and by the time we hit Bedouin it was already climbing up towards 30 degrees.

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Bedouin was awash with Belgiums who had arrived en-mass to celebrate Eddie Merckx birthday. Apparently the Belgiums have claimed Mont Ventoux as their “own”, and each year festivities are held in the towns and villages around Mont Ventoux, with numerous sportive climbs planned for the Saturday. So Bedouin was abuzz with cyclists of all ages and sizes.

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ventoux 1

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Mont Ventoux is one of the the hardest of all the Tour de France climbs. The mountain claimed the life of the great English cyclist Tom Simpson, who died here on July 13th 1967 from a combination of a stomach upset, heat exhaustion, alcohol and amphetamines.

There is a memorial to Tom 1.5 km from the summit which has become a shrine to fans of cycling.

The ascent from Bedoin is the classic way up the mountain. The length of the climb from Bedoin at 300m asl to the summit at 1912m is 21.5km . This gives an elevation of 1612m and an average gradient of 7.5%. This doesn’t sound too bad but when you break the climb down into its 3 obvious sections, with the first 5.5 km being a sedate 4.4% average gradient.

The next section through the forest up to Chalet Reynard is 9.5km long with an average gradient of over 9%, some sections hovering around 11% and 12%. I struggled up this section big time. I was never not going to get there, but coming from the cold Adelaide winter to this heat wave, together with time zone difference adjustment still a few days away had me wondering what I had got myself in for.  I had put in some big training efforts over a few months, but an expected workload increase saw little time on the bike, and I felt it on that climb.

Fortunately Steve was there to help. Riding with me up a good portion of the climb to Chalet Reynard and up to the summit, providing moral support, keeping me focused and making sure I stopped at Chalet Reynard for a break.

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The last 6km from Chalet Reynard has a gradient around 7%, but is more exposed. Apart from the temperature, we were extremely fortunate because the wind was gusting at a relatively sedate 20 – 30kmh. The following day, the day the Belgiums were climbing Ventoux from all sides turned out to be a particularly nasty day, high temperature s and very high winds.

If you cast your mind back to last year, the TdF Mont Ventoux stage was meant to finish on the summit, but impossibly windy conditions had the finish brought back down to Chalet Reynard.

A quick stop at the Simpson Memorial before tacking the last 1.5km at 10% before cresting.  What a ride, what a day, what a view.

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Chappeau to the guys who rode the double and triple climbs of Ventoux. An amazing feat.

Strava route for Day 2 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1039650729

Day 3 – Village loop.

It all started beautifully, a civilised 9am start, the first 10 kms a lovely gentle descent, wandering through numerous old villages on the way to St Didier, where we stopped for a coffee and a quick walk around town.

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The ride back to the Villa in Seguret turned a little shite. The fabled winds of Provence picked up and we ended up slogging our way back uphill and fighting head and cross winds. The group splintered into 3, with me and my best mate Steve Saunders, who stayed behind to help me finish, bringing up the rear.

A brutal end, but an mother unforgettable ride through the villlages and vineyards of Provence.

One observation in the first few days was the absence of bananas. A staple diet for cyclists in Australia, the lack of Bananas seemed strange in a Cycle mad part of the world.

Until we caught a glimpse of bananas in a stall in one of the villages we passed through on the way out. The Saturday morning village market was small, with around 15 stalls, but the quality of produce was superb, it had our resident chef Chris salivating.

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A bunch of Bananas, and a bag of ripe juicy apricots later had us back on our way.

A lovely coffee in the Main Street of St Didier sitting under the tree canopies watching the village life pass us by was very pleasant.

Memories, too many to jot down here, but being served by a young friendly waitress, only to see her a few minutes later jump onto a scooter with a full face motocross helmet and gun it across the road stood out.

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Strava route for Day 3 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1040643210

Day 4 – Gorge de la Nesque

The next day had us waking to yet another glorious morning, the wind had died down presenting us with a promise of a superb days riding conditions.  Today’s ride had us heading through some more character laden villages and typical french countryside over to the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque.

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Gorges Village

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The Gorges de la Nesque is a 17.6 km ride, but averaging at around 2.2%, it was a relatively “relaxing” ride to allow us to spin the legs out, although that didn’t seem to stop the other guys, who quickly disappeared on the horizon. Steve held himself back to ride with me – superb views over the right shoulder as we slowly ascended to the lookout.

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Gorges 4

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After regrouping back at the village at the start of the Gorges, we headed across to Bedoin for lunch, and then back to the Villa.

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Strava route for Day 4 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1042691649

Day 5 – Riders Choice.

The body was starting to feel a little sore. My arse. Ouch.  Beardy, Ferg, Richie and Ed split into two groups and did different ascents of Mont Ventoux. Chris, George, Steve decided to clean up and head down to the Roman Village for a coffee before our transition phase tomorrow.

Me, I headed out to do some sightseeing – on the bike of course. A discussion with George last night had a few alternatives that I could tackle depending on how the body held up.

The local town Seguret is built into the side of a step hill/cliff, old, cobbled roads, amazing.

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A quick look around Sablet before cruising over to Vaison La Romaine. A local tribe established a small village on top of a rocky promontory, which grew into a village across the other side of the river, connected by an arched cobbled bridge. A meander around a surprisingly large town before a coffee in the square.

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Next stop was Crestet, another historic town built a few hundred metres above the plains. I initially wanted to look at this town, but the road continued through and up into natural bushland, so what’s a man to do but to carry on riding up following the road to its natural paved ending.

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Next stop, Malsuscene for a lunch of Quiche and Sausage roll from the patisserie before I looped back around towards the Villa, via a stunning climb up to Suzette.

 

IMG_0325IMG_0331IMG_0336IMG_0339IMG_0345IMG_0351IMG_0354IMG_0357All up, what was meant to be a cruisy day ended up a 73km ride with 1400m of climbing.

A few of us popped up to the old village for a walkaround.

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Strava route for Day 5 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1044057197

My heat map for the Provence stage of the trip

Heat Map 1

Part 2 – Rhone Alps

 

Day 6 – Transition to the Alpes

We transitioned over to the French Alps after dropping Beardy McBeardy off in Carpentras for his next gig before his TdF duties.

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The hotel we were staying at is about a few hunj metres from the dam wall, the start of the Glandon/Croix der Fer (Iron Cross) climb.

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A quick settling in before we popped out for a ride up to Villard Reculas, with its 7 hairpins before passing over through the Col de la Confessions before dropping down to Huez, the old town halfway up the famous Alpe d Huez climb. The views from the Confession down onto the valley some 700m above the valley floor below were outstanding. (The next day we got to look up at Huez and the road from Reculas, the road at Col de la Confessions was carved into the side of the sheer exposed rock face of the mountain, unbelievable).

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Looking down onto Huez from Col de la Confessions

A quick drink at a cafe in Huez before backtracking back to our hotel in Allemond.

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The hotel is staffed by Dutch, who in a similar manner to the Belgiums with Mont Ventoux, have effectively laid claim to Alp de Huez as their own. No air conditioning to provide comfort in this heat wave had some unsettled nights, but on a positive note, the beer was good. A surprise at this hotel was the 7 Euro lunch (pasta) and laundry deal each day, Kit washed each evening, returned by 8, and pasta lunch thrown in, bargain. Pasta was quite simple, but the pasta bar was open till around 4:30 in the afternoon so we were able to get back in good time most days.

Strava route for Day 6 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1045816503

Day 7 – Glandon/Croix de Fer

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As for all days, George opened up the ride options to the group for discussion. The double Glandon was targeted by Richie, Ed, Ferg and George. These guys are animals. Me, I was going to be happy with the Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross).

