The start of the race had such a vibe, just like it had last year. Although there was slightly less Lance-mania this year, and fans huddled almost equally beside the Radio Shack van for Lance and the BMC van for Cadel. It was most congested up at the race start adjacent to the sign on board, so I gave that up and just wandered around, seeing what I could see and listening to the interviews with the cyclists.
Once they were away, it took me a little while to get through the detours in place before heading out onto Cross Road to find the bike way beside the freeway. Again, there were lots of cyclists with the same plan, so although I rode by myself I had plenty of company and despite my fairly general directions written down on a scrap of paper, had no real chance of getting lost. Mark had warned me that the ride was all up hill, but I wasn't that concerned - a 20k hill climb would be good training.
What I hadn't really counted on was the heat. The race started at 11pm, so by the time I got out of town it would have been close to 11.30. According to Weather Underground - it was close to 40 degrees at the time I was climbing the hill. No wonder my water bottles were overheating!
I stopped a few times, mainly when I saw a decent enough patch of shade to shelter under for a short moment. On one of the stops I checked my phone to see a message from Mark. The boys had arrived safely in Stirling. Keep on trucking Lyndell was just what I needed to keep me motivated.
I got there; but I'm not telling you what my average speed was!
Again we set up next to a feed zone to see the Uni SA soigneur handing out drink bottles like a pro.
The stage was one by Portugese champion Manuel Cardoso... with Cadel in the chase. Would this be a sign for the days to come? We hoped so.
At the end of the stage it was time for the descent back to Adelaide. I was passed by the Saxobank Team on the climb up out of Stirling, but started the descent proper with Team Milram... and managed to stay with them for longer than I expected! It was a real buzz to share the road with riders from Euskatel Euskadi, Rabobank, Liquigas and Francaise Des Jeux, among others.