It’s been a very big week in Adelaide. To start, Adelaide is a great, cosmopolitan style country town.
We are staying in some extended stay apartments close to the center of town and the Tour Village, which is across from the Hilton Hotel HQ for the Tour Down Under., the first Pro Tour cycling race of 2008.
This race has grown in distinction because it is the first Pro Tour race held outside of Europe. This means there are 8-9 world class Pro Cycling teams on hand to contest the stages. The race has a criterium race to start that is not part of the overall stage race and then 6 stages held around and in Adelaide.
The city is easy to navigate and find places. Bikes are very welcome, with bike routes marked on almost all the streets. It is not uncommon to see groups of 10 to 30 riders racing around town.
The bike gear is high end and everyone seems serious about biking.
There are flat areas to ride, like to the beach town of Glenelg, about 12 kilometers south of Adelaide center. There are hills to ride that will challenge most riders. There are no mountains but climbs of about 650 meters are about a half an hour ride from our apartment.
We have tried three climbs so far this week and all offer a great view of Adelaide and then the Southern Ocean.
The bike races have been great, close racing all week. Today we watched the last stage, a criterion, in central Adelaide. A Team High Road rider, Andre Greiple, (May not be the right spelling) won the final stage and race overall and beat Alan Davis of Team Uni/SA, a local Aussie national team that was let into the race. Mid way through the race Davis was within a second of Greiple, so it’s been close all week.
We only missed watching one stage that was a few hours drive into the country on Friday.
We decided to go to a Coopers beer brewery tour instead, one of Chris’ demands for the week.
Friday, we drove to Wilunga to watch that stage, which circled through town about 4 times before the finish in town.
Vera scored another big day, collecting Miguel Indurain’s autograph on THREE Tour Down Under caps plus collected a AG2R musette bag in the feed zone.
Chris also got Miguel’s autograph and a handshake. If you don’t know, Miguel is one of a handful of 5 time Tour de France overall winners and is here helping the local organizers of the Tour Down Under.
The weather has been perfect. The temps have been from 20 to 33 C all week, mostly sunny and beautiful or as the Aussies say “fine” weather.
Chris and I have ridden every day while here, beach rides, climbs, bike trails along the Torrence River to the ocean, city rides, lots of variety.
It’s Sunday afternoon here now, we are about to head to dinner at a local pub and schnitzel house, supposed to be the best schnitzel in town.
Tomorrow at about 4 A.M. we say good bye to one of my all time favorite towns in the world and drive back to Goulburn, a 13-14 hour drive through the flat sections of the continent.
It will be a sad day.
We still have lots of plans for the next week, recover on Tuesday, go to a local Cricket match on Wed. in Canberra, Thursday, who knows, Friday, back on the Ducati for a motorbike ride to south Sydney and then back along the coast to Goulburn. Saturday is the Clarence St Cup track races in the Sydney velodrome. Looking at the registration list, some of the Tour Down Under riders will also be racing at Clarence St. I’m hoping all the road miles will help not hurt my track riding.
After that we lay around Sydney for a few days pack the bikes up again and then board the plane to return to the cold country.