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The Col de la Croix de Fer is a spectacular. At 27.5 km long at an average gradient of 4.7% doesn’t sound much, but there are some downhill sections, made up with some particularly steep 11% sections. The bottom takes you through forested land with waterfalls and beautiful snatches of views up through the valley as you slowly ascend up towards the dam 2/3 of the way up. Once you hit the dam, it the valley opens right up allowing you to see almost all the way up to the summit.

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Just past the dam I stopped for a quiet relaxing “picnic” of a Nutella and apricot jam baguette I’d prepared in the morning. Shoes off, socks off, jersey off, bib straps down, sitting in the middle of nature looking up at the snow capped granite mountain peaks, listening to the waterfalls and smelling the grease mountain air – this is the life.

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Alas, I had to get back on the bike to finish off the ride to the top, back down to the turnoff to the Glandon summit, all of a couple of hundred metres before gliding back down to the cafe at the turnoff to catch up with Steve who had for the first time  driven the van up to support the riders.  The previous night George had highly recommended the tart of the day at this cafe, and ask for Chantil cream. For some reason, we saw a lot of canned cream in cafes over in France, particularly on top of the cappuccinos, but you need to ask for Chantil cream – real dairy cream.  Blueberry tart was the tart of the day, a generous serving with blueberry flavoured cream, an excellent suggestion George.

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croix de fer

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croix de fer 3

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The descent back down to Allemond was brilliant, but over way too fast. We did hit a lot of road works today as they prepared the road for Stage 17 of the TdF – La Mure to Serre-Chevalier – 183km, 5,421m total climbing as they take on the Croix de Fer, Telegraph and Galibier.  The route will take them past the front door of our hotel in Allemont – S on the below map.

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Strava route for Day 7 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1047249292

Day 8 – Alpe d’Huez.

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This was the stage everyone was waiting for.

21 hairpins

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In case you wonder, the numbering starts at the top, so the first No you see on your ascent is 21

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Strava route for Day 8 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1048771839

Day 9 – Telegraphe / Galibier.

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Only to follow it up with another classic of the TdF, the Telegraphe/Galibier. We were riding on the mountains where cycling history was made. As George said, if your cycling juices don’t flow up the Galibier, then nothing will.

 

The Telegraphe was a pretty bog standard warm up climb.

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Telegraphe

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But the Galibier, that was just out of this world.  The highest road passage in France at 2600m, riding up though the jagged peaks, With snow dotted around here and there is an experience I will never forget.

Riding along the Valley, looking up towards the bleak dark snow capped peaks was pretty awe inspiring. Being overtaken by countless high performance sports cars was pretty special. Stopping at the bottom of the start of the steep climb with 8.5km to reach the Col was just mind blowing.

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Galibier 2

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Galibier

The view from the top of the Galibier looking down the other side was stunning.

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The Omlette and chips lunch 8 km down the other side was well received.

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And the 60km descent on the other side wasn’t bad either.

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Strava route for Day 9 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1050357544

Day 10 – Balconies

Last day, and a fairly cruisy ride with a “bit of climbing”.  Part way of Huez before taking a right at the fifth turn and riding across the “Balkans”, a road “dug” into the side of the cliff. Once again, the views back down onto the valley onto Le Borg d’ Oisans were astounding.

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We then popped back to Le Borg d’ Oisans for a coffee and a chat about where to next. The options were a long 12% climb up to Villard-Notre-Dame Lafond through a tunnel, or a slightly easier ride to Le Plan du Col. Being the last ride, we chose the latter.

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We finished off with lunch back in Le Borg d’ Oisans, and alas, the official tour for this group was over.

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After lunch, I went for a little ride around the top of Allemond.

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Unfortunately i forgot to charge my bike computer the night before, so my strava map is a tad short.

Strava Ride for Day 10 – https://www.strava.com/activities/1051875853

 

Wrap up.

This was for me a challenging but very rewarding cycling trip. Seeing and riing on the roads and up the mythical climbs of Ventoux, Gaibier and Alpe d’ Huez seemed dreamlike. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face on completing these climbs.

Riding through the old villages of France, stopping at the markets, dropping into cafes and just chilling and experiencing life abroad with a great bunch of guys was relaxing and mesmerizing.

I realize that this was only scratching the surface of cycling on the continent, but the joy and wonderment of this tour with Unique Cycling Tours, I’ve come to the realisation that this itch cannot be soothed with just this one scratch.

To that end, I’d like to thank the guys who formed the small team. Ferg, Ed, Ritchie, Chris and Marcus. It was an absolute pleasure sharing the road with you.

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And finally to the Unique Cycling Tours team, George Wilson (right in the below picture) and Steve Sanders (left), thanks for your support and guidance throughout.  Two wonderful staging points in Seguret and Allemond.  A well organised and enjoyable tour. Your local experience, including an intimate uderstanding of the weather conditions lessened our concerns and let us focus on enjoying the rides.

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Steve and George on top of Huez

 

One bit of warning about George though – when George says there is a wee bit of climbing, be prepared for some more hard slogging.

If anyone wants to speak to me about my experiences, or are looking for some tips about travelling overseas with your bike, all it will take is a good cup of coffee and a chocolate doughnut or a zepolli.

Cheers

 

till next time

tight spokes

iPib

Rider of the Week – Neville Bebee

Oh dear, it’s been a very very busy 3 weeks, only got around  getting stuck into the packing for my trip to France to join George Wilson and the Unique Cycling Tours team over in Provence.  Bike packed yesterday, spent a good portion of this afternoon trying to get 35 kg down to below 30.  I got there, but jeez, 30kg isnt much when your travelling with a bike.

Anyway, suffice to say I’ve had no chance to think about this weeks blog, let alone pull something together.

So, fortunately I can draw upon one of  my  riders of the week to help out.

This guy is so special, he’s got the whole of this weeks blog to himself.

 

Lets give it up for Neville Bebee

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  • So, let’s hear a little about you.  How long have you been cycling?

As a kid, my bike was freedom from home. I remember ending up in an ambulance once when I rode into the back of a parked car at Firle – showing my “no hands” skill! I have been crashing ever since.
I bought my first “real” road bike – a steel Shogun Katana 7 speed from the now closed bike shop on Kensington Road – best guess in the late 70’s. I still have the bike and actually rode it in Gus’s H’eroica a couple of years ago. Going up Blockers at 20% I understood why bike invention and technology keeps going forward…

  • What got you started in cycling?

I am Adelaide born and bred so I don’t really know the answer. I loved sport so a bike just got me to the footy oval or tennis court.
It wasn’t until I left Adelaide in 1994 to work in Perth that I became more than just a weekend occasional rider. My older brother had been in Perth for many years and I convinced him to dust off his clunker so we could check out my new city. Next thing we stopped to watch a Vet’s race (now Masters) and we both decided to give it a crack.
It was an interesting experience getting smacked in a sprint by a 70 year old with a false hip, but I persevered and learnt a few tricks from these old guys – many of them ex-pro’s. From that came the cycling holidays and I was hooked.

  • How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?

I have never sold a bike, so the collection has grown somewhat. In order of purchase:
Shogun Katana 7 speed steel
Wheeler 7100 9 speed Aluminium
Colnago C40 – Geo 10 speed Campag Record
Scott mountain bike that never gets used
De Rosa King – 10- speed Campag Record
Colnago EPS – 10 speed Sram Red
Merida Scultera 907 (my first 11 speed) Ultegra
BMC Roadmaster 2 (my first disc and Ultegra Di2)

I ride most of them still but my favourite work of art is the C 40. The BMC though is the most compliant and reliable bike I have ever ridden. It looks like it belongs in Vietnam with the “bold” colour scheme, but a cracker bike.

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• What bike do you covet?

Nothing on my radar but I reckon I have a bike or two in me yet, subject to Finance Minster’s approval. I may look to get some lighter wheels for the BMC next year.

  • Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?

