crafers: 7.15am. the reddening eastern, warnings for the acclimatising fanatics. dootch employed an early release clause and the smokkelaar numeros diminish in the summit shadows. ninja, syd and skipper brave chill conditions and cajole the now needed support from velos: michael, madeline en tour stateside, chris, and the campo staging 'alistair' already tinkering with his italianess after the eagle climb. oh and christo just to haunt the egos of past. ghost was no show. skipper asking if any of the ascendants had seen any washing on the lines. 8am the pace set early, the smokkelaar mixed with the ensuing tide without effort. the new pack sorted road position. the down sweep to stirling and the first laydown on a fast left hander had the pack reaching for the anchors. the wallpaper impressive. bike handling 9 out of ten on the 40kph 30m barking. her day over. shaken and stirred but otherwise together. the valley chilled shivering and twisted to mylor and the pace settled although syd made the mistake of using 'carlos' christos as his pace line. skipper set up ninja for a fast attack on mylor station. the roads settling the pace 'up there' for a cross wind. mylor departe regroup with our new wheelers and alisatir and chris led the road out for a 20k windward attack on the pines. bunching with new legs the pace hitting 40 and then the 'lowest heart rate' on earth had to answer phil liggots 'call of nature'. the rhythm lost. willunga kom station reared and the trifecta ordered cafe to go. no sign of ghost although it was possibly too early for him to be up and doing his washing. maybe something was stirring. christo playing his strong suit of climbing and suggest he has the right height to win the tour de france as he now measures up to carlos sastre eye to eye. still youthful avec douze ans, we discovered he rides with a lance high count of vmo—midechloriniens. the ghost no show at the breakfast table. and with the 50 ticked off the myth busting team washed off as much time as thought was necessary to get the 'real' smokkelaar pack on the line. the tour then opened up the best cycling 'flat' road on the tour calendar pages, run out at good pace. the swing back into the wind busted up the now trio. but syd looking relaxed on his new orbea with the magnesium teflon iridium hip coated ratios he was loving. ninja worked super to stay on line and we cruised passed the last stop looking for the roll down to call the 'bluff'. still no ghost. nothing that resembled laundry. syd took first wheel paced us in. the last climb extended and fought the velos regroup and redefined tactics to ride in and launch the ninja to the line from 3rd wheel where she was 'storing' the pace. 'team tatics' played their hand to secretly give enough rope but to beat those chest beaters to the line. at ave 27-28 we where holding off the egos—magnificent 7 — with a half hour time gap. 12.05 we launched the ninja over the line to finish the stage. unclipped and headed to regroup with our pace setters who where by this time lounging trackside. the support team of 25ers invited us to witness the seven-a-side roll in, sans apparition! much hugging and kissing, tears of joy or was it that the ghost myth was called for what it is—busted! amid whispers of discontent from the 'autobus', syd nods knowingly line honors to ninja. and the 'oli' intros grand entry with cafe crawl and conjecture of 'trouble' on the horizon . ninja sydney — great ride mythbusters. and lets just state for the record that 'the skipper' has a different leadership—style. his is maybe about who you know!