Saturday 21th November 2015 Mawson Lakes to Ronnie Mac House via a few lumps as Stuart O'Grady said.
This ones for you Nugget!!
And the tour is completed for the 4th instalment............................No heat, not much wind, but more hills than my heavy legs were looking forward to!
Distance - 57.8 kms (The shortest day on tour history, as we had already completed 952.2 km's in the previous 6 days, and didn't require the additional 21 percent climb up corkscrew for any good reason!)
Time in saddle - 2hrs 22 minutes 17 seconds
Average Speed - 24.4 kmh (The same speed as yesterday. I would like to say that this was attributed to the one day riders that had joined us in setting such a slow pace, being, Katherine Bates, Stuart O'Grady, Lippy Harry, and Darren Allard. Sadly this was not the case). Max Speed by the Venge and sump power, down Torrens road was a spritely 65.5 kmh, very quickly put into perspective by the flying Aussie O'Grady who's decent was only hampered by the sluggish driving of lead driver Sturmy as 100 kmh was not quick enough to escape the chasing rider!!)
Elevation gained was not so nice again as after a gentle roll with the peleton able to have some small talk up to 5.55 km's we entered the happy place of hills, and the first rise was turning right off of Bridge Road and making our way up McIntyre road at our own pace. Not the morning roll I had been hoping for, and as my Greipel like climbing ability was tested early, at least the weather was nice! 761 m over 57 km
Calories used : 1364, We then consumed this amount as we arrived back to hot dog heaven upon our arrival at the house. (Gourmet dogs and beer and family........this was my happy place).
A sleep in in the very luxurious Mawson Lakes Hotel, and an early home time for the specimen as he had been out devouring the local food outlets in multiple burger quantities in the wee hours once again, and still with the physique of Fabio.
Most of team were relaxed and enjoying breakfast with the sun appearing to be the only bothersome thing for Mark B, who was obviously concerned of being recognised in his home town by the paparazzi and was incognito with cap and sunnies donned. Or was this masking the scars of the previous nights tumble over the handlebars of Tozer's Tarmac. I believe it must have been the former.
As Mawson Lakes Hotel had closed off the road for us, we began the day with a tyre changing challenge for the Bike Society Cup. This saw riders pitted against each other in a knock out challenge to progress through to the next stage. However as it became apparent that we would be here for several days, as not all good cyclists are proficient mechanics, and some clearly require the use of modern technologies like phones and the RAA when caught on the roadside with a flat! We had recorded the fastest times that had actually completed the challenge and banished those that were unable to complete the first step of removing the tyre to the grim knowledge that either a good toolkit or another rider were required at all times for them in when continuing their sporting passion.
With the professionals of Cotter, Tozer, Birkdale, Bade and Nugget not competing, it came down to a match off between Diesel who had obviously been called upon by all in his riding groups to be the go to man in the case of a mechanical and Demo who had smashed TimTam Mohanbala who was unable to beat Demo with only completing the simple step of only blowing the tyre up, while Demo had managed to complete the assembly of an entire bike and an IKEA flatpack kitchen!
And the winners were............
Petrina v Whippet ---------- Petrina with a fine display that didn't let down the nervous Tozer on the sideline
Mr Lucas v Spiderman Sam ----------Mr Lucas (after pinching the tube to the point that was about to make the Hindenburg look like a small explosion).
Wayno v Elbows Hodge ------------- Wayno with the help of helpful pump man Hodge lending a hand in the tight finish.
Demo v Mohanbala ------------- Demolition Demo
Lauren v Trudi ------------Abandoned match after the 4 hour time limit had expired (Although trudi showed her strength with one of quickest times in manually removing a tyre, she faded quickly after this speedy start)
Diesel v Lucky Lewis----------- In a surprise for all Bookies, the much favoured winner of all competitions was reduced to babbling mess, when it appeared that when talent was required to win a competition, that Lucky Lewis' Luck had run out!
Specimen v Specimen ................Specimen (nobody likes to beat the specimen!)
The most expedient times of the now barely morning were Diesel & Demo, and as we had absorbed most of our allotted time in the first rounds due to the inept ability of most of us, these two progressed through to the Grand Final of the inaugural Bike Society Tyre changing challenge.
With an early lead to the methodical Diesel, Demo was reduced to resorting to sabotage tactics as Diesel moved ever closer to the much sort after and coveted title. Alas the trickery and sorcery of Demo did not prevail over good this time as Diesel clearly demonstrated that slow and easy wins the race, not unlike his cycling prowess.