After Perth we lived in Sydney for another 7 years. I met a great cycling community (Sydney Easyriders) but the squeezy living with 6M people did my head in. When we came home to Adelaide 5 years ago we bought a little hobby farm at Ashton, not far from the Co-Op. Upside is I have a massive shed and a bike man cave inside the massive shed. Nirvana.
To justify all that to my wife, I needed to pretend to fix stuff. These days I will try just about anything – new chains and clusters no worries, and I have moved onto cables etc. Rebuilt a hub last year but no skills in truing a wheel – yet.
I do understand the need to support the local bike shop, so in need, I use Whippets or BE. Both have been very good to me.

  • What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?

Gee, just about everything – I have Campag, SRAM and Shimano stuff. Even went for the digit floor pump. My last buy was a little tool to get the bolts off your front chain ring. Will have a crack at that when my 34 tooth inner ring next packs it in.

  • What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?

I do actually enjoy the Ashton Cycling Club kit. It was a joint venture of design from about 10 people and the end result gets a lot of good comments. I would tell anyone to think twice before embarking on that custom kit journey though – it comes with some pain along the way.

  • What are your pet love and hates about cycling?

A tad tricky, because most of my best days in the last 20 years have been on a bike – and most appeared to involve Hop Based Sports drinks (thanks for that one Dave Edwards) followed by crushed grapes. Shared with mates, either in the Adelaide Hills or overseas, you get a chance to just relax from pressures of the world and just be you.
A few years ago I thought that absolutely no wankers ride bikes. Yes it is true, triathletes may not have any personality, but they may still be nice people. With the corporatisation of cycling, I do see a lot of mini groups with thousand dollar bikes and two dollar legs. You see them riding all over the road and sending drivers into a frenzy. Fortunately the hills are not their favourite haunt so I am largely spared.
We are (or at least should be) a fraternity. Regardless of who is passing you, you don’t need to exchange latest low carb diet recipes, but just acknowledge their presence with a nod or little Aussie finger wave.

  • Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?

I can’t say how blown away I was with the IPWR and how gutted I was with the way it ended. I met one of the riders heading up Greenhill Road on my commute home. 100% admiration, but they all have a screw loose.
Like most I suppose, I like the hard men of the peleton, even though I am sure I would not qualify in that space myself. I heard Jen Voight at one of his earliest post retirement talks, with Stu O’Grady, and he was brilliant.
I get a sense from reading his book, that Robbie McEwen would have been a tad prickly to have in the bunch, but his win stage 1 of the TdF 10 years ago was truly epic. Older readers may remember he fell with 10 kms to go and his entire Lotto team came back to collect him. He chased on to the back of the peleton and then ripped them a second one.
Not sure I liked Cipollini when he was racing, but after being in Italy, I had a better sense of the over the top style aspect of Italian racing. The only time I can recall actually being in tears watching racing on telly was when Mick Rogers crashed and broke his collarbone whilst being the virtual TdF leader.
No mention of Cadel – good rider but…..

  • Where would you take them to eat?

Lost in the Forest, at Uraidla. Good home-made pizza matched with good local crushed grapes.

  • What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?

So many, but three stand out. Four of us had a Winnebago TdF trip and we were parked in Burgundy to chase Le Tour. We left at 10 am, road lots, met Didier (The Devil) then embarked on drinking and riding a quasi-progressive dinner chasing other friends of ours.
We finished back at the van about 2 o’clock the next morning – still in lycra.

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The other two come from a fairly recent trip to Dolomites. The Sella Ronde is just an amazing place and day ride – postcard perfect.
Finally on the same trip we climbed from the Bormeo side of Stelvio and down Umbrail Pass into Switzerland, then around the base before climbing again back up the more famous side of Stelvio. We were gone for some 12 hours of pretty hard riding, burnt out a pair of carbon wheels but got back to the hotel just in time for dinenr – and many Hops Based drinks.

  • Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?

You know the saying – only two types of cyclists. I am very much the first kind. I’ve busted a few collar-bones over the years. One got pinned, and the anaesthetic crept into my lungs and shut them down. I ended up in ICR on life support till I could breathe on my own. It was not nice waking up that one – but better than not waking up.
Another collar bone parted company only 3 weeks before I was travelling overseas to ride. Double handle-bar tape and plenty of Hop Based Sports drinks got me thru. Mainly fall to my left side, so clearly I need to concentrate more on that side.

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  • What is your favourite post ride cafe, and what would you normally buy as a treat?

We really try not to ride the same circuits too often. Aaron at the Aristologist at Summertown has no religious senses at all, so open on all Public Holidays. Woodside has a couple that we use, and the Organic (Stirling) or Freds (Aldgate) are perfect on a nice sunny day. Puss-in-boots at Cudlee Creek also makes some mean scones. We usually aim for a Hill’s mid ride coffee, and then if time allows, a Hop Based recovery drink after.

  • Do you have a favourite overseas country in mind you’d love to take your bike to?

Curses to SBS for not showing the Giro, and house renovations means I have no Foxtel at the moment. I would love to ride from south to north through Sardinia and into Corsica. The Finance Minister is now claiming she wants to be more involved, and has suggested we do the Belgian Spring Classics for the frites. She is a keeper.

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  • What is your favourite local training route?

The new BMC has helped me explore a bit more gravel – not that I was lacking prior anyway.
So many secret rides. My favourites vary according to the seasons. The Brikunga loop always surprises me with its beauty.

  • What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?

She may read this so I have never told a cycling lie……………..

The Colnago EPS was bought on E-Bay by mistake. The crazy bid that actually won. It was supposed to end up at a mates but he was too short, so I kept it…at least that is what Marg was told….

  • What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?

I am pretty tight on spending for cycling accessories. I did lash out on a new pair of cycling shoes recently, but most of my “kit” gets many years of work (although never a fan of transparent knicks). I would like a new set of photo-chromatic sunnies and/or maybe a new helmet…but not a poxy Poc.

  • Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?

Not really. “My” club (self-appointed President and route-master), the Ashton Cycling Club is very inclusive and always open for riders to join in. “We” (sometimes just me) ride almost exclusively through the hills for 70-80 kms with a coffee stop somewhere. You only need a fair base of fitness and not be a wanker to join us.

  • From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?

For me personally I love the Hills. It is a true 4 season climate, and I live 30 mins from the CBD Post Office but on 18 acres for the cost of a 2 bedroom s$ithole apartment in Sydney. Great sense of community up there still and we know all our neighbours.

  • What is your go to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?

I work hard to get people as lost as possible in the hills. I bumped into a large Queensland cycling group (The Fox & Hounds) at the last TDU in Uraidla. I took them over to the Burdetts Road descent. Despite my warning, one of them took most of his backside clean off after going over his bars. Felt bad for him. His week was finished on Day 1.
I never get sick of Montacute Road descent – do it 2 or 3 times a week and love it each time. I would then take them back home via New Norton, with a possible detour via The Scenic or to Uraidla for rehydration and most think they have had a good day. Can always toss a Cherryville in for the guns.

  • Is there anything else you feel like talking about?

Two things whilst I have my 15 mins of Wednesday Legs fame.

1 – I am so tired of the car v bike aggro. We are without doubt the more vulnerable of the two on the roads, and it makes no sense why we go out of our way to be dickheads when riding. I do often ride two abreast, but always aware of my surroundings and jump into single file at the first sign of traffic, and it costs nothing to acknowledge the driver with a quick nod if they do the right thing as they pass. Let us start the move towards safer roads. Legal requirements and posting videos on social media will never solve the issue.

Secondly, I have seen a lot of one day classics and all three Grand Tours overseas, and the TDU stacks up very well. After 20 years we seem to be getting a bit tired of the event, despite it getting bigger each year (records crowds each year ???) . Embrace the race!! It would be an economic and social travesty if we lost it to those Victorian Mexicans. Take the week off like I do, and get out on the pedals with me – you are guaranteed a ball, and plenty of Hop based sports drink…

 

Thanks Nev, it’s been an absolute pleasure, and am looking forward to getting back out on the road with you again, it’s been too long between drinks.

