Nice clear day but too windy, especially coming down Cox Hill Rd, and it was a bit of a battle riding into the wind on the Veloway.
The combined climbs of Flagstaff and Chandlers Hills makes a good challenge. Happy Valley Drive is a busy road but there is plenty of space for bikes on the shoulder so it’s quite safe. Chandlers Hill Rd is narrow in parts but not so busy. The winding descent into Clarendon via Clarendon Rd is well worthwhile, but the climb back out was a bit nasty.
Piggott Range Road was new to me, and I recommend it for riding. Quiet Rd with a nice smooth surface along a ridge with views out to the sea over Noarlunga, and on the other side views of the Kangarilla area. It continues onto Cox Hill Rd (there is a sign warning that Piggott Range Rd is gravel from that point), which has a nice easy decent down to Hackham where you can join the Coast to Vines Rail Trail.
Went to check out Fox Creek Rd today, haven’t been there before. You can use it to connect up a Gorge Rd ride with Lobethal Rd, in the middle there’s a bit of a climb through Mt Crawford Forest, nothing too bad though. Made for quite a long hills ride all up though, on the way back the climb to Ashton seemed to go on forever. Shame the sun didn’t come out the whole time, but on the other hand at least it didn’t rain.
Thought I’d try out the two big bike paths down south, the Veloway which follows the Southern Expressway and the Coast to Vines trail which goes between Marino and McLaren Vale (with the Shiraz Trail extending it to Willunga). Of course, you can’t go to Willunga without riding up the hill.
Had to go to Flinders Uni for work so I decided to take the scenic route. A highlight was Sturt Valley Road, I hadn’t been all the way along that before, very nice road for cycling. Also saw a koala in Belair National Park. Was a bit slow up to Crafers since I was carrying lots of stuff, the panniers were packed full.
Tomorrow evening the 2011 Tour Down Under starts with the Cancer Council Classic, which is a short race around a city circuit (going around the outside of Rymill Park). It’s not part of the actual race, it is an intro to the tour which is always very popular with spectators. It gives you a good chance to get out see all the riders close up. The start time is 6:45 and it runs for just over an hour. Best to get there a bit early to get a good position, especially if you want to get into the park in the centre of the circuit.
The tour proper starts on Tuesday with stage 1 from Mawson Lakes to Angaston (138km). It starts by heading in to the hills and up to One Tree Hill, then back down and through Gawler followed by a ride up the Barossa Valley to do do three laps of a circuit through Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Angaston. Just one climb early one, I expect they’ll all stay together and their should be a good sprint at the end – obviously Mark Cavendish will be one to look out for there.
On Wednesday stage two takes them away from Adelaide to the Murray River, with a ride from Tailem Bend to Mannum – which may sound rather short and flat, but of course they take the scenic route climbing into the hills from Callington and up through Nairne, Woodside, Mount Torrens, Birdwood and then down from Mt Pleasant to a finish on the river at Mannum. So there’s a bit of climbing early but then the stage is mostly downhill with a long flat section from the hills to the river at the finish.
On Thursday stage 3 brings them back to town with a start in Unley – though the race proper doesn’t start until they get onto the southern expressway. This one covers quite a bit of territory that’s familiar to me, having been down the expressway to McLaren Vale late last year for Amy’s ride. We went via Willunga, but the tour saves that for Saturday, so they take a more direct route to McLaren Vale and then up to Kangarilla, Meadows, Echunga and then onto a circuit around Mylor and Algate for a rather hilly stage that finishes at Stirling.
Friday has another start in town, this time at Norwood, and finished out at Strathalbyn. I did a ride to Strathalbyn recently (covering some of the roads the tour covers in stage 3) the ride there isn’t too bad once you get up to Crafers, but the ride back is nasty. Of course, once again for the tour they aren’t taking the direct route, they’ll be riding up the Torrens gorge through Cudlee Creek (a really beautiful ride that I should do again, but I can never seem to resist the temptation to turn up Corkscrew Rd), up to Checkers Hill which should be a great King of the Mountains challenge (and which should be high on my to-do list of climbs), then down to Mt Barker via Lobethal and Hahndorf and then to Strathalbyn via Macclesfield, Meadows and Ashbourne. The big downhill to Meadows should be a spectacular finish.
On Saturday the penultimate stage includes the traditional climb up Willunga Hill on a stage that’s otherwise fairly flat. It starts at McLaren Vale with two loops through Willunga and down to Port Willunga, and then two loops on a circuit up the Hill and back down at McLaren Vale, finishing in Willunga. I’m hoping to get down there to watch the two climbs up the hill.
