On the far left, leading the pack up & away from the beach... Image c/o Epsom Road Studios

On the far left, leading the pack up & away from the beach... Image c/o Epsom Road Studios

Guest Article: Amy’s Century…

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On the far left, leading the pack up & away from the beach... Image c/o Epsom Road Studios

One couldn’t get much further from Shropshire, England than Adelaide, South Australia (in more ways than  just lat-long) and yet here is another Velominatus, shaving his legs and going for his first 160km test ride. I can’t resist the far flung symmetry of these two great guest articles. 3500 riders, closed roads, Old Willunga Hill, what’s not to like?

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

Background

Amy’s Ride has been run here in South Australia for the last 4 years and is a community ride set up by the Amy Gillett Foundation and Bike SA in remembrance of the ex-Australian Olympic rower & elite cyclist Amy Gillett, who was killed by a motorist while out on a training ride with her national team teammates in Germany 6 years ago. The idea behind the ride, and the also the foundation as a whole, is to promote safe riding and driver behavior towards cyclists. They offer a multitude of distances to suit anyone from the casual commuter to the most competitive Café Racer with a couple of unique opportunities to ride some sections on closed off roads that would normally either be inaccessible by bike or fairly hairy dicing with traffic. As one of the Velominati the only option was the full 100k ride, which when added to the ride to start line as well as a picturesque route through the hills on the way home would get me beyond the mythical “century” mark of 160.93 kilometres for the very first time and would easily account for my previous longest ride of 115km’s. Having only made the transition to an actual “cyclist” around the same time the previous year, this was my first proper organized event (i.e. entry fee, official jersey & support out on the road) and that combined with the distance that I’d be covering over the day had me getting pretty keen in the weeks leading up to it.

Pre-ride Prep

Went out for a couple of rides early in the week leading up to it as part of my normal routine but then let the legs rest from Wednesday onwards, which ensured that by the weekend the anticipation was getting ridiculous. Saturday night was spent making sure the preferred kit options were washed, the brand new cleats were positioned properly and the steed was gleaming and silent, all while trying to avoid sweating buckets in unseasonably humid conditions for what is supposed to be the driest state in Australia. Plenty of water was being consumed in anticipation of what was meant to be a humid high 20’s, low 30 degree day while jealously eyeing off the bottle of vino that the Mrs was demolishing without me. An hour highlights package of stage 18 from this year’s tour had been downloaded to set the mood in the morning while going through the pre-ride routine and it was early to bed to get in a decent night’s sleep. Rose just after 6 (I’ll claim journalistic license and call it V past), showered purely for the purpose of a fresh shave of the guns, although in accordance with Rule #50 the stubble was left unmolested. Fueled up with a solid bowl of cereal, a banana and a particularly tranquillo espresso as well as more water as the humidity & cloud cover were still present whilst getting set for the ride.

Roll Out

The official start time was meant to be 8.30am although with in excess of 3,000 riders registered they’d already advised getting there early to get a decent position in the marshalling area. An easy spin on the 10ks to get to the official start of the ride with many a nod and greeting as little groups of similarly clad riders began to join up and trundle along together. On arrival at about 8ish the amount of people milling around the fenced off marshalling area as well as in and around the sponsors tents upon the oval nearby was simply awesome. A veritable sea of pink and white event jerseys along with a few randoms thrown in the mix. They’d sensibly split the marshalling area up based on projected average speed and I decided not to be too ambitious so chose a decent spot in front half of the 25kph section which was the second within the line up so the rollout wasn’t too cramped. Official welcomes were done and then after a quick safety briefing we were off.

Amy’s Ride

One of the big features of the ride is that they closed off a 3 lane highway called the Southern Expressway for us to accommodate the 3,000 or so riders that are still in the process of stringing themselves out and to help it along there’s a sporty little 3.7k climb at 4.2% (creatively called the SEXY climb after the road). The average gradient can be misleading as the first kilometer is very gentle and then you suddenly find an 8% wall facing you, at which point many riders around me seemed to find reverse. I found a rather classy and rule compliant looking rider resplendent in his vintage Peugot jersey to follow and we made our way up the climb without too many difficulties. Once over the top the one downside to the 3 lanes of road appeared as people spread out all over the place & there were some pretty significant pace differences between those comfortable at speed in the drizzle that had developed and those happy to just coast along. The chaos and disorder wasn’t helped by a bunch of late-teen tearaways that seemed determined to jump through any half gap that appeared with little consideration for the fact that the others around them weren’t actually partaking in their race of 4, how no-one went over on what was a pretty greasy surface at that point is a miracle.