 

Till next time, whenever that is

Tight spokes comrades

iPib

 

And so Autumn turns to Winter in the Southern Hemisphere

The Furore

Don’t forget

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Celebrate the Queens Birthday Public Holiday on Monday 12th June with only the fifth ever opportunity to complete your Radelaide winter endurance riding test: The Furore.

You may be able to ride 5 ways up to Lofty on any day of the year…and it is certainly a solid ride. But only one day per year you get to claim to have ridden “The Furore”. It can only be done on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday Monday and it is undertaken regardless of weather conditions.

Starting from the bottom of the freeway – the north east corner of Portrush and the freeway under the big gum tree (not at the toll gates) – climbs will be in order of:

1. Freeway and summit via Shurdington Rd
2. Down Greenhill Rd to the Glynburn Rd roundabout then climb straight back up
3. Down Sheoak Rd & Belair Rd to the Springbank Rd intersection then climb straight back up
4. Down Greenhill Rd to Onkaparinga Valley Rd in Balhannah then climb straight back up
5. Down Norton Summit Rd to Magill Rd via Woods Hill Rd then climb straight back up

Finish with the descent of the Freeway again.

Each ascent will conclude at the summit of Mt Lofty (not the Lofty Gates).

Total distance is approximately 144km with around 3500m vertical.  Strava segment here.  https://www.strava.com/segments/4367485

The nature of this long ride does not suit one big group riding at a common pace, so each to their own pace – if a group(s) form, then that is fine. There is no set start time; start when you want.

There will be no briefing because there is none required.

Further details here – The Furore

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Bike Kitchen – Indy Pac Wheel Race

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The Adelaide Bike Kitchen exists to promote bike and DIY culture, helping you build a relationship with your bike, help you learn how to keep your steed rollin’ fresh, all in a relaxed environment where the catch up and shared dinner is just as important and the bike building and shared tips.

If you ride, or even if you don’t, if you know heaps or purely think a handlebar is a (perfectly respectable) type of facial decoration, you are welcome to swing by, drop in or call past to check out what we are doing, what people are making or what we are eating. we WILL most likely be talking about bikes though.

adelaidebikekitchen@gmail.com

 

The Adelaide Bike Kitchen hosted a unique event last Sunday, a post Indian Pacific Wheel Race discussion from the SA riders Claire, Sam, Davin, James, Hugh and Chris, talking about their experiences on the road, the highs and lows, the tears, the laughs.

I wasn’t able to get there, but I have been given permission from Darren Williams to post some photos from his Facebook Site

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A pic from the Bike Kitchen

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Giro Classica

Tom Dumoulin produced a superb time trial on the last stage of the Giro d’Italia, coming from fourth place after an out and out classic mountain stage the day before,  to win the race by 31 seconds from Nairo Quintana.

Just 53 seconds behind Quintana coming into the stage, Dumoulin, was the favourite to take the overall win, and although his efforts were not enough to deny compatriot Jos Van Emden the stage win, it was enough to give the Netherlands a first ever Giro d’Italia victory.

171632_65833094128-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 21 Monza - Milano; 2017, Bahrain - Merida; Nibali, Vincenzo; Milano;28-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 21 Monza - Milano; 2017, Movistar; Quintana Rojas Nairo, Alexander; Milano;173015_0bd2ba19-85f3-4f1b-8c17-18fd6f2d243228-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 21 Monza - Milano; 2017, Team Sunweb; Dumoulin, Tom; Milano Piazza Duomo;28-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 21 Monza - Milano; 2017, Movistar; 2017, Team Sunweb; 2017, Bahrain - Merida; Quintana Rojas Nairo, Alexander; Dumoulin, Tom; Nibali, Vincenzo; Milano Piazza Duomo;175956_658322753Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 21 -  Monza (Autodromo Nazionale) a Milano - ITT -  27,6 km ( 17 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 21

A few other photos from the earlier stages that stand out in my eye

Two weeks before My Cycling Tour to France

Hard to believe my trip to France with Unique Cycling Tours it is a short two weeks away. I’ve barely had time to give it some serious thought, other than getting the training in to get the VAMs into the legs.

I haven’t quite been able to get the continuous riding in across multiple days, so how the body will respond after multiple riding days, but all things considered, I’m not as apprehensive now as I was a few months back.

  March – 611km 13,178 vam March

April – 723km 17,828 vam

April

May – 652 km 16,868 vam

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Some of the climbs on offer include:

GLAN2GLAN

TEL

GAL

AH

ADH

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Provence, which is one of two regions we are riding through, also features the stunning Gorge de la Nesque and the village of Sault, the Plateau d’Albion which is the second highest mountain in the region. The area is cycling nirvana with the Montagne de Lure (at 1800m) and between the Plateau d’Albion and the Baronnies to the north is the 1212m Col de l’Homme Mort – Dead Man’s Pass!

 

I’ll be setting up an electronic travel log for the trip, posting the trip, you can watch me here.

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https://www.polarsteps.com/IanPibworth/131732-unique-cycling-tours-france-trip

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Autumn Photos

Well, winter hit us in Adelaide on Sunday morning with spectacular fashion. Needless to say that all that remains of the beautiful Autumn riding in the Adelaide Hills are memories, and the promise that Spring is not that far away.

So, to help keep those memories in the medial temporal lobe during these upcoming dark cold winter months, below are some photographs that I have captured over the last few months.

 

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The Tile

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OK, It’s stupid O’Clock in the morning, it’s so cold and dark outside, so warm and enticing under the duna, but you roll your sorry ass out of bed, roll through the motions of gearing up, but you can’t find your phone. You can’t leave without that safety backup. You just never know when you need to call a friend to pull you out of deep doodoo.

Fear not, as the Tile Mate will help you find your phone.  All you have to do is press one of the small ‘tiles’ and it will send a signal to make your phone ring.

This also works vice-versa — attach one of the tiles to luggage, a backpack or even your bike and ring from your phone and it will play a loud tune until you find it.

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There’s also an app if you’ve left your item out of earshot and need to find its last location. Perfect if you have a habit of misplacing your keys, or anything else you fancy attaching a tile to.

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Given my history, I’m gonna need to buy some shares.

Available at the apple store, JB HiFi Superstores and Harvey Norman

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Blast from the Past

From the ever fascinating The Cycling Scrapbook Facebook site.

 

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CAMERA BEATS WEATHER AND JUDGES ?
At the 1979 Australian Road Championships at Adelaide’s Paracombe circuit, the weather was atrocious making photography very difficult but the camera at least got a grainy result.
It was possibly not the same result that the Judges got.
The Championship for the Juniors was awarded to Tasmanian Greg Lawler (left) from Jeffrey Beer NSW (right) ….. Hmmm !
Third place clearly to Maurice Shannon NSW. [Copyright]

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Rider of the Week – Mark Matthews

my first bike

This weeks riders is one of Adelaide’s cycling characters. Mark loves cycling with an absolute passion, has a wonderful finance Sarah who is equally passionate about cycling, and has a young daughter Ruby who is growing up surrounded by bicycles.

This is Marks story.

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Mark is a Systems Administrator and Asset Accountant in a major metropolitan council, working with an infrastructure asset management system for which he was part of the implementation team a couple of years ago. It definitely provides him with all of the challenges he needs, and with his diversity of experience,  he also gets to work in other areas such as payroll, finance, fleet and IS.

  • Smudge Monkees,  what is that all about?

