there will be many stories told of TDU'09, but the "Team 155" story started 6.30pm Thursday when Doc, Trippo, Kidd and Junior (aka "World's Most Eligible Bachelor") set up camp in an old church at Burnside for the night. Skipper and Van Dutch joined for local carbo load (great night lads) before an early night ... drifting off to sleep to the sound of the trucks on Portrush.
It's dark at 4.30 you know? ... but the team of 5 excited Smokkelaars lept into action and readied for the big day. Thousands of yellow jerseys turn burnside into an oversized hive and Rowdy is not rowdy enough to be found amongst the crowd. Junior misjudges the call of nature and misses the start relegating the Team's well laid plans of an early exit into the back half of the field. Early rolling is slowed by the swarm and we even link up with Rowdy briefly ... but he vanishes just as quick as he arrived. The rolling ascent up Gorge(ous) Rd is slowed further by the yellow swarm but as the swarm spreads out the speed picks up and there is no time for anything but a quick wave to the Tiger as Team S fly through the Gum on the way to the first of many poorly managed stops at Mount Pleasant. After 10 mins of looking down the road for those standing on the other side of the same fence, Team S regroups for the speedy descent into Williamstown ... and speedy it was - Trippo hooks on to fast Daccordi and speeds of 45+ split the field and leave heads shaking ... remember the Mengler Monster boys! Williamstown brings food, chaos of a new hive and another botched stop - this time 15 mins waiting for Van Dutch who was already ahead on the road. A more sensible pace through Lyndoch and into the rolling climb that softens up the legs before the right turn into the jaws of the monster. Each to their own up Menglers and the regroup at the top is met with survivors relief. The best of bunch riding is on display down the other side as Team S carve wake through the peleton before head winds kill the pace and the fun. But even the stiff headwind could not dampen the enthusiasm of an official sighting of the Ghost - Doc touched him (Skip and Gunner will later dismiss the claim as wild fantasy, but let's just say "he lives"). The final 20 kms are a slog through wind and hills that suddenly seem bigger on Mengler-mangled legs. In the end, Angaston can't come quick enough for some and the final surprise climb post finish brings calls to re-examine the contract ... "I didn't sign up for this".
155 is conquered - all intact and all healthy
I trust Skip will journal the post ride celebrations - including great food (small good included) and Skipper's nudie-run.
By the numbers:
155km in 5:34 to 6.00 hours (some stopped for longer than others)
ave speed 26.5-27.6km/h (incl. the slow roll over the first 12km)
small goods packed 1
people asking about origins of team S 6+
police officers asking about origins of team S 1
litres of goodness-knows-what snorted from Doc's nose 2.78
number of food and water stops 3
number of food and water stops where we lost members of the team 3
friday 23 january 4am. 1274 days since skippers last ghost writing. its dark the air crisp and still. skip rolled the beliar descent solo picking up the 'only honest working cyclist' in the town— heading off to his early shift at RAH, busting big cogs the worker flung his trusted avanti down hill from absolute memory, cause you really cant see that well at 4.15am. the LED flickers distant as the hill rolls out. cross road assembles more gamers warming up their calfs. burnside is a hive of yellow the dawn breaks eastern over the incessant brigade. bees to the honey pot. the 155 lads sift floor space for last minute refinement. trippo busts in100psi in the toobs to get things really rolling. the quintet dutch, kidd —avec les goods petit, trippo junior and doc saddle up and set off in search of some folklore, and soon merge mellow. gunner and support team catherine arrives bravo and with skipp in tow set course for mount pleasant and a more pleasent ride—as the name suggests. but there is no truth in cycling. sans braclet gunner does some fast talking, harley rolls out INEXA into the morning shadows and ACDC fronts TREK to the trios looking for support for his solo run. there's a funny nack thats on view when masses of cyclist assemble, somebody knows somebody, or chance encounters turn to pure gold. as when on TDU stage 2 billy and alex trading bikes stories on the steps of mylor general store—an afternoon of good company and some decent little rides as four new velos. fantastische to meet alex CEO bike nsw and billy the MAEVS kidd' good times. back to the now. the quatro look for the 25plus start and actually get away on time for a change. skipper paced out till the commotion thinned and settled into a nice early rhythm gunner calling ACDC tunes and harley picking the lines. springton sweeper for points grand vitesse. and the climb busted up the pace line. reasssemble