Thursday, January 26, 2006

Orstraya Day

My fellow Australians... Oh wait, that's probably not the best way to start. It's Jan. 26 today, approx. 218 years after the poms dumped a whole lot of convicts in the environs of Sydney harbour. If they'd actually dumped them in the harbour, then Sydney might be a better place. Then again, maybe not.

I've just finished racing in "The Sunde" (the Joseph Sunde Memorial) at Heffron Park, in near perfect conditions. Negligible wind, 25 degrees, overcast and humid. Thus, a 44 km/h average didn't even seem that fast, especially as I did only one turn during the 50 km race. It was easy to sit on, but tricky to move up, as when there was space to do so, the speed would pick up. No matter, the object was to stay on the bike, and that goal was achieved. I was a little nervous after last year's pedal / corner incident.

The winner was Jeff Hopkins, of Jittery Joe's, who is the only rider to have won it twice. Chris Sutton turned up in his Cofidis kit but was a little off after flying back from France after a couple of days ago. I think he ended sixth.

The aim now is to go to Manly, where Willo (Hopkins' teammate) is having some quiet drinks at the Wharf Bar. Then to Balmain for a dinner with Sullo and friends.

The TDU ended on a positive note, with Gerrrrrrrroo winning from last year's winner Luis Sanchez, after some superb team riding on the second last stage. There was a break of 20 with two of Gerro's teammates in it, and two of Sanchez'. On the deciding climb, Sanchez attacked and put 10 seconds into Gerro, who was a bit isolated until first one, then the second of his teammates dropped out of the break and towed him back to Sanchez, who it seemed didn't quite get the same benefit from his own teammates.

That day was over 40 degrees, and a few of us (AT, Les, Sullo) decided to go down to Glenelg (a palindrome) beach late for some cool. Nup. Still 37 degrees on the beach, with a hot wind blowing. It was extremely bizarre.

I ended up having 3 hours sleep then going for a ride early Sunday to "beat the heat". Well it was still 36 at 7am so it was a bit pointless. Then I punctured going up Greenhill road, changed it, punctured again over the top of the hill, and had to repair my first tube because I didn't have any more spares. Quelle annoyance. Adelaide does have some great hills though - all 7-10 km and 5-7 percent.

It cooled down in the afternoon of the last day, which made the post race BBQ somewhat bearable. I didn't drink too much because the (free) beer was once again watered down crap and the (free) wine was for laying down and avoiding.

Also raced on Tuesday at Heffron - wet and windy. There were only 10 of us and I did turns until halfway but I was a bit nervous in the wet, especially with the crap tyres on the bike (swapped 'em now to Conti GP4000s). We didn't catch C grade, despite a 43 km/h average. We really need a smaller handicap.

I return to Belgium on February 21, just in time for Het Volk.

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