It all wraps up Sunday week with the usual North Adelaide Street circuit, always a good one for the people of the city to get out and watch as well (and what better way to celebrate the end of the tour then by coming down to the Metro to see me do a DJ set afterwards?).
Since the tour became a pro-tour event we’ve seen an increase in the number of big names competing. This year that includes the biggest name in cycling, Lance Armstrong, competing in an international event for the last time, Mark Cavendish who has dominated the Tour de France sprint finishes in recent years, 2010 & 2008 TDU winner André Greipel, Aussie favourites Stuart O’Grady, Robbie McEwen, Michael Rogers, Simon Gerrans, Allan Davis and lots more.
A lot of locals will be watching young Adelaide cyclist Jack Bobridge, well known to local cyclists not just for his successes in competitions but also for his record breaking ride up Norton Summit Rd climb which is so familiar to all of us.
If you can’t get out to see the tour then you can watch some of it on TV, SBS will cover the classic tomorrow night, and the last two stages next weekend live. During the week they’ll have highlights of the other stages. There’s usually online live commentary so you can follow what’s happening in the other stages as well.
If watching all of the cycling makes you want to get out there like myself (and like me you can’t do the Mutual Community Challenge Tour because of work) then look out for the upcoming Coast to Coast which should be a great ride.
Finally, on the topic of cycling, Australia’s long awaiting pro tour team is to be launched on Monday. They won’t be competing until 2012 but there is already much speculation about which top Aussie riders they’ll manage to sign up.
Haven’t been doing so much riding lately but got out for a fairly big one today. Had originally aimed to do over 100km but got a bit of a late start so it was about 70km. Made up for the shorter distance with lots of climbing though.
Finally had a go at the bike path from Lynton to Belair – it’s very steep! I was feeling pretty worn out just after getting to Belair, but kept going through the National Park up to Upper Sturt Rd. It’s the first time I’ve been through Belair National Park, it was a nice ride.
Then headed for Mylor via Ironbank and Longwood, this part was up and down all the way. In particular the approach to Longwood was difficult. From Mylor I went up Aldgate Valley which is a nice easy ride, and then a bit of a long way around back to Crafers, including a few little climbs (Spring Gully Rd being the hardest).
Did a ride to Strathalbyn today, up the Crafers bikeway, then down Aldgate Valley Road (I really like riding down that one), through Mylor and out the main road through Echunga and Macclesfield to Strathalbyn. After a lunch break it was up the tough climb to Meadows along the Paris Creek Road, and then the descent to Kangarilla, though Clarendon and then another climb up through Coromandel Valley to Blackwood and back down via Old Belair Rd. While it was about 40km less than the big ride a couple of weeks ago (Amy’s ride plus getting home afterwards), I think this one was harder since there was a lot more climbing.
Note: for some reason sometimes the embedded map shows the wrong route, usually viewing the post alone (by clicking on the title) rather than on the front page fixes this.
Big ride today, the 100km Amy’s Ride, including 18km ride to the start, and a 48 km ride home from McLaren Vale for a total of 166km (shows up as slightly less on the map because a few corners are cut).
Was lots of fun. I think my previous longest was about 80km, so it was quite a step up. Also my first go at an organised ride, everything seemed to run well to plan.
Riding down the Southern Expressway was an obvious highlight, such a great idea using it for a bike ride. I started a bit too far back in the pack so I was going a bit slower than I would have liked on much of it though. At the end of the expressway the ride down into Old Noarlunga was very nice, I’m not sure that I’ve been there before. From there it was over to the coast, it’s ages since I last went down Commercial Road so I’d forgotten that there’s some pretty steep hills, gave me a chance to really push it after my training on the likes of Corkscrew Rd and Mt Osmond. Then there were great views as we came into Port Willunga, then back inland, and it started to heat up a bit (but never to the point of being uncomfortable).
Next challenge was Willunga Hill, famous from the Tour Down Under, which I’d never been up before. Given my recently discovered love of climbing, it was obviously a highlight for me. Never terribly steep but it just keeps going on in a long grind. By that point I’d already done about 75km for the day but had no trouble getting to the top. Then there was a fairly flat ride through some picturesque farmland before a slightly dicey descent down Wickhams Hill.
With under 20km to go to McLaren Vale I was expecting perhaps a gentle descent the rest of the way, but the last section was all rolling hills with some fairly nasty inclines at times.
I returned along the Coast to Vines trail, and then the veloway. The Coast to Vines was a nice easy ride – mostly it follows where a railway line used to be so it’s fairly flat. Some of the old railway cuttings it goes through a quite spectacular. The veloway into Darlington gives great views of Flinders Uni and up to the city.