The fatigue has reached tipping point and from where we stand it is all downhill from here.
Woah woah just back it up a minute! After just over 2800 km for the front runners the hills have only just begun, Mike and Kristoff have just knocked off the Greenhill rd Lofty summit double, the biggest climb in the Adelaide Hills in just under 50 mins going off their tracker pins. It's a solid climb i used to do at least once a week as a teenager and I can tell you 50 min is pinning it for those with 2800 km of headwinds in the legs!
Right now I feel like the race has gripped the nation and from here on in the delights of Southern Australian tourism will be on display for the world to see, unlike the grand tours of Europe this race has captivated everyday people because, oh yeah, it's filled with everyday people. There are no sports nutritionist telling these guys and girls what to eat, no coach telling them when to put in an effort, just them against themselves!
My long time mate and 20+ year bicycle courier veteran Dan was amongst the action as Mike rolled through Adelaide! Dan cut up this Video on his mobile just in time to be delivered to your screens. Dan chose some great old school Aussie rock to accompany the vid!
I can't wait to see what he has to deliver when his mate and international bike courier Kai Edel rolls through town. Dan and Kai have attended bicycle courier champs all around the world over the past decades. Just like this race the couriers often ride across continents to reach their race day celebrations, one thing I can say about courier races is there is a bit more beer involved, but always after the ride :)
At the back of the pack Paul is pushing across the ninety mile straight tonight and Christie is resting up at Caiguna. Hopefully they get together and give each other a morale boost to attack the next section of the Nullarbor! Christie looks like she got a great feed today and a cracker of a sunset yesterday!
Christie is a trooper and will finish this. Her not being a highly tuned distance cyclist can help push through mental barriers as new boundaries are blown apart each day and new ones emerge. I remember doing 160km in afternoon in hilly Tasmania with my mate Ben as a young 24 year old and thinking it was groundbreaking, beyond that 100km single speed mountain bike rides pushed limits further. Every day will give her more confidence in what is a very new experience! Keep going Christe!
Jan-Willem, Strava extraordinaire checked himself into Ceduna Hospital for quick check up. It seems from his update the saddle sores are taking their toll! He has pressed on into the night with Vasiliki on his tail. For the remaining riders out there body management is key.
I spoke to good mate and TD rookie legend Gareth Pellas about his retirement yesterday and he talked about how everyone has been hurting since early on, even some of the front runners. The Nullarbor served up a brutal dose of headwinds to those in the mid pack and is a big part of the massive split we have seen between those west of Eyre Peninsula and those making into the Flinders ranges and beyond tonight. For a guy who rode what on paper is a much harder race than the Tour Divide, speaks volumes for the toughness of this course! The chip seal, the headwinds and the solitary day in day out. despite not finishing Gareth was happy with his effort and looks forward to cheering on those who make it to Melbourne!
When looking at this route based on the west-east crossing of Australia by Hubert Opperman it is no wonder Oppy went on to win the 1931 Paris Brest Paris! Life in the Australian Outback is hard! If Oppy had a decent team he might well have been Australia's firs TDF winner! Gareth said, "there's just nothing out there, not even a Camel, I saw one Kangaroo, it's like the whole place was burned to the ground by fire and never recovered"
At the end of the first week the race is still far from won. Sarah has the fishing line out for the front marker and the chasers Kim, Mitchell, Kai, Adam and Mattijs still have a chance to turn the race on it's head!