for the downhill run to williamstown and 'pinky' trundles by looking for her errant t ECOtours team and appropriatley asked the skipper for pace line access. to his better judgement and after gunner consult we agree to open the team bus for a relative stranger. access granted. colnago c 50. pace like that wont last and soon williamtson hustle arrivés and the regroup. its along way top the top— an old and trusted ACDC tune and by now but well known. post B1 fabulous paceline set. 5 smokking talismen forge and forget the garmin wayfinder the kiwi pinky trades blows smokkelaar fashion giant pants from across the dutch. then the undulations bite feigning scant regard for the effort envoked. the vales pack breaks open and regroups breaks again and the kapunda town screams have fun with the 'mangler' on the horizon the yellow ribbon stretching out and up the hillside. B2 drinks station looms again wrong side of the road and a stock count envoked. harley by now has committed to the climb and see little bonus points in the escape route now. the cheeky and sneaky ginger seeks smokkelaars origins confirmation. well, the hill will have to kill her off and then proceeds to talk down skippers soft cogs 23 and anything with a 27 et compacto. climbing is her strong suit! and she wasn't strong before? gunner is musing. shaking his head in disbelief at the total lack of respect. AC looks to the massing yellow for a jailbreak but there is no bullitts ensuing in the carpark. the riders ascend. and the menglers lays down the law. grinding cranks. tyres howling 'pain is weakness leaving the body' the she devil laughs in adversary. the KOM and harley emerges with stories laced with pure adrenelin. attempted reo rod sabotage foiled. was that rowdy with easy style confidence. then de ascent confusion sweeping hill backs the pace quickens in anticipation — its just around the corner now, hey? well just this little 30 k run out. count the climbs 1. 2. 3. more. then headwinds laugh in the face off the breaking group. gunner finds comfort with speed and clicks the doors shut on a passing bus leaving trails of dust and yellow mist. disappearing over the crest of yet another unscheduled vale his group manic and self destructs prior to seppetlsfield. then gets caught on the wrong side of 20k seppeltsfield of dreams. the hive does everything except have a massive spill. miracles do happen. its as if there is something brewing. could it the be the presence of another. no the mind has started playing the usual tricks. there will be some stories of over excitedness. more vales by now the tiring pack is strung out KIWI calls in the team for the turn grenoch wind now at our backs. is that the laconic stroke of the dutch tourist? seeking solace in the constant motion—Van Dutch engages from 155 determined to get this stage over. the added determination intros. add impetus to the on the tour of the barossa. skip then thinks the guy cruising passed looks familiar. hey do you think that guy there looks like cadel? nah couldn't be could it? why would he ride in this? confirmation sort from our tourist. who rides the other side to check up close and personal. could be. but that guy looks too old. well he looks old and that was a seriously fit and familliar riding style maybe the mind is playing its old tricks. showing the effects of the tour and wind and sun. nuriotpa had more surprises the bamaboo and hemp and vegan bike not in that order. then the last 5. now whose boss as ginger megs has now taken to organising the sprint calling in van dutch to strongarm his way through the chaos. the train en tow. skipp takes first wheel gunner seizing the move and the pace livens attacks left and right 'geert stegemanns' style lead out and the the inline sprint over the finish ACDC on song. c'est manafique. we unhitch the trans tasman trade treaty with invites open for return tours near future. harley rolls the finish massive effort for the pacesetter. the last 20 was tough. our new riders ginger and ACDC stepping up again showing how terrific the concept of cycling can be. thanks to the ton team. the picnic table stories of yore as the celbrated 32ers give their version of 'weakness leaving the body' amidst calls of a serious setup. then the 155 posse roll in delirious. proving that there is no truth[s] in cycling with tall tails of mirages and real life apparitions. so much so even the doc was convinced into seeing 'a ghost'. eat and drinks and photos and 'lost' parked cars. assemble track side. the pros flew in. the town disassembles el pronto. the circus vans unwind. thanks TeamS great day! good times!
98ks inc that last flippin hill
4.10-20 ride time—note Gbaxter time. 155k at 4.20. ave 37kph. maybe it is good you guys missed him!
top speed ignored
people skipper knows—well the guy from cycleworx stopped skipper does that count.
andrew 'ACDC' cockington
megan 'ginger cheeky megs KIWI' blank
special appearance from 'van dootch'