Winner of the 2015 Bike society Tyre changing challenge
Diesel (also occasionally known as Peter Wolters)
As we had now filled our professional riders Kate Bates and Stuart O'Grady full of confidence in our mechanical expertise or lack thereof, I'm sure they were now brimming with confidence to ride out alongside us?!
Nevertheless we had a time schedule to keep and a police escort and the house to get to, so out through the arch and the rapturous noise and support of the morning crowd as we exited Mawson Lakes and our way home had begun.
Its odd that during life, we often have a predisposition to treating people differently given their profession or notoriety, however when you are all on a bike in a peleton and wearing the same smelly knicks and jersey that you are all just cyclists, and the conversations are that of experiences and family, and that is what it has been like for the last three SA RMHC Ride for Sick kids, and true to its form was the same for this years ride. This was the same when 17 year Tour de France veteran rider, Olympic Track Gold Medallist, and Paris - Roubaix winner, Stuart O'Grady and Australian Track Cyclist, and World points Race Champion in track, and SBS Commentator, Katherine Bates, joint us for this leg of the ride.
As the two stars amongst us seamlessly slotted into the peleton, we rode along at a leisurely pace that was to ensure that none of us would blow up in front of the professionals and i was buoyed to here Stuart refer to the days ride as 'a little bit lumpy'! Little did he know that my definition of a little bit lumpy is the speed humps as we exited out of the car park, and not the reference of Alpe d'Huez that he had summited on numerous occasions.
The first challenge was at the 5.55km mark with the legs still heavy with fatigue and a hill that my first car, a 1977 Mini Leyland, found easier rolling down backwards than actually progressing up it on hot summers days, and the bpm began to rise. So early in the day this was ominous for the remainder of our leisurely day to the house.
As we turned onto the Grove way and then Grenfell Road, I was acutely aware of a road and ride that had been traversed on previous Bupa tour rides and was lamenting once again the lack of hills that surround Port Pirie and the Upper Spencer Gulf, that my numerous training rides had been unable to prepare me for. With this in mind, I had some inspiration support with the knowledge that Elbows Hodge was continuing to blaze his own path up through the Adelaide Hills and North through Range Road, One tree Hill and onto Seaview Rd, Mohanbala, that continued to put one pedal over another regardless of the obstacle put in front of the 61 year old, (Inspirational was Mohan in his dogged determination to not let anything be a barrier in his life, but merely an obstacle worth overcoming, if for nothing else, some character building!) and Lauren Murphy who had not let the previous days battles get her down, and continued to pedal her way on a borrowed specialized with the help of Nugget by her side. Three guys that are completely selfless on these rides and have just as much determination as those riders that are clearly either in the bin or scavenging just outside of it, are Nugget (Chris Halley), Mark Birkdale (Bike Society), and Stifler (Craig Cotter and the Fabio of salesmen in the bike game, Bike Society). These guys continually offer support and help to those of us who's training hasn't always kept to the nugget 16 week muscle building regime, and without whose help, not only would the tour not be possible, but no where near as entertaining either.
Thank you to all of you for always being there when a rider needed you, your presence in the ride is invaluable and much appreciated by all and especially the fatmarn Mr Lucas.
Also a special shout out to Matt Tozer from Bike Society who also is a very accomplished cyclist and continued in the same vain as Nugget, Mark and Cotter, continually doing the hard yards and offering support during every stage of the tour. Top effort guys, and thank you for everything.
The end was in sight and with a few pinchers to go and those that were still able to dance on the pedals like Contador waiting patiently by those that would have been overtaken possibly by anyone who happened to be walking by, and the descents could begin.
Torrens road onto Gorge Road and we were nearly there from what had been the most brutal tours of our ride history and one that won't be forgotten quickly by all involved, including the casualties of;
Day 1 : Norwood Football players, doggedly made it to the end of 167 km day that was a PB for all of them, as they walked off at Cowell with a horse still between their legs.
Day 2 : Muppet back to back Winner, Tyler, that fought all the way to make his way back to Whyalla without falling off for the entire second day.
