Check out all about it at Tour du Sud (2) – 17 November 2013
A little history, 18 months ago I saw the first Tour Du Sud advertised and was very interested in participating in it. After some deep thought I decided I was not quick enough at that time to keep up so I didn’t join up for it. I did instead start riding with the Redliners on a Saturday morning so that I could improve my speed and so that I could become accustomed with the riding style of many that would likely participate in future events. I then signed up for the Redliners Millano Classica. That ride was cut a little short due to some issues with some of the participants speed. Still, it was a good ride all the same. So, when we came around for the second riding of the Tour Du Sud, I had to participate.
What is it! An organised event by the Redliners, fully supported, where part proceeds go to the Cancer Council. The task/ride is an approximate 200 km loop around the South of Adelaide taking in about 2,000 meters of climbing with a target average speed approaching 30 kph to be completed in a single day. Did I think I was ready for this, not really but felt I could get close, well at least 26 to 27 kph average for the distance. Recent rides have achieved these speed although not quite the amount of climbing at the same time.
There was no doubt it was going to be TOUGH!
I have put in some distance rides and some quick rides, over winter but have not managed to do both together. This was indeed going to take some concentrated effort to get over the line. The forecast 26C with South Easterly winds were ideal for the planned ride with
wind assistance on the return up some very long climbs. If you check out the elevation profile shown below the route map from Strava you will see the ride starts with a 600m climb to Crafers and ends with the descent of the same! Obviously to descend from Crafers one must climb back up to it from the other side of the range making for a tough finish to a 200 km ride.
On The Day
I arrived at the Cancer Council on Greenhill road at 6am. Scheduled start for the ride was 6:30am so I was in plenty of time. There were already a group of 4 from UniSA, 1st year students studying sports nutrition I believe, who had come along as part of a project to help with the organisation of the refuel breaks. Please correct me in the comments if I have this wrong! Mal and Stephen Sanders were already there making final preparations for the ride. Stephen was not starting the ride with us but was going to travel in the support car until further in the ride. I think there were 14 starters from Greenhill road, Stephen to start further on the ride and Paul McGregor to join us at the Bollards making 16 total riders.
List of riders I do know in no particular order:
- Bill Griggs
- Kraig Murtaugh
- Matt Bozza
- Natalie Morgan
- Rocket (Rod McFarlane)
- Warren Porteous
- opps, Scott Porteous not shane
- Andrew Schultz
- Paul McGregor
- Stephen Sanders
- Steven Ellison
- Kym Knuckey
- Peter Murgatroyd
- Nick Takos
Introductions proceeded and a safety talk before we headed out dead on 6:30am.
Natalie Morgan Leads us onto Glen Osmond Road
As always I start a ride with my own plan while knowing how difficult it is to ride your own plan on a group ride. I had planned to keep my heart rate below 130 bpm until we reached the tollgate then wanted to keep it below 140 bpm for the climb to Crafers. Double fail, Nat’s pace up Glen Osmond road bumped me up to almost 140 bpm then the climb to the bollards took me to 150 for much of it. Even with Bill Griggs providing some wind cover and staying at a slowish pace I was not able to achieve my target.
Regroup at the Bollards
On reaching the bollards, not too far behind the group we met up with Paul, who felt the climb would have taken away his ability to keep with the group for the rest of the ride. It’s actually an option I would like to see added to next years Tour Du Sud but time will tell if it becomes so! Only a couple of short climbs left around the Old Mount Barker road before we were heading into Aldgate and turning off onto Aldgate Valley road, a sweet little 5.2 km descent taking us into Mylor, our next regroup.
The Support car, trailer and UniSA team at Mylor.
It was here that Stephen Sanders took his bike down to ride with us.
Regroup & Refuel
Fruit, gells, Powerade, soft drink and water offered to riders to top up reserves before we set-off on our way to morning tea at Meadows Bakery. The UniSA people had taken coffee orders before we started the ride and had planned food so that we could have an orderly stop at Meadows. This was planned for 8:30am and had been arranged with the bakery to be open at this time. The ride from Mylor to Meadows was completed at a brisk pace averaging 30 kph covering the distance in 35 mins. We rolled into Meadows 3 mins early but the team was on the ball and had food out ready for us. It wasn’t long before they brought the coffee out. The coffee was very hot, in fact one person remarked its the hottest coffee they have ever had from the Meadows bakery but personally I have never had one here that wasn’t hot!
I struggle to finish my coffee before they were ready to set off again but did, just, have time for a loo stop!
