Date: Saturday, January 24th
Stage: Pure Blonde Stage 5
Finish: Willunga Hill
SKODA King of the Mountain #1: Old Willunga Hill—Category 1 (7.5%, 3.0km long, 129.1km in)
SKODA King of the Mountain #2: Old Willunga Hill—Category 1 (7.5%, 3.0km long, 151.5km in)
Weather: Oppressive, unabated, unfettered sunlight except in the shade, which shade was made possible by any/many of the 1,987 varieties of Eucalyptus trees indigenous to the rolling hills of South Australia. In the shade, the vibe was a bit more mellow, lukewarm air temperatures easily managed in shorts and a simple pocket-optional top, a cool and refreshing sea breeze, et cetera, et cetera. On the whole it, was perfect weather for napping in the dirt and roadside picnicking, and for spectating a bike race.
Objectives: Drive to Willunga Hill, park just off the freeway, stroll down to the hill climb, walk around, take photographs, perform interviews, watch Jens Voigt and these two other dudes go by in front of the main group, which group was at the time more or less together, take a much needed twenty minute break, watch Cuddles go by AFTER Richie Porte (who for the record, went past like he was shot from a high speed, long range circus cannon), drive home, purchase and immediately consume a bag of Natural Confectionary Company Dinosaurs (thanks for the tip Steve!, they really ARE better than the Sour Squirms) forget a recently-purchased/opened/sampled massive-by-American-standards bar of Old Gold Dark Chocolate on the highly reflective/conductive roof of our hired Toyota Yaris parked in the sunlight, order one barbecue chicken pizza and one meat lover's pizza from Biella Contemporary Pizza Bar, fall asleep on the sofa, wake up, eat pizza, and deal with the "Old Gold Situation" in the morning—assuming the Old Gold is no longer in a transitory state and fully solid once again.
Today's Retraction: Apparently Ned Kelly was caught and said “such is life” before he was hanged, not shot. Thank you @mome_raths (Kilps) for your calling this to our attention! In a related note, we received the following email in regards to our use of the expression(s) swish and cashed-up. Thank you, Jon!
"Dear Daniel, I'm an Aussie. Love your coverage of the TDU. You've got Australia spot on. Swish as in "It's a bit swish" perfect. Cashed up as in "Cashed up bogan" or CUB—usually the driver of said ute and a Fly in Fly Out worker ( FIFO). Brilliant. - Jon Hanson."
Dear Adelaide: Dear Adelaide, look, seriously, I can't get past the driving thing. If anything it was worse today than yesterday. I mean, if you can't take constructive criticism I don't know why I bother.
Who do you want to win the race? A Street Poll conducted by MFS
Today's MFS Street Poll was conducted on Willunga Hill Road, the crux of today's stage and possibly the final decider overall-wise. The results presented are un-scientific but wholly conclusive, as you'll see.
Willunga Hill: The Scene
SKODA KOM #1: Willunga Hill (129.1 km)
SKODA KOM #2: Willunga Hill (151.5 km)
We ran into the Team Sky Ladies from the other day again and learned that their names (which were forgotten the first time around) are Katherine, Sara, Tanya and Helen. Unfortunately they were in a rush, and had time only for a two-sentence quote and a cell phone photo. Hence the photo from yesterday.
We were going to write GO SKY! in chalk, but we forgot chalk of course. We were going to draw a big heart as well for Geraint, since it's Welsh Valentine's Day today. Oh well!
MFS: Michael! I didn't expect to see you on Willunga!
Michael: Hiya! It was good yesterday, I had so much fun seeing the guys do their thing and yeah, so I wanted to come out again!