France Extraordinaire

La Course

Annemiek van Vleuten from Orica won the 4th edition of La Course, a race that took in a mountain stage on day on a Col d’Izoard 67.5 km mountains, and a 22.5 km time trial pursuit on day two.

The best twenty riders from Thursday’s stage won the right to compete for the win in today’s second event, with the time gaps from the Izoard carried into a staggered start for the 22.5kilometre time trial course around Marseille.

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Phil Anderson

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I will be at home this year, the first time since at least the late 70’s watching Le Tour supporting the Aussies – http://philandersoncycling.com.au/blog/my-tour-de-france-2017

As you may have heard, Phil had a nasty crash on a training ride in Melbourne last week.

It’s been a tough day in the office. Sitting up and feeling great after a rough training ride. For the first time in my career I have a broken collar-bone and broken every rib on my left side. All things considered, not bad and I can’t remember a thing.

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Apparently Phil was found wandering on the roadside with concussion. It is thought the crash was the result of either a pothole or a wallaby.  I’m going with the pothole theory as the Wallabies haven’t been able to stick a tackle for years.

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When it comes time to work out whether to sty home or go to next years TdF, I’m guessing Phil will be going.

Given his long professional cycling career, it’s surprising that this is his first Collar Bone

Speedy recovery Phil.

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Warmfront

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A funny little tea-towell looking thing with a vicars collar arrived at the Wednesday Legs testing lab a few months ago, going by the name of Warmfront

Made in Colarado, it came with the promise:

“The Warmfront is a chest warmer, but it’s a better thermal base layer”

The Warmfront is made from a waffle fleece, which sounds delicious to a cyclist, is lightweight, and with the velcro tab collar, allows you to ride with it stadshed nice and neat in your back pocket without taking up much space. At 51g, you barely know it’s there.

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When you ned it, it’s easy to whip it out, place down your front, attach the collar around your neck and wallah, off you go, down into the great known. Coming back from mid-summer riding in France a few weeks back to mid-winter riding in Adelaide was hard to take.  Whilst we don’t generally get sub-zero temperatures, the Adelaide Hills can get awfully close, and throw in wind chill, it can be very uncofortable.

I popped out for a ride in the Superb Adelaide Hills (have I mentioned that before?) the previous weekend. Blue skys, no rain, halelulah. The route took me up Greenhill road, around to Mylor, up the 4 Whores, Morgan Road, Pole Road and wrapping back around to Redberry Cafe for a coffee with Mrs Wednesday and Wednesday Junior.

It was 5 degrees in Adelaide when I left, so assuming the usual 3 – 5 degrees difference at the top of Greenhill road, it was going to be a bloody cold ride, so with three layers and a Warmfront thrown into the rear pocket, I figured this would be a good test.

I’m glad I did – I robed up at the top of Greenhill road, and then spent the next three glorious hours cruising the Adelaide Hills comfortable not numb (showing my age there). The Warmfront worked a treat gliding down into Mylor, which for those in the know is one of the coldest spots in the Adelaide Hills. With the waffle on the front only, any heat buildup can escape on the back, so I didn’t need to remove it on the short sharp climbs in the hills. In fact, I was a littl econcerned that I would be pulling it on and off on the rolling Adelaide Hills, but I was quite surprised that I was able to keep it on for the remainder of the ride.

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So my verdict, I was glad I had it with me and it’ll be with me on my winter Hill rides – highly recommended for those colder months riding in the hills.

The Warmfronts are distributed in Australia by Full Beam – see here for details on the Warmfront – Fullbeam

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Oh, and this was some of the country side I rode through on that cold cold morning

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Adelaide Cycling Maps by Velo-Port

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For those looking for some ideas on where to ride in Adelaide, the guys over at Velo-Porte have pulled together some great rides that provide a great sample of all that the Adelaide Hills have to offer.

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On offer are a variety of lengths and climbing difficulty, and sitting behind each of these maps are a detailed description of what to expect along each of the major sections of the rides.

VP’sn description of the 75km VPCC KOM Loop ride is on point.

This one is not for the faint-hearted. We may not have the monsterously long climbs of Europe but we can stitch together endless climbs of different grades and lengths.

The combined climbs highlighted below add up to about 18 kms of climbing and 1720m of elevation.

It’s not the longest ride out there but we’ve struggled to write about any of the flat sections, mostly because there aren’t any.

This is a great training ride or if you just feel like testing the legs, give it a crack.

Enjoy?

