Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Tour Down Under – a little late starting, but it IS a start!


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A quick recap on 2010 to date — Had the BIG Engagement party in early Jan (and thanks to all who came along — it was gratifying seeing so many of Mands and my family and friends there, many from a long way away). And then it was straight to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under.

Allrighty. So I have been meaning to keep people in touch with what’s been going on, and have heard about this “blogging” thing ever since about 2004. I’m now getting it together. I’ll start with some stuff that I wrote, but never sent. But it IS a start.

Things will catch up to the now quickly enough. But I feel for posterity’s sake (like posterity is an entity in and of itself, and if it were, would give a hoot as to what I did or didn’t do. Hubris. Pure hubris!) I should send the stuff from the earlier part of the year.

So here is episode one…

Tour Down Under
Living through Episode One.

Tallies at the end of Jan

  • Countries — 2
  • Hotel days — 18
  • Hotels — 2
  • Air distance — 21096km
  • Driving distance — 657km (this excludes at race stuff — too hard to keep up with it!)

Tour Down Under is pretty much as cool a race as it is possible to do — we are based at the Hilton Adelaide for the full length of time that the race is on, transfers to and from the start and finish are no longer than 2hrs ever (and didn’t we complain about THAT day!) there is a big shopping centre right where we stay so all provisions are easily replenished, the mechanics have a big work area… it’s just cruisy!

And then the dream continued — we were offered a corporate box at the Masters tennis a couple of nights before the race itself started — so we got to watch McEnroe and Rafter take each other on. It was dead cool! And hilarious seeing McEnroe throw a couple of tanties! He’s still angry. It’s still great to watch!

Tour Down Under
Jackie Bobby on the start line.

The race itself saw the foreign staff all keep a beady eye out for any native wildlife. You forget how exotic kangaroos and such-like are to foreigners until you hear how excited they are by “those pretty pink and grey parrots!”

Of course we then tried to spot a roo in the wild, to no avail, but one feed zone in Nowheresville, South Australia, happened to have a pen with a couple of emus and roos or wallabies in it. A very exciting moment for a lot of the staff! And then at the finish some local lobbed up with a koala in swaddling clothes. Random. But once again, very exciting for our foreign visitors!

I have a video of me trying to explain the local wildlife to my friends on the team…

Anyhoo… Luckily the new boys on the team integrated very well — we have a good bunch of workmates! (ahem… I was… ahem… quoted in the Adelaide paper as stating the team has a “no dickheads policy”… so classy. So professional!) We were up the road a lot, and got a lot of time in the press, but unfortunately couldn’t bop a big result.

Tour Down Under
Biso ripping up the service area.

A good result, though, was that one of our boys managed to sneak in to eighth place on the final day criterium circuit using time bonuses on the intermediate sprints.

The reason why this is important is that the teams are ranked on their results in the early season, and this ranking determines where the team car is placed in the race convoy for the one day races held in March & April. Obviously if you’re more than ten cars back, the time it takes for a car to get to the front of the convoy and help out the rider in whatever way they need, the race is often already run for them.

Christian Meyer at sign on.

So we then packed it up, headed back to Sydney for about 36hrs, and then jumped on a flight from Sydney to London to Madrid to Alicante (an ugly, ugly journey of some 40hrs including transfers, etc) so that we could go to the last few days of the team training camp, held in Calpe (which is a little town south of Valencia).

The weather there was as good as you could hope for Europe in winter — 18-23degrees and sunny! Very nice! So in all, an excellent return to racing for me, and for the boys from the Tour Down Under.