Next instruction to group at the top of the climb out of Meadows
As the group dribbled out of Meadows Bakery we all pushed up the hill to regroup for the very long downhill to Ashbourne through a well known Bull Creek TT segment. Although this was going to be fast in a group I knew it would not be very fast as we were contending with a S.E. wind. Still the “Bull Creek Rd from Meadows crest to Goolwa Rd”, a 26.2 km stretch was covered in 41m24s averaging 38 kph by myself with others completing it even quicker!
Regroup Goolwa Finnis road
When I arrived at the regroup Bill Griggs, Rocket and Matt Bozza were already there as were the UniSA cars. Bill had gone it alone from Ashborne on while I had stayed with Rocket and Bozza for a while until I could no longer hold onto them. Bill had arrived half minute ahead of Rocket and Bozza, who were working together and myself another 30 seconds behind them. It doesn’t sound far apart but they sure looked like they were a long way ahead!
As the rest dribbled in over the next few minutes we were given banana’s and lollies if we wanted them ready for the next leg.
We had now turned into the wind so stayed together as a group to share the load. I took a couple of turns at the front but dropped to the back before reaching the front a couple of times too as I just didn’t have the strength to face the wind.
On entering Clayton Bay a group, most of, the riders went in search of toilets while leaving 3 of us with the support car. It took a little while to regroup as no one had made any arrangement where or when to regroup but we did eventually all find each other ready to continue our ride to Milang and on to Langhorne Creek for lunch. Eventually we put the S.E. wind behind us as we turned to the North for Langhorne Creek. The pace became brisk again as it turned into a dinner run!
We all regrouped on the lawns of Bleasdale Winery with a large selection of sandwiches, buns, pastries and fruit for our nourishment.
Fed and watered we set off on our way with 126 km’s done, 68 km’s to go! Sounds like its almost done but the hard part was yet to come! With a moderate pace to Strathalbyn all was going well and then the climbing started, first of all to Macclesfield, some 18 km’s climbing some 300m, and then on to Flaxley, another few kilometers to climb another 100 meters.
Lets face it, Langhorne Creek is not much above sea level and we were going back to Crafers some 600 or so meters above sea level to get home!
Before we left Langhorne Creek we had agreed to regroup at Mylor before we started our final set of climbs up Aldgate Valley road and on to Crafers.
I was feeling it now, each climb, no matter how shallow, I could not keep with the group. The distance kept opening at each of them tormenting me each time! I tried to bridge some gaps on each of the down hill sections of which there were many but only to be stretched apart on the next climb. It was starting to get lonely now but on reaching Mylor I discovered I was in front of 3 or 4 people so that bolstered my confidence a little.
The Final refuel at Mylor! Coke and a banana was my choice. Not long and we were on our final stretch home knowing once we reached Crafers it was then all downhill.
Each little climb seemed to get harder no matter how small it looked until eventually we reached the top of the bike path, at Crafers ready to descend from the Bollards to the Tollgate.
I didn’t have a lot of energy left but I decided that I would push hard down the hill for the regroup at the tollgate for the final ride into the Cancer Council on Greenhill road. For the 8.7 km downhill burn I put all I had left into it, even getting cramp for a moment. When heart rates normally plummet mine averaged 143 bpm and peaked at 157 bpm as I was not resting now! Reaching the bottom, low and behold, there was Bill Griggs patiently waiting. Should have known he would get there first! As the last of the riders dribbled in it suddenly became obvious smeone was missing. Rocket! Where was he, mmmm… We came to the conclusion that either A, he had not stopped and was already back at Greenhill road or B, he had missed a turn so would find his own way back from here.
We continued on as a stretched out group and on arrival at Greenhill road found there was no sign of Rocket! Some 10 mins passed when Rocket turned up. He had been the first to shoot of from Mylor and had missed the turning into Gould Road and ended up taking the more difficult Ayres Hill road!
To Sum Up
In all, this was a fantastic ride and one to keep in my to-do list each year! It has some unique challenges but with a supportive group of people who have never been lacking in encouragement and welcoming spirit it is a ride I simply can not miss in the future! Once you feel you have reached the minimum requirement it’s a must do to gauge personal improvements each 12 month period!
- Distance: 198.7 km’s
- Saddle time: 7h08m17s
- Elapsed time: 9h22m56s
- Average Speed: 27.8 kph
- Av/Max heart rate: 133/163 bpm
- Average cadence: 79
- Average Temp: 21C
Full information from my Strava data can be found at http://www.strava.com/activities/95529365