We came to the end of the closed section and upon joining the traffic again everyone made half-hearted attempts to ride only two abreast as a very long snake of riders wound its way through the back roads of Adelaide’s Southern suburbs on the way to the first refreshment stop (mountains of free bananas, banana bread & buckets of sports drink powder) at about 25ks before a very picturesque 5-10k section rolling along the beach front and down towards the stunning McLaren Vale wine region.

Was pretty chuffed to tag on with 4 lads from a city based bike shop that the Mrs used to work next to who made it clear they were happy to take the wind for we mere humans (as an aside, these guys looked fucking pro in their team kit, only possible violations were the various sock colours and  lengths, but they were so well matched I think even Gianni would approve) and we started flying past little groups of riders at about 40kph with the 4 of them rotating in front of us refusing all offers of turns on the front. The last section of this beach front road finished in a sneaky little climb 500m climb and all it took was a collective flick of their right hands, the chains slid down a couple of cogs smaller on the back and they simply disappeared up the road. After about another 5 or so k’s of pretty forgettable roads we came to the second refreshment stop in the town of Willunga where basically every rider pulled over for in preparation for the second, main climb of the day up Old Willunga Hill. While stopped I caught up with Tom, who I’d arranged to meet at the finish & ride home with, so along with his mate we set out again and headed out of town for the climb.

Old Willunga Hill has a bit of a reputation in these parts (even warranting a couple of visits in the TDU “Queen” stage each year), and while a length of 3km at 7.6% won’t scare any pros, it’s by no means a cruise. Once again they’d been able to close the climb off for us so that we could get the full pro feel  using all of the road, a sensation added to by the presence of proper professional’s names painted all over the road. Some prior research armed us with the knowledge that the first half is the steepest and as you go up the grade does lessen somewhat, but for a rider of my proportions and climbing skill, whether it is 10% or 6%, it still makes you suffer like the baby Jesus on the cross! 14 minutes later I roll the wheels over the awesome gold KOM crown painted at the top of the climb and another climb has been added to Mikael’s “must improve” list.

Once I made it to the top, Tom and I waited for his mate, before heading off on the rolling 40k’s or so through some beautiful looking farm and wine country heading back  to the finish in McLaren Vale. Our little group was split on the next closed section, which was a pretty technical 3k descent at an average of -6.9%, as my “climb and descend like a stone” riding style for once seemed to be an advantage! Hat tip has to go out to the organizers for managing to have this section car free as we heard later that a couple of riders had actually had a very near miss on a recon run a few weeks previously when one of the young locals driving up the hill flew round a blind corner half way across their lane and disaster was only averted thanks to quick reflexes from all parties. We regrouped at the last feed stop and figured we’d cover the last distance together as we seemed to be back to about the same level as the finish line, so assumed the run in would be reasonably flat. This assumption was blown out of the water about 3 corners later when we came to a wall of about 800m in length and easily in excess of 5-6%, the groans & expletives that could be heard assured us we weren’t the only ones unimpressed by what we were facing and Tom’s mate was very quick to add “Guys, I’m cooked, just go and make sure you save me a beer at the finish.” Up and over the two of us went and on through some more rolling roads through the vineyards heading down towards the finish, and the beers we’d just been reminded of. The clouds and rain had well and truly disappeared by this point and we were cruising along in glorious sunshine at a solid 30-35kph catching some drafts here & there salivating jealously over some serious carbone inducing machines straining under engines that were a long away from 2 months from peaking.

Lunch

As we got to Mclaren Vale we rolled through the town center along the bike path that led to the finishing kite just after 12.30pm. We stepped off the bikes in to a party atmosphere with people scattered between lining up for the lunch that was provided, the line for BEER (or other beverages), perusing the wares of some of the sponsors tents, queuing for a massage or just relaxing on the lawn soaking up the atmosphere and relaxing the guns. It was a great chance to catch up with other riders that had been missed out on the road as well as family or friends who’d used it as an excuse to spend the morning in one of SA’s best wine regions.