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This started off with me wanting to do some fund and awareness raising for several charities, but not wanting to do it under my own name. Creating a brand gave me something to hide behind, and it didn’t have to be about me. I have a strong history of mental health issues, suicide, and cancer in my family, so these hold a special place for me.

  • My First Bike

This pains me deeply to say, the first bike I bought for myself was a gold glitter painted dragster, complete with 6 foot chrome sissy bar, ape hangers, and 3 speed Sturmey Archer.

Why the pain? Because as a ten year old, I resprayed it rattle can blue, threw away the sissy bar, ape hangers and gears, and added a small saddle, cow horns, and strategically wrapped copper wire in the hub, so that by back pedalling, it would change gears. I really wish now that I had kept it all original and actually looked after it!

  • What got you into cycling.

I guess I stopped cycling at about 19 or 20. I may have purchased a panel van at about that age also, but I’m sure the loss of interest in cycling was just a coincidence, and not attached to that event at all.

Approaching my 40th birthday, the Dadman was diagnosed with his first bout of bowel cancer, I was topping the scales at well over 100kg, and a work colleague invited me to join in on a corporate triathlon, offering to buy me a extra extra extra extra large t-shirt to compete in. To assist me in my preparation for the tri, he lent me a Giessauf road bike to train on, and from that point on, I was addicted once more.

  • How many bikes have I owned

That’s a little scary to think about, there have been a few. From 0-19, I worked my way through seven bikes, starting from the classic three wheeler, progressing to a Standish with a whole 12 gears! That was a pretty awesome moment having a bike with more than three speeds.

From 40, I have had a few different bikes, bought some, inherited some, found a couple in hard waste, totalling 20 bikes. So 27 in 52 years is pretty reasonable I think….

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Naturally I don’t still have all of these, some have been given to friends, some to new arrivals in Australia, and a couple to ABK. I think at the moment I am down to 10 bikes, being a mix of road bikes, mountain bike, fixie, vintage, cyclocross, tandem, choppers and a cargobike.

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There is also a vintage tricycle hanging from the roof of the bike shed for decoration!

I don’t have an actual favourite in the current collection, but my Wilier CX is my go to commuter and tourer, the Focus roadie is my go to when I want to ride faster, and the Christiania trike is the go to for quaxing and transporting Miss Ruby.

  • What bikes do I covet

Oooh, bright shiny thing! This is an ever changing list, for so many different reasons.

If I can put together about $7,000, it would be a Christiania Taxi. We had the opportunity of taking a lady with a brain tumour out for a ride a month or so ago. It was a real feel good moment, not just for me, but for her, and her husband. I’d really like to be able to do more rides like that, and give others the opportunity to do it too.

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I would love to have the old rainbow Giessauf back, but if I was going to buy a replacement, I did spy a rainbow Stinner the other day that was just draw dropping.

  • What do you get out of cycling.

Poorer. I get poorer.

Apart from that, I got a fiancée and an awesome daughter, they were two unexpected bonuses from cycling.

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Personally, I, like many, rely on cycling to help with my overall wellbeing. I find that time on the bike, any bike, and any amount of time, just helps to keep the black dog at a safe distance. As a consummate hubbard, I also like to help others with their cycling, whether that be teaching them some of the basic skills of holding a wheel, or helping them climb a hill. I’m not a competitive cyclist, I don’t find any personal satisfaction in racing, but I do enjoy watching it, and cheering or heckling.

I also love seeing Miss Ruby grow up in our cycling community too. She’s been riding in a cargo bike since she was three days old, she currently has two balance bikes, and for her third birthday she got her first pedal bike.

We recently added a WeeHoo to the stable too, which allows us to take part in events such as the Lofty 105 and Gravelaide as a family, and she loves it.

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  • Do you do all your own maintenance

No. Well, we do some, but generally get others to do it, so that we can spend our free time riding bikes, and make sure that the work that is getting done is done right. We’re really spoiled for choices in Adelaide for bike shops, but the main ones I frequent are International Cycles Stepney, and Standish Cycles Mile End. Yes, these are smaller stores, but the staff are always awesome, and you always receive personal professional attention. Having the range of bikes we do, there are other shops we get to less frequently such as MiCycles, 99 Bikes Prospect and Bicycle Express Halifax St, but they all cater to the various needs we have with such a wide cross-section of bikes.

  • Favourite bit of kit

I use Champion Systems currently for all my kit, as we get all of it custom-made for us, and we don’t have to buy in large quantities. There is no doubt for me that the Barrel of Monkeys kit I’m currently wearing is my favourite design so far, but my go to piece would have to be a musette. Yes, I am that Hubbardy that even off the bike, I use a musette to carry stuff in.

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  • What was your best cycling dinner

I’ve had a pretty amazing time in cycling, and last year we had the opportunity to have dinner with the Orica team at the Legends Dinner, which included having Jens come join us for a while. That was pretty much living the dream for us.

  • What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories

One of the cycling community from the former Adelaide Cyclists site decided to run a session at the dog kennels, teaching people how best to ride hills. I decided to go along, just in case he needed a hand in running it, or taking groups up to the Bollards after their skills session on the stationery trainer.

I was chatting with various riders who I already knew, and then got chatting with one I hadn’t met before.

We rode down Cross Rd together, me chatting away merrily, not realising that this rider was actually trying to race me down the hill to coffee, even though her participation in the conversation dropped the faster we pedalled.

One ride led to another, and before we knew it, we were making life plans together, which of course changed dramatically after one particular ride, which resulted in Miss Ruby joining our tribe.

We’ve had some crazy rides together, most of them have included some very special people who we hold very dear to us, including riding to Lorne to do the Amy’s Gran Fondo, and riding from Port Pirie to Wentworth with another crazy mate who was riding from Perth.

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  • Have you had any nasty crashes

I’ve been pretty lucky with my cycling, and haven’t had too many significant crashes. I was used as a bonnet mascot by a driver when I was early forties, which fortunately only resulted in dermal abrasion therapy to my face and right arm. I had a touching cloth moment when I was descending at stupid speed and got the death wobbles. Really thought I was going to go over the edge, but managed to get it back under control before getting thrown off.

  • Whats the biggest cycling lie you told?

Am I nuts by saying that if you have to lie about it, you’re not going to enjoy it? Sarah and I are in the envious position of both of us loving our cycling, and being honest about our bike lust with each other. Naturally, this does tend to result in N+2, as if one of us gets a new bike, well, it’s hardly fair that the other misses out now is it?

  • What is the next cycling related thing you’d like?

I’d always welcome a new bike, and remember folks, bikes aren’t just a birthday gift, their an everyday gift, but failing that, probably some new light weight camping gear. What passed as light weight hiking 35-40 years ago, is almost triple the weight of the new gear! So standard stuff like a tent, insulated sleep mat, and some cook wear. (I have an itemised priced list if you want mate?)

  • Local Group to Plug

Since we’re out of the game temporarily of organising rides and events, there are a couple of groups out there doing awesome stuff for cycling.

The Port Adelaide Cycling Club has to be the friendliest, most accepting and welcoming club I have ever been involved in. They organise competitive events for all skill levels, social rides, forays interstate to take part in other events such as CX Nationals, and are family friendly. So friendly and supportive of family, that they actually have categories for the kids in the CX races. (Kids race free this year at CX, you just need to buy a licence for them, which is very awesome!) There were 3 kids in little crossers on the 7 th May, and about 40 in junior crossers! Massive shout out to the committee and volunteers who make all of this possible for us to enjoy.

The other would be Gravelaide. This is a new group to the scene, developed by three mates with a passion for gravel cycling. We’ve had two events so far, and each has had its own unique tests and challenges. These are limited number events to somewhere around 125 participants, and you get the opportunity to ride places these guys have discovered, with some amazing views. Bonus of course is the beer and burger at the end of these rides.