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So check them out here – http://www.velo-porte.com/local-knowledge  

Those coming from interstate will find this a very useful source of cycling inspiration – oh, don’t forget you can also hire a good bike of you don’t want to bring your own

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Annecy – France

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Please bare with my self indulgance – this is the last of my holiday pics.

Part 3 of my France trip, which seems so long ago now, had me heading over to Annecy for 4 days before I flew back to Adelaide.

Annecy is an alpine town in southeastern France, where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River. It’s known for its Vieille Ville (old town), with cobbled streets, winding canals and pastel-colored houses. Overlooking the city, the medieval Château d’Annecy, once home to the Counts of Geneva, contains a museum with regional artifacts such as Alpine furniture and religious art, plus a natural history exhibit.

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Why Annecy – I’m glad you asked.

I can recall watching last years TdF, listening to Robbie McEwan on the SBS commentary team talk about how Annecy would be his preferred home in Europe if given the chance.

maxresdefault It was around then that I was starting to think about that trip to France, and Robbie’s comments were parked for future reference. The next day, I saw a friends posting on Facebook, they were on holiday in Annecy when the tour came through that day, and her daughter was more interested in something going on in the shade away from the heat than she was in this world-famous race just a few metres away.

Following on from Robbie’s comments, I asked my friend about Annecy, and she responded by saying that they had been staying in Annecy every summer holidays for over 5 years (they live in the UK), and liked it so much they had just bought a holiday house there.

Aaaannnd,

 

the offer was put out that it was available if me and the family wanted to make use of it.  That offer was parked.

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So, when the trip with Unique Cycling Tours came on the radar, and starting/finishing in Lyon, just a few hours train from Annecy, the ball was set in motion, emails sent, negotiations on the home front, and plans made to extend my trip to take advantage of the generous offer.

Take a look at this. Oh my!

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After getting dropped off at Lyon airport by the Unique Cycling Tours crew at the end of the trip, Ed, Ferg and myself caught the light rail from the Saint-Exupéry train station at the airport into Gare de la Part-Dieu – the old Lyon train station. Ed and I were both heading to Annecy, Ed to catch up with a friend before they headed over to the UK for a walking holiday, Ferg came along because he was hanging around in Lyon an extra day and decided to have a look see in Lyon – he came in handy as we needed someone who could half-speak French – ish.

The train station at the airport is stunning, modern concrete and steel structure that looks like a steam punk style cockroach – or if you squint your eyes, it could be a swooping magpie.

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The train out to Annecy took a few hours, lovely countryside, a few lakes, and then popping out in Annecy. I found out that Sunday evening in Annecy is not the ideal time to be looking for a Taxi. I arrived around 6:30pm, and an hour later and 3 knock-backs, which I think my bike bag looked like too much hassle. I found out later in the week from a local that there are few taxis around on Sunday, and those that were around didn’t want to venture too far from town – my accommodation was 15km down the lake.

A quick call to my friend Michelle in the UK for some ideas had me heading to a local pub  – Au Beureau – for a meal to bide my time before trybig for a taxi a little later.  As it turned out, the head waiter spoke pretty decent English, and after a couple of Blondes of the Belgium Beer variety (Leffe) and a bite to eat, I asked and received help from said head waiter. Brilliant. He called the taxi company, was advised they would search for a cab that could take my bike bag, called back 15 minutes later to see if there was any progress, asked me if I was ok to share (Yes), and then helped me with my bags when the taxi when it arrived.  Outstanding service. Check them out here.  http://www.aubureau-annecy.fr/

13419126_1377006425659450_9197729369310952942_n In fact, looking at the pubs Facebook site,  this picture sprung out because the young lady just right of centre front with the long braided hair was my waitress, and the young man next to her right shoulder was the head waiter who helped me. Thanks guys, your effort was very much appreciated.

The second surprise of my Annecy stay was the taxi ride itself. The taxi – a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, cool. The share passenger sat in the front, I sat in the back surrounded by my baggage stuffed in, and with the window down and the warm wind in my face, I was given a great tour of the lake as the taxi driver – a close relation to Alain Prost, took me on a journey around te lake as he dropped the share passenger opposite from where I was going – no drama. That journey was bliss, all the worries of how I was going to find my accomodation drafted out the window – I was given a fantastic 3/4 loop of the lake. The thoughts going through my brain were along the lines of “I wonder whether the company I worked for would like to set up an office in Annecy”. First impression – impressive – looks like a great adult playground.

Arriving at the house, seeing the gate slide back when I punched the code into the panel – such a huge a relief.

OK, without going into the boring day by day details of my 4 days, I’ll give some brief highlights.