Homeward Bound

The homeward leg of the trip was largely uneventful, although some comic relief was offered up when going back over a portion of the ride route a couple of volunteers packing up the signage offered us a lift to McLaren Vale assuming we were still struggling home! Thankfully the climbing involved was of the gradual kind allowing us to keep up a reasonably solid tempo without having to go too deep in to the red, although we mustn’t have been in too bad shape as we both set best times on the last climb of the day. Victory salutes were shared as we rolled beyond the magical 161km mark and the subsequent strange looks from the passing motorists revelled in.

Home

I rolled up to the front door just after 3 in the afternoon expecting a hero’s welcome, instead reality bitch slapped me across the face as the Mrs just casually asked “Can you get changed pretty quick? I want to go visit so and so.” Right then, I suppose I’ll have to wait for plaudits from those that truly understand…c’est la vie velominatus.


Rule #74 contravention below:

http://app.strava.com/rides/2240316

// Guest Article // La Vie Velominatus // The Rides

  1. @sgt
    Guilty as charged I’m afraid…

    @Steampunk
    Quite happy to take any comparison to Der Jan, sadly I think looks might be as far as they go….

    @all cheers for the kind words, was a great day out. As has been said, the jersey was pretty good, colour scheme is quite useful for mid week commuting too.

  2. Are there any UK Velominati tackling the Welsh Dagon Ride on 10th June this year? 206km and approx 3350m of climbing through the Brecon Beacons means hard work from here on in.

  3. @Mark1 yes, for third year in a row, will be riding the Dragon… An awesome route, and a great day out on the bike… Dare I say it, is actually Bike No. 1’s favourite day out (she finds the Pyrenees too cold). For a variety of reasons (ok, secretary of our club is Welsh, and this is his back yard) I’ll be riding it in local club colours, not the Sacred Garments… Although I may pull a World Championship trick, and wear Velominati bibs with club colors… Either way… If you can do it, do it

  4. @Roadslave

    You need this then, from Endura, if you’re not going to be rolling in the V-Kit:

  5. @Steampunk
    Romney uses a flip-flop hub.

  6. Well done, Mikael! Looking good. I see there is little debate on shoe color in Adelaide.

  7. Top shelf stuff Mikael! Congratulations on your first ton as well. A great foundation to support as well.

    This “The chaos and disorder wasn’t helped by a bunch of late-teen tearaways that seemed determined to jump through any half gap that appeared with little consideration for the fact that the others around them weren’t actually partaking in their race of 4,” pretty much sums up most of these community rides unfortunately. At least on one went down. Please tell me that you passed them later at some stage ?

  8. @il ciclista medio

    Top shelf stuff Mikael! Congratulations on your first ton as well. A great foundation to support as well.
    This “The chaos and disorder wasn’t helped by a bunch of late-teen tearaways that seemed determined to jump through any half gap that appeared with little consideration for the fact that the others around them weren’t actually partaking in their race of 4,” pretty much sums up most of these community rides unfortunately. At least NO one went down. Please tell me that you passed them later at some stage ?

    fixed the typo

  9. @Xyxax

    Well done, Mikael! Looking good. I see there is little debate on shoe color in Adelaide.

    And only one sock dissenter! Though the Goldilocks principle warrants further attention.

  10. Chapeau. Although there are some things I don’t understanding exactly. Don’t think I’ve ever described myself as being “chuffed,” although as a kid playing pickup baseball, we did a lot of shagging. One of the cool things about being from the Empire: we all speak English. Of a sort.

  11. I’m jealous of a ride where the police actually close roads for cyclists. What a concept. I don’t think that ever happens in the USA. You want to raise money? Good luck with that, just don’t slow car traffic, boy.

    And a mass start with +3000 riders, that is awesome too. We need a South Aussi Cogal we can all somehow attend.

    And congrats on the +160km, bold move to have beers before getting back on the bike to finish the distance. Beers sometime turn my legs to stone. @Marcus seems to thrive on it. Maybe I have to change up my training.

  12. @Gianni
    Grand fondo NYC, 2000+ riders, had sections of closed roads, including the lower section of the George Washington Bridge and all the timed climbs. Part of the reason, I think, that the entry fee was $210.