Day 3 : Heat smashed all of us that was to be a telling point the following day
Day 4 : Day when the Sun and wing were not our friends, and Rhino succumbed to appendicitis and was left at Melrose after being cannulated by PP and Wayno and awaited extradition at Melrose. Only to be followed with Paramedic turned patient Wayno locking up like a frozen Han Solo in a carbonate freezing chamber. (Thats what you get when in an alliance?) after having completed a mammoth couple of days protecting the entire group in excruciatingly hot conditions.
Day 5 : And the antibiotics that Trudi had taken to help ease the issues of a nagging flu she had brought on tour, eventually made her more nauseous than the offending bug had been.
Day 6 : Two day rider Lauren, reminded us of the first tour when super fit Triathlete Wendy joined an already ridden in group of 22 riders with over 800 km's in their legs, and 50 - 100 kms in Blew up like a puffer fish prior to being consumed by it enemy.
Day 7 : everyone out of the bus and you all will make it to the house on the bike even if it is not at break neck speed.
That is how the week that was, was, and although the first and last days had been almost pleasant, the stuff in the middle was memorable for many reasons but certainly won't be forgotten for its less than kind conditions.
As Stuart showed off his descending abilities and Katherine rode like she has never been off a bike with injury or having a child, we paused at the top of the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir in the knowledge that this whole challenge was nearly complete, and some time for reflection as we descended Gorge road past some Mountain bikes and down to our meeting place with our SA Police escort and where the boorish and brusque behaviour of some more motorists quickly ceased in the presence of 2 squad cars and 4 police bikes. How pusillanimous they soon become in the presence of the law, or maybe they realise that there behaviour of attempting to run our paramedics vehicle and riders off the road is indeed dangerous and illegal, just as well we are recording the behaviour of not only our own on the road but those users that put lives in danger and all footage will be passed onto the Police. We understand that we may sometimes inconvenience motorists on the road at times, but we are attempting to help make some other lives slightly more comfortable and we would all like to get home safely to our families. So thank you to all those motorists that smile and cheer us on as we completed this challenge.
Off the bike and climbing behind us, Stuart and Katherine again became celebrities as the riders took their opportunity to have a photo with their hero's and we just waited for our cue to go and the green light corridor provided by the SA Police all the way from the base of the hills into the Ronnie Mac House on Melbourne street, with the Police maybe requiring GS 1200's for their next motorad fleet as the bikes did show the need for sometimes going cross country, to the delight of the now speeding peleton as we rolled along at Strava segment cup winners with no red light in sight. If only you could ride like this all the time we thought (then that wouldn't make this as special as it is).
Round the corner of the Stag in a better state than i had previously as young 20 year old leaving that very venue and the flags and Arch of the Golden Arches awaited us along with a huge crowd of family and work colleagues as another guard of honour and we spotted our families and rolled into the house carpark on red carpet (Green astro turf actually) and realised the emotional triumph we had all just completed and endured. There's not much else that brings grown men and women to tears but the accomplishment of completing a mammoth personal challenge and seeing their families welcome them home. Thank you too all the support of the families of the riders and the House families that give us the inspiration to complete this ride, for in your strength is where ours comes from.
So thats it, a few festivities and speeches by tour Director Bade Stapleton of Connect Sport for another successful and completed SA RMHC Ride for sick kids, with House patron Liz Scarce and Hot dogs and Beers and the tour was over, until next year and I'm sure there will be a $20k S-Works Bike required to ridden for another tour in 2016?! Ill await your call Mr Cotter.
Now I'm off for a ride as the training begins today!!!! Ha maybe not, its a bit hot and the only seat i like at the moment is the bathroom throne, with its soothing cool edges.
Thank you firstly to all the support Crew that actually make the ride possible and our life as riders as comfortable as it could be, and maybe we can get together as Wayno said to Chloe, how about you guys ride to somewhere and we will drive there and meet you! No seriously you are all unbelievable with your generosity and support and it has been an absolute pleasure knowing all of you.