Standing on the front Porch of the house had me looking over the lake and up to the mountains on the other side.

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At night, looking across the lake, the lights of a restaurant far up in the mountains opposite shone bold and bright in the dark skyline, and therefore a target for a ride the next day ride. The ride up through the mountain roads was stunning as expected and the views back down onto the lake were impressive, but the highlight of this days ride was finding my way to the main launch platform for the para-gliders that are seen circling Lake Annecy most days.

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Have a look at these few videos from up top.

 

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There were a staggering number of jumpers – is that what you call them? – all in their groups, all waiting their turn to throw themselves off the edge. Before I saw them, I would never have contemplated something like this, I could never build up the courage to do, but sitting down watching the takeoffs and the gliding, it was mesmersing and didn’t look as scary as I thought. I could almost imagine myself doing this.

The main sticking point for me, apart from the launching into space, was watching the jumpers uintangle and sort out the strings connecting them to the parachute. I can see myself getting in a big tangle.

The Bike Path

Surrounding Annecy, or 3/4 of it, is a bike path. On one side of the lake is a dedicated two lane oath that is mostly flat and well removed from the road. The other side of the lake has a mix of undulating paths and quiet side roads. The main dedicated path squirts out the bottom end all the way up to Albertville.

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Annecy itself is a funny town. The old town section looks an absolute treat, plenty of charm and terriffic photo opportunities, but it changes from a lovely quaint olde world village feel before the main shops open around 10 ish, into one of those clichéd tourist precincts with jam-packed restaurants and cafes along the canals and tourist shops. My first day I popped out on the bike looking for some breakfast and ended up riding into town and around the lake.

The following day I popped in early afternoon, the old town was jam-packed and with the sardine tinning of the old town, it was hard to ignore the massess and focus on the buildings and surroundings I had seen the previous day.

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That being said, Annecy is more than the old town, and the beauty and charm of the place, the lake, the outdoor activities, the cafes and bars, and dare i say it sme half decent coffe, the proximity to snow fields and the great riding tracks, all make for a brilliant holiday destination.

My last full day had me riding up the mountain behind me – no idea what I would find other than the fact I knew it was a dead-end.  Another fabulous morning ride, up through a village halfway up, the hill, through dark forests, discovering, walking and riding down tracks that were barely visible from the road, only to pop out on the edge of the mountain and discovering a “hidden” paragliding launch pad, much smaller than the previous one, with 7 – 8 jumpers preparing themselves for launch. The thermals these guys were picking up on this side of the lake had them soaring above our heads within minutes.  Quite amazing – makes me think twice about giving it a go at some time in the future.

IMG_1136IMG_1141IMG_1147IMG_1150IMG_1152IMG_1154IMG_1155IMG_1157IMG_1160Make sure you turn the sound up for the below.

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And a few vids from the other side.  I love this one.

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Baguette time – oh yeah!

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Tour de France

Congratulations to the classification winners at this years Tour.

General Classification – Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey)

 

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Points classification – Green Jersey

 

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Mountains classification – Polka Dot

 

23-07-2017 Tour De France; Tappa 21 Montgeron - Paris; 2017, Team Sunweb; Matthews, Michael; Paris;

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Young rider classification – White Jersey

 

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There’s some big names that have donned the White Jersey:

2000 Francisco Mancebo (ESP)
2001 Óscar Sevilla (ESP)
2002 Ivan Basso (ITA)
2003 Denis Menchov (RUS)
2004 Vladimir Karpets (RUS)
2005 Yaroslav Popovych (UKR)
2006 Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2007 Alberto Contador (ESP)
2008 Andy Schleck (LUX)
2009 Andy Schleck (LUX)
2010 Andy Schleck (LUX)
2011 Pierre Rolland (FRA)
2012 Tejay van Garderen (USA)
2013 Nairo Quintana (COL)
2014 Thibaut Pinot (FRA)
2015 Nairo Quintana (COL)
2016 Adam Yates (GBR)

Great to see Simon keep it in the family.

With Simon and Adam with Orica (hands off Sky), along with Chavez and with the possible transfer of Mike Nieve Ituralde from Team Sky, the next 2 – 3 years are looking quite solid for the GC classifications across the 3 week races.

This years tour, some would say, was a lop sided again with Team Sky controlling the ride right from the start to the finish. Chris Froome won his 4th TdF without winning a stage, the team were marking his major rivals blah blah blah.

Oh, and Team Sky, which has the biggest budget of the peloton, has now snatched five of the last six titles.