  13. @Gianni

    Here in Portland once a year they close most of the bridges and some freeways to do a 40 mile “Bridge Pedal” ride, to support some charities. It was pretty fun, did it twice when I was first getting into cycling. There are a bit too many people to really enjoy it, but a fun event none-the-less.

  14. @eightzero
    Chuffed = pleased with oneself.
    Shagged = tired, or post-coital. Possibly both.

  15. @xyxax
    Grand Fondo NYC-who dreamed that up? That seems a rather liberal interpretation of Grand Fondo. Come ride through the five boroughs, not the Dolomites exactly. Still, they closed some roads, I’m impressed with that.

    @mcsqueak
    Portland, I would expect nothing less, almost too civil. Good on them.

  16. @Oli
    As in,”Marko shagged that ginger minge who works behind the bar and now he is asleep in the men’s room”

  17. @Gianni
    Yes, and he’s well chuffed with himself.

  18. @Gianni
    Hmm. Perceptive. I added the “C” inadvertently. Grand Fondo NY, rather, leaves the bridge and takes place in New Jersey and “upstate” New York (which is anything north of the last subway stop), along the Hudson. Only the start and the after-party are in NYC. See course map and distance/elevation here.

  19. @Mikael Liddey
    Fantastic write-up and great ride!

    The chaos and disorder wasn’t helped by a bunch of late-teen tearaways that seemed determined to jump through any half gap that appeared with little consideration for the fact that the others around them weren’t actually partaking in their race of 4, how no-one went over on what was a pretty greasy surface at that point is a miracle.

    What is it with people thinking they’ll win a non-competitive event in the first 30 minutes? This happened to us at L’Etape, and this guy came flying into my VMH and did a two-wheel skid in order to avoid her. Man, if they’d gone down, he’d have been in the hurt locker – and I’m not talking about the crash. The lady fight’s dirty!

    @Xyxax

    @Steampunk
    Romney uses a flip-flop hub.

    GOLD GOLD GOLD!!!

  20. @Gianni

    I’m jealous of a ride where the police actually close roads for cyclists. What a concept. I don’t think that ever happens in the USA. You want to raise money? Good luck with that, just don’t slow car traffic, boy.

    Word. On L’Etape, they close the roads for the entire route. That was more than 210km!

  21. @Gianni,@Oli
    STOP! PLEASE! You’re killing me. I bet he gets chuffed after shaggin’ the teacup upstairs who’s all sixes and sevens after getting bombed in Amsterdam!

  22. @frank

    @Gianni,@Oli
    STOP! PLEASE! You’re killing me. I bet he gets chuffed after shaggin’ the teacup upstairs who’s all sixes and sevens after getting bombed in Amsterdam!

    What aint no country i ever heard of. They speak English in What?

  23. @frank

    He could be both chuffed because he saw some chuff, and shagged after a long shag.

    I wonder has anyone ever calculated what percentage of words in various languages have sexual connotations ?

  24. Great write up, sounds like you put in a solid effort mate! I did this ride in 2010 and 11 but missed out this year having moved to warmer and wetter Brisbane. I took a trip back to ride the 4th Stage of the TDU.

    I got in a heap of trouble last year, told the wife, I was going to be back by 1pm. I was relying on getting a ride back to Flagstaff Hill, which fell through and I had to ride with another guy. He said we could drop the bikes at his daughters place and get her to run us home. After a fair detour, she wasn’t in, he was gutted. ;0 )Late arrival home = large portions of humble pie.

    Hammering up the Expressway, was much better than the daily commute back up the veloway. I miss Adelaide for the hills, Brisbane is pretty flat, without riding miles out of town.

    @Frank, I get pretty chuffed about something or other everyday. But that’s a product of being from Yorkshire, where it’s is a very popular word that wouldn’t get you a thump off your Dad, like certain other words might!

  25. @il ciclista medio

    Yeah you’ll find many a cyclist around here falls on the female tennis player side of the scale, to be honest I’m not even convinced about the ones I was wearing on the day…about the only time they look the right length is when they’re not being worn (which kinda defeats the purpose).