Chloe Watts - Queen of Logistics, 4 time veteran
Kristen Hardy - Formerly and actual beauty Queen and team Bursar and School visit coordinator, 3 time veteran
Stacey Solomou - Team Paramedic, comedian and paramedic Pete, 3 time veteran
Glenn Bowyer - Muscles and Truck protector and all round operations guru, 4 time veteran
Bill & Jan paxton - First time support crew who were perfect in every way and team bus drivers
Linda Pitt - Lippy's mum, Team Masseuse, official photographer and part time pole dancer, 2 time veteran
Geoffrey Trenwith - Bike Society Team mechanic, helpful hand, supplier of contraband, and videographer, 3 time veteran
Katherine Elia - Committee Secretary, and event and schools organiser
Steve Sturm - Sturmy, Lead Driver and Chauffeur to Mr Lucas, 3 time veteran
Tony Baj - Organisor of all things Port Lincoln and Ride Initiator
Sam Sturm - Committee media and digital , and sponsor coordinator also Ride Initiator and Married to Lead driver Sturmy
Team R4SK's SA 5 Day Riders
Bade Stapleton - Barday, Lead Rider, Tour Director since day 1 2012, Safety Officer, and 4 time veteran
Chris Halley - Nugget, Blads, Stuart O'Grady lookalike finalist, Lead Rider, 4 time veteran and top bloke
Craig Cotter - Stifler, the Machine, Lead Rider, on road mechanic, on road Specialized salesman and drinker of all things that bare the the name alcohol percentage. 4 time veteran
Mark Birkdale - Bike Society sponsor, Lead support Rider and all round nice guy, 2 time veteran
Matt Tozer - Bike Society Rider and support Rider and first time half of a rider couple
Petrina Hall - Rider and the other other Half of the rider couple
Trudi Riddle - Rider and antibiotics specialist
Mohan Bala - Tim Tam Mohanbala Rider and oldest Rider on tour this year @ 61 yrs old, and two time veteran
Sam Harper - Rider and two time veteran Spiderman Sam
Brett lewis - Rider, Lucky Lewis, Legs Lewis and First National Sponsor Rider, All additional funds will be inequitably divided between Lucky Lewis and Wayno by Mr Lucas. Alliance member.
Wayne Demery - Rider, Demo, Brick with eyes and the only man on tour to have shot someone, part of the alliance, also was filmed in an expose' that has become known as the Wayne sandwich?!
Wayne Armitage - Rider, Wayno and on road Paramedic. Alliance member and Han Solo impersonator
David Allen - Rider extraordinaire, Specimen and the Fabio of calves on tour, also holds the record of most amount of Filet O Fish consumed in one sitting at McDonald's Whyalla.
Megan Algate - Rider, Whippet, and Winner of the most talkative rider on tour, along with the winner of the individual Time Trial, and founding member of the Alliance. 2 time veteran
Ryan Trezise - 5 day Rider turned into turned into 3.5 day rider for appendicitis, Rhino and 2 time veteran
Peter Wolters - Rider, Diesel and 4 time veteran, winner of the Bike Society Tyre change Challenge and good mate of mine.
Jami Hodge - Rider, Elbows, Horsey Hodge, 4 time veteran, trains with Diesel incase he gets a flat, Committee Vice chair and McDonald's Licensee. Winner of the Nugget MIR (Most improved Rider)
Neil Lucas - Mr Lucas, The Fatmarn, Blogger, and winner of nothing but owning the quickest bike when someone else is on it! 4 Time Veteran, School spokesman and Committee Chair
2 Day Riders
Darren Allard - Port Lincoln Media Guru
Tyrone Harris - Rode to Whyalla and stopped as he knew what the forecast was, so the smartest man in the peleton
Tyler Stringer - 1st Back to Back Muppet award winner in Tour history, but made it home, well done
Lauren Murphy - Joint for the final two days and Coca-Cola sponsor rider, happiest looking rider when in the bin on the bike. Great effort off of minimal training on a bike that soon be replaced by captain Cotter I'm sure.
1 Day Riders
Katherine Bates - Kate, Ride ambassador and Media spokesperson, MC and all round fantastic lady
Stuart O'Grady - 17 year Tour de France veteran, Paris - Roubaix winner, Olympic and Commonwealth Gold Medallist and now finisher and participant in the 2015 SA RMHC Ride for Sick Kids
Harry Pitt - Son of Linda Pitt, Lippy, and tour participant 2 times, youngest rider to complete the tour and only resident of the house to have ridden in the tour.
Well, that about domes it up. i do have some photos to add, but as many of you have been following the tour on twitter and Facebook, you would have seen plenty by now, so i will try to put some in at a later stage.
Thank you again for all your support to family and friends and we look forward to the next instalment of the SA RMHC Ride for Sick Kids form somewhere to somewhere via the hardest route possible in 2016.
Until then stay safe and in contact and i can't wait to see many of you again, and that includes you Jiz! Time to see you in SA again?