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I found this years tour to be quite fascinating. With the changing fortunes and on road dramas of favourites in the other classification made for exciting and fascinating racing. You were never quite sure what to expect. The racing was exciting, the climbing stages like up Croix de Foir followed b the Galibier, with Contador lighting up the stage up front, but unable to close it out, only for  Primoz Roglic to claw his way to the lead half way up the Galibier and draw away was just stunning.

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Then there were the crashes and disqualifications that played a huge part in the look of the final classifications . Not detracting from the from the classification winners, they deserve everything that is coming towards them. The tour is a trial of survival over 21 stages of unbelievably gruelling hard days of riding.  But, there is no doubt that the viewing public was looking forward to seeing Porte fight it out with Froome right into France, and Sagans fight with Kittel, oh dear.

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And whats all this bonhomie spreading throughout the peloton this year? It seemed that Chris Froome was given way too much respect. I didn’t agree with Aru attacking under his armpit on the 9th stage, but there were a few other incidents where the Peloton waited for him to rejoin.

And at last, the Home of the tour has thrown up something the French can be proud of, its taken a long time with stage 13, 102-kilometre ride from Saint Girons to Foix go to Frenchman Warren Barguil (Sunweb) on Bastille Day.

Warrens win was the first by a Frenchman on Bastille Day since 2005 when David Moncoutié won in Digne. It was also the fourth French win in this Tour after Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won stage four, Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) stage eight and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) stage 12. Unfortunately the French drought of a Frenchman winning the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985 has still not been broken, but there are promising signs.

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Not forgetting that Man with a Thousand Faces” Thomas Voekler , riding his last Tour de France. Chapeau Thomas, its been fun watching you light up the road with the Mountains classification win in 2012, and 4 individual stages in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

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23-07-2017 Tour De France; Tappa 21 Montgeron - Paris; 2017, Direct Energie; Voeckler, Thomas; Geisel Thomas, ; Auvinet, Yves; Paris;

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And last, but definitely not least, this weeks rider of the week. You’ll love the before nd after photos of this writeup – I was astounded,

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Rider of the Week – Paul Clode

2015 Harvest Cafe Mylor

Paul grew up in the ‘Siberia’ of South Australia… Mt Gambier… and moved to the sunshine of Adelaide to start Uni in early 1989.

Studying Design at Underdale, he quickly found a connection to his country boy roots through riding mountain bikes in the Adelaide hills with a bunch of Uni mates.
After Uni he started work at Stratco and, despite a 6 year detour to another company Stratco owned, still find himself there to this day!

Paul looks after a small in-house team of designers who create all kinds of packaging, brochures, catalogues, advertising etc. for the company at their head office at Gepps Cross.

This is Paul’s cycling story

  • Can you remember what your first bike was?

My first bike was a Repco Husky 10 speed with shifters on the down tube which I got when I was in year 7 at school. This was used as my transport to school and for chuffing around the countryside in the search of adventure.

It wasn’t long before I was tinkering with it… repaint… flat bars (which were becoming popular with these new fangled mountain bike thingys!)

  • What got you started in cycling?

I didn’t really become a ‘cyclist’ until my Uni days where a couple of guys had these flash mountain bikes with ‘shocks’ on the front. Wow! Cool!

I lashed out and bought a Repco Maxtrax MTB for $170 – that’ll do the job, won’t it?

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It didn’t take long to realise I needed something better.

So, I finished Uni, got a job, got a car loan… and bought a GT RTS-3 full suspension MTB! I did spend some of it on a car… but the bike cost more than my car).

 

I was hooked. I even started MTB racing, even though back then MTB racing was nowhere near as big as it is now.

2012 Me on GT Force 3

But, after a number of years, life got in the way – work, family, my riding friends moving away – and I slowly rode less and less until eventually I stopped riding.

2004 Fatty

The big problem with this is that I got fat… until one day I realised at 105kgs that I needed to do something about it. Mmmmm… bike riding!

Luckily I was able to lose 25kgs over a year or so, which then made riding easier.
I really got serious again in 2012 when I heard a friend talking about the ‘3 Peaks Challenge’ at Falls Creek.

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My sense of adventure was awakened and I decided that I might have a go at it.
This also meant that I needed to ‘cross to the dark side’ and buy a road bike.

Around that time, Brendon Harslett, one of the dads at my son’s school, heard that I was riding and suggested I join his early morning weekday group.

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That’s Brendon on the floor

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Once I started they couldn’t get rid of me. They are a great bunch of guys and slowly over time our rides started getting earlier and earlier.

