Tour Down Under – Stage 1
CT Bunch Ride (iphoto James Broadway)
What a day! I was astonished to see everyone there at the first CT bunch ride. It made me realize what a great community of like-minded people have gathered because of this simple but powerful medium.
I was my usual 5 minutes late and as I came around the corner to our meeting spot I couldn’t believe my eyes. Surely all these people can’t be here for this ride? I saw a couple people who I recognized so went up to them to say g’day. As I went from group to group of scattered people I realized that this was all the same bunch ride. Phew! I won’t be riding alone today after-all!
A big thanks for everyone who showed up and all who wanted to show up. There looked to be around 70 riders in total. Look out @lancearmstrong! Also, thank you to my good friend Shannon who guided us around the roads of Adelaide. There was one ute who managed to cause a crash but luckily no one was hurt.
The Race. What Race?
After the bunch ride we wanted to see the finish of the race. We drove the scenic route up George Road to the finishing town of Tanunda. I cannot wait to ride this road tomorrow. It’s breathtaking! As we took our sweet time getting to Tanunda the peloton was about 20mins ahead of schedule. The moment we arrived we saw the sprinters rolling through their run-out. We missed it by no more than 10 seconds! Therefore not much exciting for me to talk about today in terms of the bike race, but we’ll take another crack tomorrow.
We decided to cut our losses, drive to a friend’s winery in the Barossa Valley, and cash in on his hospitality with a few glasses of vino with some choice food. This was the best part of the day and it didn’t have anything to do with cycling. Mrs CT is going to be very jealous as this type of thing is what she lives for ;-)
Tom showing us around Shebbook Vinyards (photo James Broadway)
I’m fortunate to have acquired a media pass for the TdU, but today I found that it doesn’t really get me too much except the use of the media center (free wifi and drinks which is pretty sweet) and the opportunity to take the same photos that a hundred other photographers are taking. Other than that I’m not quite sure what to do with it. To be honest, the further away I can get from being like cyclingnews, the better.
Here’s something to that last point. There’s quickly becoming a movement of support for the most obscure pro rider in this tour. The rider who is attracting this mass mania is a Frenchman named Arthur Vichot. You don’t know who Arthur Vichot is? Well you will by the time this tour is over. I’ve already seen his name painted on the roads and apparently the fanclub already has t-shirts printed. Cyclists can be a crazy bunch of nuts! I always love the way sporting fans come up with a way to make a relatively boring spectator sport more exciting. Visit Arthur’s facebook fanclub and get on the Vichot train here.
It’s quickly becoming apparent that the best way to enjoy this race is to go for a good ride with your mates, catch an exciting section of the stage on a climb or sprint prime, then ride to the finish. Precisely what I’ll do tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have a more eventful update for you buy then.
As always, I leave you with a few photos from the day.
Rusty doing what he does best (photo Leigh Schilling)
The peloton is off! (photo Leigh Schilling)
Tough crowed in Adelaide (photo Leigh Schilling)
Leigh Schilling and James Broadway at work