2014 Tour Down Under: Stage 01
road-racing

2014 Tour Down Under: Stage 01

Tuesday - January 21, 2014 - Nuriootpa

Australia, to the untrained and unsophisticated eye—like, say, my eye for example—is a lot like a tropical Canada.

RACE BIBLE
Start
Nuriootpa
Finish
Angaston
Stage Sponsor
San Remo Pasta
Distance
135 km
Start Time
1100 hours local time
KOMs

Menglers Hill – Category 1 (8.1%, 2.7km long, 123.3km in)

Weather

Warm-to-nearly-but-not-quite-hot, clear skies, and seriously sunny—as in I am sunburnt. Badly. As in after the race today we went to Adelaide Hatters inside the Adelaide Arcade which is part of the Rundle Street Mall and I bought a size 59 Akubra Coorong in olive green. Couple of things on the subject: 1.) Lachlan Morton recommended I get an Akubra; 2.) I cannot overstate just how sunburned I got in less than an hour, and how regardless of how much sunscreen I applied after the fact—I basically painted my face, like when you paint a picket fence with a brush and bucket of white paint—it’s my contention that I continued to burn and burn and burn; 3) They had an off-white Coorong, but only in 58 and even though my head is, it turns out (I was measured on the spot by a professional with a tape measure), a 58, the leather band inside the brim will ABSOLUTELY shrink a size in the heat, so you have to up-size and they only had a 59 in olive green; 4.) I also liked the Snowy River model but it was slightly less comfortable; 5.) The Coorong is named after the “Stunning Coorong National Park in South Australia.”

ace Synopsis (As per the Santos World Tour Down Under 2014 Race Manual)

“The beautiful Barossa is where the Santos Tour Down Under officially kicks off. Riders will leave from Nuriootpa—which last hosted a stage start at the inaugural event in 1999—and travel through world-famous vineyards. The notorious Menglers Hill is on the agenda before riders head for the line in charming Angaston.”

Objectives

Drive to the race, find Graham Watson and photograph Graham Watson for PROJECT:#GRAHAMGRAM, interview Graham Watson, photograph the race, do an Australian Spring re-cap.

IDrive to the Start

En route we listened to this conversation between two male and one female DJs:

 

  • Male: Cycling sucks!
  • Female: I do like that we get on the international stage, but I just can’t get into cycling unfortunately.
  • Second Male: I don’t get into cycling really either, but I do get into the fact that Adelaide is putting on a good show.
  • M: It’s a good vibe.
  • F: Yeh that’s what I like about it.
  • SM: You know what I don’t like is all these people who aren’t part of the TDU who are putting on the lycra and blocking Main North bloody road and you think, “Aw, they’re just training for the TDU,” and then you realize they’re just a bike club! Get off the road!
  • M: I agree they, yes…
  • F: Or they just wear it to go to the coffee shop
  • M1 and M2: Haha, yeah!
  • M2: There’s a fair bit of that going on this Tour!

 

During the next commercial break we heard from yet another DJ:

 

“As some of you know, I’ve had a bit of a disagreement with the law recently, and I’m no longer allowed to drive. So the other day I borrowed a bike from a friend. On the way back down from Payneham Rd., one of Adelaide’s busiest roads, it was very bumpy and I was getting a lot of beeps and honks from people because I was veering outside the lane. Not because I had my shirt off, even though I did have my shirt off, but that’s not the point. Anyway, it’s very tough there on Payneham Rd., it needs a lot of work and you feel so small on the road when you’re out there. So anyway, I decided to go through the drive-thru to get a Coke because I was very thirsty and the lady didn’t like it, she said, “What are you doing?” and I said, “Hey I’m on wheels and I need a drink because I’m quite thirsty.” My point is there’s a lot of discrimination against cyclists and it’s not an easy gig, so give the cyclists some more respect.”

 

Along the way we also made three observations:

 

  1. In Australia, Kentucky Fried Chicken is yellow and green.
  2. Burger King is Hungry Jacks.
  3. Australia, to the untrained and unsophisticated eye—like, say, my eye for example—is a lot like a tropical Canada.

 

And I remembered two things about Australia:

 

  1. American Yank = Septic Tank = Seppo. By the way, Dear Australia, we have rhymes too—in fact we like rhymes so much we invented an entire type of music dedicated to rhymes. It’s called “rap” or sometimes people call it “hip-hop.”
  2. Because something like 170% of Australians live in the southeastern corner of Australia, the scene along the coast is a bit more cultured and cosmopolitan and generally more civilized than say just about anywhere west of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, etc. And that’s why they call rednecks “westies” here. Or bogans. But I don’t know why they call bogans bogans. Actually, I just checked the internet and the internet has this to say about the word bogan and it’s origins (and by the internet I mean Wikipedia, duh): “The term bogan is usually a pejorative or self-deprecating term for an individual who is recognized to be from an unsophisticated background or someone whose speech, clothing, attitude and behavior exemplifies a lack of manners and education. According to anecdote, the term emerged in Melbourne’s outer-Western and outer-Eastern suburbs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The equivalent term in Queensland was Bevan and in NSW they were known as Westies (hailing from the western suburbs), however Bogan is now more commonly used Australia-wide. Victorian Bogans typically wore “acid wash” jeans, moccasins (now commonly known as Ugg boots), and band t-shirts; had “mullet” style haircuts; and lived in the suburbs.”