  26. @Gianni

    I’m jealous of a ride where the police actually close roads for cyclists. What a concept. I don’t think that ever happens in the USA. You want to raise money? Good luck with that, just don’t slow car traffic, boy.
    And a mass start with +3000 riders, that is awesome too. We need a South Aussi Cogal we can all somehow attend.
    And congrats on the +160km, bold move to have beers before getting back on the bike to finish the distance. Beers sometime turn my legs to stone. @Marcus seems to thrive on it. Maybe I have to change up my training.

    Word to the wise Gianni. SA has the best bike race in Australia and the Amy G ride is a beauty and the state has great wine. But that is all. It is very much an inferior place compared to anywhere on the East or West coasts. And the way they stop traffic in Adelaide is by putting a sign up in the one general store the week before.

    By the way – cool article Mikael. Tell
    ur missus that if she keeps up with the attitude you just might have to start making her buy tickets if she wants the Gun Show. But this is a flawed strategy on a number of levels.

  27. @Marcus

    @Gianni

    I’m jealous of a ride where the police actually close roads for cyclists. What a concept. I don’t think that ever happens in the USA. You want to raise money? Good luck with that, just don’t slow car traffic, boy.
    And a mass start with +3000 riders, that is awesome too. We need a South Aussi Cogal we can all somehow attend.
    And congrats on the +160km, bold move to have beers before getting back on the bike to finish the distance. Beers sometime turn my legs to stone. @Marcus seems to thrive on it. Maybe I have to change up my training.

    Word to the wise Gianni. SA has the best bike race in Australia and the Amy G ride is a beauty and the state has great wine. But that is all. It is very much an inferior place compared to anywhere on the East or West coasts. And the way they stop traffic in Adelaide is by putting a sign up in the one general store the week before.

    Bit tough Marcus… I seem to recall they also did a pretty good line in bizarre murders, as befits somewhere that calls itself the City of Churches.

    And on a serious note, pretty good beer as well.

  28. @Marcus

    So that’s great riding, wine, food & beer (ChrisO right on the mark there)…what else is needed?

  29. @Marcus
    Plus as you can see in the picture…we don’t do a bad line of beaches either.

    Upside against certain Eastern cities is that you can bank on only one type of weather during the day, as opposed to all four seasons.

  30. @Gavin
    Yeah we’re pretty spoiled having the hills 10 minutes out of the city…there’s good riding to be had without much effort needed to get there.

  31. @Mikael Liddy

    @Marcus
    Plus as you can see in the picture…we don’t do a bad line of beaches either.
    Upside against certain Eastern cities is that you can bank on only one type of weather during the day, as opposed to all four seasons.

    Weather card played…
    Captain Adelaide is now an amputee in an arse-kicking contest.

  32. Love your work Mikael. Sound like the legs were good for you. How did you feel the next day?
    I’ve been promising myself a trip to Adelaide and the TdU for a few years now.
    Nice beaches – yes. But from what I hear, S.A. does a nice line in great white sharks too!!??

    @all
    Can I suggest that every ride report includes a pre race Kelly status? Of course its a bit personal and intrusive but it gives a valuable insight into the level of preparation and rider commitment.

  33. @Mikael Liddy
    Time to admit that I do like Adelaide, Melbourne guy that I am.
    I’ve been there quite a bit as extended family live there and I’ve driven over to have a looksy at the TdU a few times.
    Good food, good wine, good weather, good traffic for riding (beats Melbourne psychos hands down for slack-jawed slow, considerate driving).
    If I wasn’t from Melb I wouldn’t bag the place mercilessly, I reckon.

    But I am, so I do.

  34. @Blah
    I guess if you’re from Melbourne, Adelaide would seem nice…

  35. Ill never understand why they get pissed when we return late from a ride or don’t seem to care when we’ve reached a milestone. Those things make us better people and thusly should exert chuff forces.

    @oli and gianni yes, this.

  36. @harminator
    What of a post-ride Roche Report?

    @marko
    The Roche factor might have something to do with it, but more likely, they are just hard-wired that way.

  37. @Mikael Liddy
    Excellent write up @Mikael. I’m a bit late to the party, and won’t buy into the parochial discussions about what cities are best. I am however a bit jealous from watching you Strava progress about how easy it is for you to get out into the hills. And extra jealous that you get a Pro Tour race arrive on your doorstep every year.
    So, when are you taking delivery of that new Focus?

