Today was our day to ride. We entered the Mutual Community Challenge which rode the Tour 155k route from start to finish. There were other options though, and some in the group had opted for the shorter 97ks version.
There were two starts for the 155, the earlier of which was for "faster" riders with a start half an hour later for the more casual riders. Miri and I took a gamble on the second start. Although worried about being at the back of the pack and being caught up with less experienced riders, we thought it better than to be caught up with bunches of gung-ho riders that might just want to flatten us...
The gamble paid off. We arrived at the start just as the first bunch pulled out. It was massive. We were pleasantly surprised to find a significantly smaller bunch to start with, and an additional start just 15 minutes after we arrived, rather than the scheduled 30.
We'd talked tactics the day before. Happily, we both agreed that taking one of the "bailouts" was perfectly acceptable. After all, they were sanctioned bailouts - fair game right? I also figured that I was training for the Australian Longcourse Championships and if I was at home I wouldn't be doing a 155k ride. I'd probably in fact be looking at a 100-120k long ride. So, taking the bailout wouldn't even harm that.
However, the highlight of the ride was breaking out the team jerseys. The organisers had an event jersey that was compulsory for all riders. If you had enough people, though, you could register as a team and customise your jerseys with a team name. We had gone for the team name:
LANCE SIGN HERE: ______
It got the thumbs up from almost everyone that passed us (and in Miri and my case, that was a lot of people). But whether it would get the same from The Man himself remained to be seen...
We arrived at Angaston in plenty of time to get a spot for the race finish.
When we headed home, tired after a long day, we spotted pro riders on their "warm down" ride. Surely they weren't riding the full 80ks back to Adelaide...? Yep, we think they did.