 

One last bonus bit about Australia: Ian Marshall performed a scientific taste test between two different flavors of Red Rock Deli Potato Chips, both of which we purchased from our local Foodland. Here are his tasting notes:

 

  • Honey Soy Chicken: “While I was really hoping for some kind of teriyaki-Asian-fusion thing, these chips taste like your basic run of the mill barbecue. They’re good but basic.”
  • Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream: “Awful. They taste like a spoonful of sour paprika.”
IIToday's Playlist
Thanks Fresh 92.7 FM!
IIIFIND AND PHOTOGRAPH GRAHAM WATSON FOR PROJECT #GRAHAMGRAM
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IVINTERVIEW GRAHAM WATSOM

For the second time this race I found Graham, introduced myself and asked for a few moments of his time, and once again he was more than happy—it appeared—to humor me and answer my stupid questions. FTR (for the record), Graham Watson is extraordinarily nice. Not only is he agreeable and pleasant and accommodating in the face of my sweaty, sunburned, zinc oxide-covered face, but the dude has good vibes. After patiently waiting for me to get through a series of mumbled, unintelligible half-comment-half-questions until I finally asked “Where should I go today to take photographs?” he replied with:

“Go to Seppeltsfield for the Palm Trees, its a scenic highlight, that's the priority. You've got to shoot Seppeltsfield because it's here today and it won't be here tomorrow.”Graham Watson

And once again Graham delivers some Buddhist-type shit in terms of advice and the art of philosophically thinking about cycling documentation. Furthermore, the interviews and the #grahamgram thing may appear to some as a form of clowning, and you know what, two things: 1.) Sure, maybe it started that way. I’d never met the dude before and his style of photography, what with the windmills and the flowers and whatnot, is not traditionally our thing, but it turns out the dude is a consummate professional, and in response to my questions, which questions were like, “Help me figure this thing out,” he was sincere and genuine and bona fide helpful; 2.) After Rodney I-get-no-respect Dangerfielding around Europe, America and now Australia in regards to accreditation and badges and lanyards and vests and similar, I’m beginning to appreciate the Old Guard and the act of due-paying, and Graham Watson has paid his dues; 3.) I went to Seppeltsfield as per Graham’s instructions and you know what? it was beautiful down there—sure, I felt like I was farting postcards, but everybody loves postcards, even I love postcards, even Manual for Speed loves a postcard or two, there’s nothing wrong with grabbin’ a pic or two, or takin’ a snap or three, am I right? Look, my point is Graham is legit and not just because he’s a legend.

VPhotograph the Race

Nuriootpa (0km)

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Photographers with better access than MFS, fig. 5
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Photographers with better access than MFS, fig. 6
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Rohan Dennis is a popular man.
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Moments after this photo was taken, Nathan Haas rides over to me and asks (point blank), "How come you took Lachlan to the beach and not me?" I asked if he wanted to go next time. And he said, "Yeah, of course."
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Photographers with better access than MFS, fig. 7
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Seppeltsfield (10km)

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Nuriootpa (45km)

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Murray Street, Angaston (82km)

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"When the guys come to do the cycling thing, and the womenfolk are with them, of course the girls want to do something. So downstairs we've got a whole array of patchwork fabrics, and the girls go down there and indulge! The guys go ride around, everyone meets back up and everybody is happy." Jenny from Jenny's Sewing Centre

SKODA King of the Mountain: Menglers Hill (123km)

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Dude banging the things together goes, "Hey! Where will I see these photos?" I say, "Manual for Speed." Dude next to him goes, "Oh, you're doing the Strava thing!" And I say, "Yeah." And then the the dude next to him goes, "Did you get your vest?" And I say, "No but I love you for asking." And he goes, "You gotta get it man! You gotta get! Do what it takes."
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VIAustralian Spring Recap
  • Yesterday, after the initial thrust of Australian Spring, we were told: “It doesn’t matter how many tweets we get from the public, they’re just the public and the public doesn’t matter, it’s not their decision to make, it’s our decision to make and our decision is final.”—TDU Media Office
  • Yesterday evening, after an email exchange, and two, maybe three additional Australian Spring thrusts, we were told: “I am happy to consider a change in the vest colour pending that information, and would have been regardless of your ‘social media campaign.’ However no guarantees.”—TDU Media Office
  • As of 1:22 AM (Adelaide Time), January 22nd, our request for a media vest upgrade is still being reviewed and a judgement pending. A letter of assignment and details regarding our traffic and metrics, as requested by their office, has promptly been provided by our office.

 

Supporter Highlights:

 

Thank you!, to everyone who contributed to this effort.

 

  1. Over 500 tweets with #upgradecreds were sent.
  2. Potential reach of somewhere in the range of 300,000 people.
  3. #upgradecreds post appears on Prolly Is Not Probably (the worlds most popular bike blog) at 9:00 AM EST.
  4. #upgradecreds feature appears on the washing machine post at 10:45 AM EST.
  5. Six new memes were created by someone in Brazil.
  6. Phil Gaimon, a supporter of MFS, wins his first stage of his first race on Garmin. Phil Gaimon, winner of his first race on Garmin, wears an MFS t-shirt. Coincidence? We think not.
  7. Bicycling Magazine provided the TDU Media Office a letter of assignment.

 

Hashtag Highlights:

 

  1. #upgradecreds
  2. #credentialgate
  3. #abigdeal
  4. #sadkoala
  5. #koalafications
  6. #koalafied
  7. #upgradecreds4eva
  8. #reversepsychology
  9. #fact
  10. #dontblowit
  11. #shantsforlife
  12. #orangeisthenewblack
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