  38. Nice! sounded like that great combo of fun and self-challenge. Enjoyable write up,well done!

    It it surprising how nutritious and helpful a well-placed pint can be near the end of the slog! 2 years ago I did a portland guerilla ride – tour de ronde PDX – and someone was distributing pints, peanut butter sandwiches, water and collecting $ for an animal rescue (I guess 2 and 4 legged!). I had long lost contact with anyone I was riding with, and was just hoping to finish the same day. The pint just dulled any aching and internal mental anguish. Didn’t happen the following year tho, unfortunately.

  39. @Mikael Liddy
    Nice article mate and good ride.I’m sure I’d like Adelaide but can’t say more as I’ve never been there.One thing is for sure-I’m freezing my balls off now in Europe right! As long as is plus Celsius there the place is rocking!

  40. Congrats on the ton Mikael. Nice write up.

    Eightzero I doubt you did any shagging playing baseball..maybe you were shagged after though!

    @ Gianni they had the roads closed for the start of the OC Gran Fondo last year which only had 600 people. Very nice. Made the mass start much easier.

  41. @harminator

    @Blah
    I guess if you’re from Melbourne, Adelaide would seem nice…

    Ziiiiiiing!

  42. @mouse

    @Mikael Liddy
    So, when are you taking delivery of that new Focus?

    Well I’ve actually started bettering a few of the times set on the Focus on the old Schwinn in the last couple of weeks…but would still love a bit of an upgrade!

  43. @TommyTubolare

    @Mikael Liddy
    Nice article mate and good ride.I’m sure I’d like Adelaide but can’t say more as I’ve never been there.One thing is for sure-I’m freezing my balls off now in Europe right! As long as is plus Celsius there the place is rocking!

    While it is in positive figures, February over here has been disappointingly cold…secrets garments got their first traditional Rule #9 ride yesterday.

  44. @paolo

    Congrats on the ton Mikael. Nice write up.
    Eightzero I doubt you did any shagging playing baseball..maybe you were shagged after though!
    @ Gianni they had the roads closed for the start of the OC Gran Fondo last year which only had 600 people. Very nice. Made the mass start much easier.

    Sadly, shagging balls is the lost art of chasing baseballs being hit errantly or otherwise.

  45. @Mikael Liddy
    Great write up, having watched that stage of the TDU, I’m rather jealous of the chance to ride where the pros have been and on closed roads.

    Chapeaux also for riding to and from the organised event to make up your numbers!

  46. @mcsqueak

    @Roadslave
    You need this then, from Endura, if you’re not going to be rolling in The V-Kit:

    ..or one of these

    @Roadslave

    Wich club to you ride with?

  47. @Chris
    Cheers, the ride up Willunga that day was pretty cool but was topped when we went down there before this year’s TDU stage. Getting the cheers from the crowd on the way up was awesome!

  48. @harminator

    Love your work Mikael. Sound like the legs were good for you. How did you feel the next day?I’ve been promising myself a trip to Adelaide and the TdU for a few years now.Nice beaches – yes. But from what I hear, S.A. does a nice line in great white sharks too!!??
    @allCan I suggest that every ride report includes a pre race Kelly status? Of course its a bit personal and intrusive but it gives a valuable insight into the level of preparation and rider commitment.

    Felt surprisingly fresh on the Monday & then did a couple of rides before & after work on Tuesday with little discomfort so was pretty pleased.

    Regarding pre-race Kelly status, as mentioned in the story, the Mrs had a very tasty bottle of red to herself on the night before, which meant by the time I’d finished getting the bike ready for the exploits of the next day she was well & truly off in the land of nod.

  49. Great to see some Aussies getting their names in lights! Perth checking in here and also jealous of the hills in Radelaide @Mikael Liddy. I’m hoping to get over next year for the TDU and a bit of a trek around the hills myself. Very jealous of you getting a shot at Old Wilunga on closed roads!

  50. Quick update on this article as they’ve released the details of this year’s ride. The organisers are not only giving out timing chips for the climbs to compare your times with those others that are on the ride (and aren’t on Strava) but have added a 120k option where you loop back & tackle Old Willunga twice a la the Tour Down Under Queen Stage route.

    $69 rego without the jersey (will be in the Sacred Garments this year) is a cracking price for what they put on, have signed up already.

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