25 April 2008

ANZAC tour de duty

eden hills roll out 0700hrs. sweep by the doctors and tour in tandem to belair road junction. message from the flank signals dutch is rolling from ANZAC ridge to the rendezvous. ETA 35min. 15 klicks to roll new belair. panoramas spectacular. downhill at pace. onward to fullarton glen osmond intersector. lyrca in numbers counted. a small battalion on the move to distant tours of duty. quick recce of the ATM and the 'wide boys' descend for some smokkeling. head north dequeteville hackney high and sweepers into melbourne street shuffle. rusty dave is hopping curbs and seeking dirt and a drop. noel throws out lycra lines benefits vs obligations. tour north adelaide roll montefiore. right into memorial drive for some flatland hustle, rusty in the dirt at point. wier. bike path. dodge strollers and barkers. tight pack descends on narrowing course. hand signals no to be ignored or some old timer wears a michellin pattern. at pace collect and drive to the beachead. henley cafe long blacks whites and stiff chocolate muchos. rusty retreats to pack and retrieve commrades. the group heads north coastal. the wind glassing. the tour sweeps tennyson and semaphores. largs pier. outer harbour tree lined loop of asphalt. noel deflating wide boys need air for the tail wind tallys and shifts to a southerly beckoning a new frontal assault. at 58 we retreat hewind now constant. discussions issue of industrial design form over function and type face benefits of tiling over tight kerning. take on rations and more caffeine and carrot cake. roll the torrens and parade to croydon bunching keeping the wideboy tucked in. back street sortee. traffic minimal. south road brewery and backstreets to the wheatsheaf. noel retires form the homeward takes on fluid and puts up the standard issue cleats. observe rememberence from the beer googles. lager. smokkelaars trois maintain momentum and cruise. mile end stop for puncture possible. push on to the ANZAC legend and observe the rituals of traffic. winston calls in and van dutch drops offline and the cross roads and heads solo back to the ridge via the eagle. doc and skipper quieten down and grind out the last 10. shepherds hill bites hard. at 92 klicks we call it a day. feed and water solo. thanks lads. all respect to the diggers. the legend is alive. the true ANZAC spirit.


1 comment:

Geert said...

Un petit annecdote pour le spirit de L'Anzac.

This is a continuing tale connecting with Skippers upright and ever truthful story of the day. Poetry of motion. There is no truth in cycling they say but there is a lot to be learned.

Riding on Winston Avenue, previous stomping ground in my uni days, Cross Road appears too quick. See ya Tim, see ya Greg. I have tail wind on the Cross Road, another metaphor for this important day. My legs feel good and I ride quick. I feel warm of the friendship shared on our ride to Outer Harbor and it was great to see my friend Noel stomping away on his tractor tires. Dave's jumps want me to be 20 years younger.

The freeway path beckoned and I kept my momentum and pedaled myself into that state of near meditation which I always find after the legs and sore shoulders have settled after a week of hiking. I stay far to the left of the path as downhillers wheeze by. Can't daydream my way into a bunch of pro-tour clothed young gods.

I see the spot where once on a dark night riding home from work, a koala sat in the twilight of the freeway and of whom I thought it could be a rabies infected and starved rotweiller on the loose. Freaked me. Up and up and my thoughts are with the strange phenomenon of the 'remonte' after a tough Willunga ride last week. So different now, cooler weather and enjoying the cadence. I pass the dog kennel who's owner is fixing the roof. G'day. The tunnel takes me away from the traffic of Melbourne bound traffic and I ride in peace, the wind still on my side. I think of Villers Bretonneux on the Somme where today they have the first dawn service. About bloody time.

Years ago I was driving with my girl friend along the Somme, en route to the South and away from the toll freeways on the Route National. I drove into Villers without knowing of its significance. We had passed several war cemeteries. British, Singaporean, Canadian, French and from other commonwealth nations. Then suddenly on the right hand side this enormous Southern Cross flying high in a concrete pole. Framed in the moody clouds of Northern France, indeed Paris-Roubaix country. I stopped the car, got out and visited some of the graves of the diggers and had tears in my eyes. At that time I was not planning to return to Australia to live but I felt very close and it was as though I was looking at the site of were my countrymen had fallen. What a waste, what an incredible tragedy.

The legs are still good. I have nailed 2 of the 4 steep sections without any drama and check my Sigma which indicates that I am passing the 90k mark. I stop for a wee and it took a long time before I am ready. As slow as the ascent. I smile and think of the lycra comments of the day. When I sent my brother Piet pictures of the Smokkelaars after the Strath ride I got an angry reply that I should start to wear some decent gear. 'You are so creative, how come you always dress so improper', Piet's brotherly annoyed reply came. I learned today that this is because I can't see my own bum. Thank you team.

Eagle Park on he right, Eagle on the Hill on the left. A few Valentino's trying their skill and luck on the winding road. Been there, done that. I sympathize with these kids and hope they keep it right and on the road.

The last steep stretch which climbs to the top of the ride where the poles prohibit cars from taking a wrong drive down is coming. I know the spot where a few sandbags have been placed years ago when it was very stormy and wet up there and decide that that is the moment where I will sprint for the poles. I get out of the saddle and jump for a good 50 meters, then come to my senses and relax and ride to the car in the transferal place in Crafers. I feel a million bucks.

At home, I don't muck about and drink 2 icecold Chinotto's on the rocks then remember Greg's wise advice and brew a strong gatorade. Orange. I drive to Aldgate and buy grapes, cheese and a bottle of good wine and pick up 4 video's. There is no guilt in doing that after the ride deserved. To Kill a Mockingbird, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Flying Scotsman and All Quiet On The Western Front. I have just watched the latter. Excellent film and equally good book.

Anzac Ridge Road!