For pre and post ride coffee, cake and meals, we are very fond of Bici. Danny and Toni do a lot for the local community, and especially for the cycling community. Danny himself is a very keen cyclist, and does so much to support quite a number of charities, including the Leukemia Foundation where he was a sponsor and participant in their recent Ride As One tour from St Kilda, Victoria to Adelaide.

  • What do I love about Adelaide

There’s a non-cycling persective to Adelaide?

We love living city fringe. For us, we can walk or ride short distances, and we’re at work, or we’re on Prospect Road, O’Connell St, or Melbourne St with all of the eateries and entertainment they have to offer. We live basically across the road from the parklands, so we get to go for runs or walks with Harriet Dumpsalot and Ruby, and not have to worry much about the traffic.

We love the fact that no matter where we go in Adelaide, we are invariably going to bump into someone we know.

  • What is your non-cycling go to place for interstaters?

Still not sure what you mean by non-cycling? If we have visitors come over, and they haven’t brought bikes with them, we lend them bikes. The beauty of Adelaide is that we really can get everywhere by bike, and we get priority parking right out the front when we get there!

If by chance they are non-cyclists, there is still every opportunity that we will ride somewhere to meet them, and that is usually a kid friendly place, or somewhere that Miss Ruby is already known to the owners.

E for Ethel is great for catch-ups with some of the interstaters we know. Dan does great food, (try his pancakes!), and there are play spaces nearby for the kids either before, after, or both.

  • Cycling and Us

In case you haven’t picked up, bikes are pretty important to us. We made the decision three years ago to get rid of the second car, and just keep one family car. It wasn’t as hard a decision as it sounds, as every time I went to use the second car, I had to call the RAA to jump start it for us. This has worked out really well for us, and most days our car is left unused, and we are on our bikes.

Getting the cargo bike was the icing on the cake for this. It means we can go out and do all of our shopping with bikes, and easily fit the weeks groceries and Miss Ruby in the bike. I’ve recently attached a fork mount to the pannier rack of the cargo bike, which means when we need to, we can tow another bike behind us to an event, or even to the bike shop for maintenance, without it impeding on Miss Ruby’s space.

  • Favourite Quotes

We love this shit!

Keep the rubber side down.

I’ll use the first half of the event as training for the second half.

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Hope you enjoyed this weeks posting.

The next months postings may or may not be sporadic, I’ll see what I can do.

 

Till next time we speak

tight spokes

iPib

Drunken Sailors

Stories From The Road – Riding the Indi-Pac

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Interested in a fun packed afternoon of listening to local Legends Jaimes Raison and Sam “Go the Mo” Jeffries talk? Next Sunday, May 28, between 2 and 4pm, you can listen to James and Sam bounce off each other as they try to outdo each other on their epic tales of courage, living off roadkill (roadhouse food) and shouting sweet nothings to each other in the dead of night as they made their way across the Nullabor Plain in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race.

Its not just limited to the 2 clowns, with SA riders Claire, Davin #900pumps, Hugh and Chris have kindly agreed to speak about riding Indi-Pac 2017

Head on down to the Adelaide Bike Kitchen, 22 Gibson St, Bowden (enter off Third Av.), Bowden 5007. Next Week, Sunday, May 28 at 2 PM – 4 PM

  • 2.00pm Meet and mingle with Adelaide’s cycling community.
  • 3.00pm The riders speak and answer questions about the Indi-Pac experience. The preparation, the highs and the lows and maybe show us some of their photos or video from the road. How to honour the loss of Mike? Would they go again?

It’s also a good chance to see and learn more about the Adelaide Bike Kitchen community who are kindly hosting us.

BYO chairs, snacks and drinks. Entry: Gold Coin Donation to support the Kitchen.

Watch the facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/309284002826064/

Crashes

There’s been a couple of talking points over the last few days around crashes, particularly the events directly after the crash.

The first you probably heard about the crash on Stage 9 of the Giro.

Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) found himself unable to avoid a police motorbike parked up on the left-hand side of the road on the approach to the concluding 13.6km ascent of Blockhaus.  He veered right, clipped the motorbike, causing a domino effect in the bunch that took out virtually the entire Sky team, including their co-leader, Mikel Landa.  Orica Scott’s Adam Yates was also caught up in the crash.

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Team Sky’s Landa got up quickly but a leg injury meant he lost 26 minutes.  Geraint Thomas chased despite his shoulder coming out of its socket and suffering multiple cuts. He lost 5:08 and declared his overall chances as ‘Game Over’. Adam Yates slumped to 17th overall at 4:49 down on Nairo Quintana. Kelderman was forced to quit the Giro d’Italia after fracturing his finger.

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The other one which I saw yesterday afternoon is quite frightening to watch the 30 seconds or so after the crash.

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Cannondale-Drapac’s Toms Skujins crashed towards the finish of the Amgen Tour of California.  He was later diagnosed with a concussion, left collarbone fracture and road rash.

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After staggering back to his bike and having the front wheel replaced by the neutral service mechanic, he mounted the bike, but immediately lost balance and crashed flat on his face, losing his glasses.  Staggering around the road whilst riders were screaming past, like a drunk sailor on a rolling deck, the passing riders had to make a choice which side to go. fortunately no one else got caught, but it could have been disastrous. I know they have no authority, however sometimes a call has to be made, and I think that was one of those times when the neutral service mechanic should have held him up till the race doctor got there.

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He was later pulled from the race under the direction of his team.

Fortunately no major damage.  “I’m feeling all right,” Skujins said. “I’m really bummed, of course. Besides that, I’m healthy. I’m good. We’ll assess with the team doctors and figure things out moving forward.

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Warm Front

I had a warm front pass through the labs a few weeks ago, a full beam warm front thermal base layer that is.

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It’s a strange looking thing, looking like a ribbed tea towel with a collar, lightweight (51g), and certainly got it’s fair share of ribbing at the Sunday morning coffee discussion as it doesn’t look like anything any of us have ever ridden with before.

A few weekends back, i decided to get in a long days ride, starting on the road at 4:30am, doing laps up to Mt Lofty till about 3 in the afternoon.  A lovely day, but to start with it was  friggin cold.  For some reason i left the arm warmers, base layer and long finger gloves at home, riding with the warm front, jersey and gilet. The war front was tucked on the back pocket on the way up, and pulled out for the trip back down. Having been in the back on the way up, it was in fact toasty warm from the body heat on the trip down.  It worked a treat.   It saved this little ducks bacon, and after 3 laps and the sun coming off, it was left of fr the remainder of the ride rolled up in the back pocket, light as a 51g feather.

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Its not for everyone, but certainly worthy of consideration at on those early morning rides where you know it will be cold coming back down those long descents.

Further details here  https://fullbeam.com.au/collections/the-warmfront-base-layer/products/warmfront-thermal-base-layer-for-men

Oh, the fashion police in my group understood its purpose, and made the one suggestion – I should have got the one with the white collar!

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Rider of the Week – Bria Smith

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I’ve seen Bria’s face pop up on a number of cyclists social media pages, the one that stood out was when she took a bike selfie with Benny JJ doing one of his nsane 12 in 12 Everests last year.  Poor Benny JJ was curled over his handle bars grind upwards once more, Bria was upright, smiling and looking fresh as a daisy – brilliant.

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Enjoy this weeks Rider of the Week. Oh, and be warned, there are some bloodied photos, so if you are squeamish, rule #5………………………………..