We are now meeting at 5am at the Tower Hotel a couple of times a week… and sometimes even earlier at 4:30am (which means getting up at 3:30am).

2017 5am crew2015 Amys Gran Fondo Lorne 1

The reward is great banter, great riding in the hills and coffee at Argo’s on the Parade at 7am. Mmmmm… coffeeeee.

  • At a guess, how many bikes have you owned in your life?

I think about 8 bikes in total – I tend to hold onto them and still have my GT RTS-3. It’s an antique! Currently 5 are operational and one MTB frame is in the shed rafters.

The operational fleet includes a Cannondale Synapse (alloy frame), Malvern Star Oppy, Specialized Crux CX bike, the old GT RTS-3 and a GT Force MTB than has been turned into a ‘franken-bike’ with a Zaskar 29er carbon fibre main frame mated to the Force’s alloy rear frame… but with 26” wheels not 29”… crazy, I tell you… CRAZY!!!

2017 Gravelaide 12016 Fleet

  • What is your main go to bike?

My main bike is the Malvern Star Oppy which was bought off EBay as a frame, repainted and built up with Di2. Bzzzt!

2017 Malver Star Oppy Current Look

  • What bike do you covet?

I wouldn’t mind the new Trek Madone… or maybe a Canyon… or maybe a Lightweight Urgestalt..

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or… there’s just too many I like! As long as it’s black.

  • What do you personally get out of cycling?

Cycling is just a great way to get outdoors and refresh the soul (no, I’m not a hippy.. no offence to hippies).  I just love getting out in the hills on a sunny day and talking rubbish with your mates and just enjoying life.

But there MUST be coffee and pastries somewhere on the ride. Not negotiable.

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

As a long time tinkerer, I do all of my own bike maintenance and building.
Wheel truing is about the only thing I’ve never tried – it seems like a ‘black art’ to me.
But I’ve had the odd work done over the years by Bicycle Express, Bike Society at Blair Athol and Whippets Workshop and all have been good (no complaints from me!).

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

I’m not much of a cycling fan boy, so I think I’d rather choose the guys I ride with. I reckon that would be far more enjoyable.

  • Where would you take them to eat?

I’d be happy with KFC, although I don’t think they would (Eds note – I reckon Brendon might! 🙂).

  • What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?

Some of my best memories are from my early days of mountain biking. We would often go on loosely planned trips to the Flinders Ranges or the Grampians with inadequate camping supplies, food and equipment – and no real plan.

It was a shambles, but the riding, adventure and mateship always made for a fantastic time.

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

Luckily I have never crashed a road bike (touch wood) but I’ve had a few spills on the MTB.

The worst was hitting a gate at high-speed on a night ride coming down Chambers Gully.
My forearm hit the top rail of the gate as I flipped over it and snapped both bones. Nothing a few steel plates, some screws and bit of time off the bike won’t fix.

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I just felt sorry for the poor guy who’s door I knocked on asking for help – his wife had just got home after 6 months away and they were in the middle of getting ‘re-aquainted’! Sorry mate. (Eds note: bwah ha ha ha ha!)

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

Apart from the usual ‘halve the cost of all cycling gear/clothing purchases’ lie (is it really a lie…? more like a re-interpretation of the facts based on new evidence) I think the one that comes out most often is the “my ride partner had a flat/mechanical/injury/crash/wasn’t feeling well/was really slow” excuse for being late back from a ride.

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

A power meter would be nice! Don’t really need it but I like gadgets!

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

I’d like to say Keith from Velo-Porte who has been a great supporter of our cycling adventures and trips such as 3 Peaks and Amy’s Gran Fondo in Lorne.

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Also the boys at Indigo and Blk-Tec, Brendon Harslett and Simon Zappia – a couple of local boys creating innovative products for cyclists, from right here in Adelaide.

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

I think Adelaide is just the right size for a liveable city and has so much going for it with the hills, the beaches, the food and the TDU!

  • Apart from the local KFC, what is your non-cycling go-to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?

Anywhere in the hills or wine regions is great, although Hahndorf is probably the first stop for food and drinks for the tourists. And maybe a coffee. And some pastries (now I remember why I got to be so big!).

2016 Gravelaide 12014 TDU Bupa Ride

Thanks Paul, I’m amazed at that drop in weight – simply astounding. If that demonstration of what cycling can do for you, I don’t know what will.

Chapeau Paul Clode

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Well

If I must say so myself, another epic edition of Wednesday Legs

 

Trusting you enjoyed it as much as I did pulling it together.

 

till next time

tight spokes

iPib

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.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

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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croix de Fer 1

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