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The first tour of the 2017 UCI road season is officially in the books. After four days of fierce racing in blistering hot conditions, Orica-Scott once again took home the win at the Santos Women’s Tour, where more international competition lined up than ever before.
Summer racing in Australia continues with the Deakin University Elite Women’s Race on January 28th, where top-level teams like Canyon-SRAM, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, WiggleHigh5, Cylance Pro Cycling and Ale Cipollini Galassia will square off again before returning to the Northern Hemisphere.
Among the stellar international riders who left the cold weather at home behind in search for sun is Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling). Formerly a member of the Orica-AIS squad, the 27-year-old penned a pre-race diary for us to introduce you to her new squad. Still wired from the fast and furious final stage of the Santos Women’s Tour, here’s Wiles reporting from Adelaide.
Well, the Santos Women’s Tour has come and gone in a FLASH! Over the last four days we’ve blown out the off-season cobwebs, pinned on some numbers, sharpened our elbows, felt the familiar twinge of the hungry Mondays and experienced just how good it feels to have your heart rate reach 211 bpm in 100+ degree (38+ degree Celsius) heat. Yep, that is real data from a teammate’s file for stage 4!
From an outside perspective that might sound awful, but this is what we love, what we live for, and after four days of great racing we are hungry for more…and also just plain hungry in general!
Food on the brain
Our dinner conversation tonight was dominated by talk of our favourite go-to emergency snacks. You know, those snacks you hide under the seat of your car for when you get h-angry running errands, or the things you slip into your bag anytime you leave the house for fear you may never see food again. For Lauren, her go-to snacks are dried mango, seaweed snacks, cashews and kombucha. For Ruth, it’s Aunties Cheddar Bunnies…which she quite literally hides under the seat of her car and scolds her boyfriend for forgetting to replace! For Rushlee, it’s scruggen…yes, this is lesson #2 in Kiwi slang: scruggen=trail mix. For Lauretta, it’s medjool dates and apricot delight (apricot delight is an Aussie thing, basically dried apricots and sugar mushed into cube form…and for the record, it is indeed delightful). For Katie, it’s tortillas and eggs –we are still trying to figure out how she hides this in her bag or under the seat of the car but I guess that’s her business. And for me, it’s all things almond! I have an unhealthy obsession for Trader Joe’s dry roasted almonds and Trader Joe’s salted crunchy almond butter.
Ok, enough about food back to the race…
Our first team race
As a team of six, with only two of the riders having raced together the previous season, we had a lot to learn about each other coming into the tour. With the strength that we have as a team, I knew we could leave our mark on the race and was so excited when we executed that goal on stage one, getting a podium with Katie.
We had four riders in the final breakaway of 25 and we used our numbers to our advantage, attacking and following moves until Katie’s attack stuck and she made an incredibly strong solo ride all the way to the line to hold on for third. A podium finish in our first race together was something we were really proud of.
During the stage 2 criterium, the team –and especially Lauren– did an incredible job of helping Ruth with the intermediate time bonuses which shot her into the best young rider jersey.
The stage 3 road race was another scorcher of a day, and I think Lauretta definitely set an all-time record for most bottles and ice socks delivered in a two and a half hour period, what a legend!
During stage 4 we not only battled the heat but also the mirage of not one but two or maybe even three Rushlees in the race. She is the New Zealand National Champion, but the New Zealand National team also have a team racing here, so when they wear their white kits, it sudden feels as though Rushlee has multiplied…which in a bike race is not actually a bad thing –triple the engine, yes please!
However, my highlight for all of the stages was hearing various teammates shout “skux life” as they passed me in the peloton (read my pre-race diary to understand this). You might be chewing a heap of stem but as soon as you hear that you can’t help but smile!
Thinking back now it wasn’t all hot, hot heat and suffering in circles, we got to do some pretty amazing stuff over the last four days and the adventure continues!
Coffee shop explorations
Being the coffee loving blue crew, coffee shop exploration is mandatory and we’ve gotten off to a good start here in Adelaide. So should you find yourself in these parts, here’s a coffee shop guide:
The first stage started in the adorable German-themed town of Hahndorf where we quickly scoped out the best coffee shop, a little place called Caffeind! Such a great find with delicious locally roasted beans and yummy treats.
Our coffee shop exploration took us to the Coffee Barun on our crit morning spin, a lovely little spot that Katie had sussed out, and it did not disappoint. We all had delicious coffee and probably the best muffins any of us have ever eaten. This stop spurred our post-race day plan for tomorrow: brunch at the Coffee Barun and then the beach!
Our stage 4 morning coffee spin took us into the heart of Adelaide to Nano, a perfectly placed little cafe with good coffee and edible doorstops. Admittedly I didn’t know what a doorstop was either but after two teammates ordered them and I realized it is basically a breakfast pizza (bread topped with eggs, spinach, ham or whatever you want, really) I realized it’s a little piece of heaven.
We all get to stay in Adelaide for about a week in-between this race and Cadel’s so the coffee shop exploration will continue, along with some race provided activities like sunset yoga with the Lululemon crew, possibly some local theatre shenanigans, a track event, some mandatory recovery on the beach, and a few hard training days in the beautiful Adelaide hills, during we might “stop at the dairy and get an ice block out of the chilly bin” (Kiwi slang lesson #3).
All in all, it was an awesome four days getting to know each other and getting back into the swing of bike racing. A HUGE congratulations to Spratty and the Orica Scott girls, they raced brilliantly all week and deserved that leaders jersey. Okie dokie thats all from me folks, once again from this coffee loving blue crew to you, skux as and eat your scroggin!