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I am a 27 year old Paramedic with the SA Ambulance Service. I got my first road bike around 2007 and started dabbling with group rides around 2008. I’m a super active, outdoorsy sort of person. When I’m not working or riding my road bike I also spend a fair hunk of time skydiving and sometimes riding my mountain bike, rock climbing at the gym or doing other activities.
I’m currently putting in a bit of training for my first ever triathlon, a half Ironman in Kangaroo Island in November with a view to do a full IM next year. I love travel and exploring and do that whenever I can. I am currently saving for my first home, and really need to stop spending money on bikes and fun things so I can afford a deposit 😛
  • Can you remember what your first bike was?
I had a few hand me down bikes from my big brothers at a young age and eventually got my own mountain bike for my 14th birthday I think it was! It might have been a giant yukon if my memory serves me correct (or maybe that was the second one and I had some repco thing first!)
I know my first road bike was an Avanti carbonario with a 105 group set. I got rid of that one crashing it at 60km/hr down from lofty!
  • What got you started in cycling?
As kids we were an active family and often went on rides all together when we were at the beach house. I always laugh that I can remember dad promising me an ice cream at Victor Harbour if I rode from Goolwa with him, now days I promise him a coffee at Glenelg if he makes it!! how the tables have turned!
I got my first road bike when I started uni to ride into the city on and to supplement my fitness training for hockey as running so much was giving me brutal shin splints! A couple of other friends got bikes at a similar time and we started doing what we thought were big rides from the city to Henley!! These mates soon after joined the Lakers triathlon club and I started riding with their group rides which really changed riding for me and was probably the true start of me being a cyclist

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  • At a guess, how many bikes have you owned in your life?
Ohh a few kids bikes, 3 proper dual suspension mountain bikes and I’m onto roadie number 4.
  • What is your main go to bike?
Currently I only have the two, and it depends on if I am heading to the trails or the road!
One mountain – a top spec Lapierre Zesty AM
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And the roadie, an ENVEed up cannonade hi mod super six Evo with e-tap! (refer to cannot afford house due to liking nice toys comment haha).
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I am hoping to see if Cracked Carbon and Bicycle Express might be able to mend my much beloved Lapierre Xelius 800 and throw some cheaper wheels and groupset etc on to rebirth him as a commuter (I feel a bit dirty downspecing my special bike but I figure its better than retiring him completely, on that note anyone selling decent alloy wheels cheap? hahaha!).
  • What bike do you covet?
 Ohh, I don’t really have any particular thing I have drooled over since forever, I really like smooth, sleek looking bikes in general. I guess if I had to pick one it would probably be a Pinarello Dogma F8 (or F10 now), yeah, I would like one of them, I wouldn’t be caught riding Campag on it tho!
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  • What do you personally get out of cycling?
A clear head, a smile on my face, and an excuse to eat a donut!
Mountain biking really is a bit of fun, kinda fills the no snowboarding in Adelaide hole in my life, lets me get some flow, adrenaline and hi fives into my life, it also gets me out into nature, on the dirt, away from the city, which I love about it!
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Road riding is super satisfying, I love how I feel after a solid ride through the hills, its a good kind of salty! Sometimes work or even just life can be a bit stressful or get me down and I find heading on a ride really makes everything seem a bit less heavy on my shoulders and gives me a clearer view of how to deal with what might be on my mind.
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I have also met some of my favourite people in my life through road cycling, so that’s pretty tops too 🙂
Obviously its pretty good for my general health and fitness too, being fit and healthy is important to me! I definitely feel better for riding, some years back I injured my knee snowboarding and had to have a few months off, it wasn’t until this point i realised exactly how important riding was for my general mental health and mood! (long story short, no riding for Bria = grumpy bria).


  • Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?

Haha hell no!

I used to bake cupcakes to get my LBS to do minor maintenance for me! I’m a classic for just riding in and going “its making a strange noise” or “something feels wrong” at the end of a ride, lucky they seem to tolerate me doing this! The best I do is a hose off, towel down and bit of lube on the chain! (and I might start checking my pivot bolt torques on the mtb after it fell out and I nearly crashed the other week!)
Bicycle Express on Halifax street do a pretty good job of looking after me and my bikes (I always get more than one hug per visit), I have been a loyal customer to them and they do their best to keep me happy (sorry Ben about all the times I text you out of hours – you probably should have never given me your phone number :P) 

  • What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?

I can tell you what my least favourite is, the bib knicks we had for the Beat Cancer Tour, being made to ride in mens knicks for the whole TDU had me super appreciating all of my nice usual kits! (#flapchat will forever be a thing now).

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My current favourite kit is probably my velocio, my favourite gadget is probably my Garmin (even if it made me ride 10 more laps than Rob Greenwood for the same elevation in our everest  – actually I hate my garmin, its evil, why would it do that!) and I am loving the SRAM e-tap on my new bike. 

  • If you could have dinner with 3 people from the cycling world (living or dead), who would they be and why?

I really have no idea on this one, I don’t really have any cycling idols as such! I always enjoy when I’ve been lucky enough to hang with Annette Edmondson or Patrick Jonker, they are top humans.

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I’ve a pretty funny story about meeting Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie when I was out drinking with friends as an 18 yr old too! I found George a super genuine and friendly guy, I’d happily have dinner with him again too.

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  • Where would you take them to eat?

I’d get Nick Filsell cook them some ace pizza at his Lost In a Forest restaurant in Uraidla

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  • What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
Melbourne to Adelaide ride in 2010 for Butts on Bikes for bubs, well I think it was 2010, around about then! That was a crazy motley crew of such different riding abilities but somehow we made it all the way and raised enough to buy the Flinders Medical Centre a fancy new crib for their neonatal unit (which very cooly ended up housing the baby of one of our crew down the track!)
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Riding with the Beat Cancer Tour riders every stage, every day as their Medic last year. The opportunity to be a part of the tour and ride with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met is certainly something I will not forget. It was a huge week and really took it out of me as I was a late inclusion when their original medic fell through so my preparation was very sub par, but got through (admittedly with a small push from organiser Bade on the last lap of Willunga Hill which he will NEVER let me forget 😛 ) and loved the experience so much.
Completing an everest attempt I never intended to do (thanks to everyone that peer pressured me into that one……I think….and a special mention to Benny JJ for setting me up for success with it and to Anna Puckridge and Stuart Brand keeping me going on the day – lots of people helped me but these guys really went above and beyond)
But I think the pick is definitely getting my sub 10 hour 3 peaks Falls Creek last year.
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I had put in a lot of early mornings, huge kms, verts, and never ever visited Mt Lofty summit so frequently as the months leading up to that event with my super best bike buddy Rob Greenwood. I totally owe him for this achievement, he kept me motivated through training, believed in me when I thought it wasn’t possible, gave me a plan for the day and was waiting for me on the finish line after completing the event himself. I don’t think I have ever felt as elated as when I crossed that line at 9 hours and 53 minutes and Rob wrapped me up into the biggest/saltiest hug I’ve ever had (then force fed me about 5 cups of Hydralyte).
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I had plenty of battles on that ride, and to get across the line in the time I thought was a pipe dream was the best.
(WL Note – the time board at the finish line shows the elapsed time from the time the first rider crossed the line, not the individual rider times, therefore Bria’s ride time is less than the board time).
  • Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?
Haha oh I’ve had plenty, none TOO bad luckily.
Roadie wise I dropped that original Avanti down the old freeway from Lofty at 60km/hr (yep, that awkward camber left hand sweeping corner not long being devils elbow), I had some epic gravel rash down my left butt cheek and leg and felt pretty sore and sorry for myself but was super lucky to not break anything but the bike!
Daily visits to the doctor to further debride gravel and lycra fragments out the wound for a week but apparently I heal super fast and they were surprised I got away with no skin grafts (winning!). For the record you also get a lot of attention edging a rather broken bike down a hill with a bleeding arse hanging out the back!
I was also knocked off by a car riding into uni but lucky only did some minor shoulder and leg damage, the lesson learnt from this one is adrenaline lets you think you are not hurt and its not until you continue your ride into uni that you realise your front wheel is buckled and your body hurts and you probably should have got that cars details!
Mountain biking the crashes are endless, sometimes I go a bit hard haha. I’ve been through a few helmets and mild concussions, plenty of abrasions, last year managed to get 5 stitches in my ear in one crash and 7 in my chin and 3 in my arm from another. (I cracked the shits after that one and stopped riding mtb for a bit but am finding my flow again now!
LOOK AWAY NOW!
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  • What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
I am currently single, so I don’t have to lie to anyone ;P


  • What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
Weren’t we talking about that Dogma earlier? 😉 haha honestly I’d be stoked with some new bottles that actually fit in my smancy Enve bottle cages (matchy of course). My cannonade ones wobble around and my camelback ones get stuck, it makes me a bit irrationally annoyed when I’m tired on a ride!
One of Flic and Lobos RAD hats would be ace too.
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Or if we are talking mountain bikes I’m super eyeing off a lightweight full face enduro helmet, something like a MET parachute (I have chin fear after last year).


  • Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
Oh I guess I’ll give a shout out to the guys and girls who look after me at Bicycle Express. I’ll also say HI to Nat from Spin Cycle coz he’s a champ, and everyone should get on board with Flic and Lobos next round of caps when they release them (which I believe is soon!).  (WL note – too late, they’re sold out already).
Also cheers to the Lakers Triathlon Club, the Redline Cycling club and the Hells 500 Adelaide crew who provide me with all my decent group rides.
Lastly to Rob Greenwood and Anna Puckridge  for being my best bike buddies ever and supporting me in any silly bike related idea I might ever have.


  • From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?
Its an awesome place to live! I love how accessible everything is, in really not much time you can be down the beach, in the nature parks feeling like you’re miles from anywhere, in wine region, really almost anywhere you want to be! We have lots of super cool places to eat and drink and the best coffee, so many spots to get top coffee (which for a bike riding, shift worker is a HUGE plus).


  • What is your non-cycling go-to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?
My family has a beach house at Goolwa and I love taking people down there, or sometimes taking them to Langhorne Creek and sharing my other little amazing world I have there, as you’ll see in the next answer!


  • You participate in another outdoor activity that has you hurtling at a speed around 190kmph. What is this insane activity and what do you get out of it?

Haha! I recently completed my 400th solo skydive a few weeks back. Honestly it is the best thing ever. People always ask me why do you skydive? Its sort of one of those things you can’t explain to people who haven’t done it, to put it simply, it makes me happy, while I am there almost nothing else in the world matters. Sure it doesn’t solve any problems but somehow the time I spend there adds such quality to my life that I feel like my problems are never such a big deal after a couple of days with the amazing crew there.

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Its a real sky family, and skydiving is just pure bliss. You can really make it what you want, depending on what kind of jump I do it can either be adrenaline pumping, hi five inducing insane fun or really peaceful experience. I’m really just starting to learn more about performance flying my canopy too and am really enjoying that dimension of the sport as well now.
I think you should probably come with me for a jump and then you might be able to answer the question better for me! On that note if anyone from the Adelaide Cycling family wants to come for a skydive, flick me a message on Facebook and I’ll be able to organise mates rates for you at SA Skydiving!

 

Thanks Bria, a great read. I had to google a few of the terms you mentioned – #FLAPCHAT and Debride (To remove dead, contaminated, or adherent tissue and/or foreign material. To debride a wound is to remove all materials that may promote infection and impede healing. This may be done by enzymes (as with proteolytic enzymes), mechanical methods (as in a whirlpool), or sharp debridement (using intruments).

The first had me in stitches, and the second had me cringing.  Looking back to a face plant i had last year, whilst the staff at Wakefied didn’t call it debriding, they decided it would be best for me if they gave me some twilight anesthesia so i wouldn’t remember what they did to me.

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Amgen Tour of  California

Stage 1

AMGEN Tour of California - Stage 1 Men's: Sacramento121313__HAR5189AMGEN Tour of California - Stage 1 Men's: Sacramento154204_ATOC2017S1Podium-9918

Stage 2

AMGEN Tour of California - Stage 2 Men's: Modesto to San JoseAMGEN Tour of California - Stage 2 Men's: Modesto to San JoseAMGEN Tour of California - Stage 2 Men's: Modesto to San Jose

AMGEN Tour of California - Stage 2 Men's: Modesto to San Jose

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Giro

After 9 stages, a few crashes, controversy on the blockhaus (slow news week I assume), Nairo Quintana stamped his authority over the race with a dominant win on Stage 9 Blockhaus to take the maglia rosa.

However after Stage 10 TT,  Nairo lost a wopping 2:53 to Time Trial winner Tom Duomolin, whom he now trails as they head on over to the mountains. Tom is targeting the GC this year, but realises Nairo is the superior rider, but its a long 3rd week coming up, so anything is possible.

1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 42:57:16
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:23
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:38
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:02:40
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:02:47

Stage 1 – Alghero → Olbia

104804_649804735120330_649791252122620_649766548Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 1 - da Alghero a Olbia -  206 km ( 128 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 1 - da Alghero a Olbia -  206 km ( 128 miglia )

Stage 2: Olbia → Tortolì

110101_650034008111638_650012781112101_649974755Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 2 - da Olbia a Tortoli' -  211 km ( 131 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 2 - da Olbia a Tortoli' -  211 km ( 131 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 2 -  Olbia -Tortoli' -  211 km ( 131 miglia )06-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 02 Olbia - Tortoli; 2017, Lotto - Soudal; Greipel, Andre; Tortoli;

Stage 3: Tortolì → Cagliari

114446_650207637Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Tortoli'-CagliariGiro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 2 - da Olbia a Tortoli' -  211 km ( 131 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 3 - da Tortoli' a Cagliari -  148 km ( 91,9 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 3 - da Tortoli' a Cagliari -  148 km ( 91,9 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 3 - da Tortoli' a Cagliari -  148 km ( 91,9 miglia )

Cefalù → Etna-Rifugio

09-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 04 Cefalu - Etna; Cefalu;114329_650615010Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )09-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 04 Cefalu - Etna; 2017, Uae - Fly Emirates; Polanc, Jan; Etna;Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 4 - da Cefalu' a Etna -  181 km ( 112 miglia )

Stage 6: Reggio Calabria → Terme Luigiane

11-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 06 Reggio Calabria - Terme Luigiane; 2017, Quick - Step Floors; Jungels, Bob; Gaviria Rendon, Fernando; Reggio Calabria;Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 6 - da Reggio Calabria a Terme Luigiane - 217 km ( 134,8 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 6 - da Reggio Calabria a Terme Luigiane - 217 km ( 134,8 miglia )164318_651670691164402_651748136

Stage 7: Castrovillari → Alberobello

111045_651919085Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 7 - da Castrovillari a Alberobello (Valle d'Itria) - 224 km ( 139 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 7 - da Castrovillari a Alberobello (Valle d'Itria) - 224 km ( 139 miglia )12-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 07 Castrovillari - Alberobello; 2017, Orica - Scott; 2017, Bora - Hansgrohe; 2017, Quick - Step Floors; Ewan, Caleb; Bennett, Sam; Gaviria Rendon, Fernando; Alberobello;173636b-photo-finish12-05-2017 Giro D'italia; Tappa 07 Castrovillari - Alberobello; 2017, Orica - Scott; Ewan, Caleb; Alberobello;Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 7 - da Castrovillari a Alberobello (Valle d'Itria) - 224 km ( 139 miglia )

Stage 8: Molfetta → Peschic

Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 6 - da Reggio Calabria a Terme Luigiane - 217 km ( 134Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Molfetta-PeschiciGiro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 8 - da Molfetta a Peschici- 189 km ( 117 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 8 - da Molfetta a Peschici- 189 km ( 117 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 8 - da Molfetta a Peschici- 189 km ( 117 miglia )Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione -  Tappa 8 - da Molfetta a Peschici- 189 km ( 117 miglia )