Date: Saturday, January 24th
Stage: Pure Blonde Stage 5
Distance: 151.5KM
Start: McLaren
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.

"The lad we'd like to win possesses a rare combination – an unusually high lung volume and the capacity to absorb more oxygen from each breath than 99.9% of the population. Because of that some folks affectionately call him 'The Lung.' His birth name however, is Cadel Evans. We want Cadel to win today's race and the whole Tour Down Under too. And for that matter the Tour de France!"—Thomas and Alistair
"In 2006 my wife and I were on vacation in the Swiss Alps. We did not care about cycling, but as it happens there was race on called the Tour de Romandie. Traffic was so bad it was impossible to get around the race. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So we stayed and we watched two days of the race. It turns out we love cycling! The speed and the noise and the fans, the energy is amazing! That year Cadel Evans won the whole race. So now of course we love racing and have been following it ever since. You must understand, we could think of nothing better than to see Cadel win again!"—Brian
"At the age of seven Cadel Evans was hit in the head by a horse, and spent seven days in an induced coma. When I was five I fell off a ladder and almost killed myself, so I want Cadel to win this race."—Tim
"Cadel brought the Tour de France to Australia for the first time, plus he's the oldest to win it in modern times. After that, I'll go for Cadel no matter what race he's in."—Ben
"CUDDLES! CUDDLES! CUDDLES! CUDDLES!"—Dirk, Tommy, Byron and Nick
"As an avid mountain biker and Australian myself, I'd like to see Cadel win. Cadel started his career in MTB, he rode for the Australian Institute of Sport mountain bike program when he was 18. He won a couple of Worlds medals before he switched to the road in 2000."—Richard
"ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ"
"Hang on a second—WHAT? OH, CADEL!—Yeah, I'm back."—???
"We're going for Cadel, he's such a great person! He and his wife adopted a baby boy who was abandoned in Ethiopia a few years back. He also gives a lot to charity and supports good causes."—Margaret, Lisa and Jennifer
"Cadel is a Member of the Order of Australia, right? I think I have to support him then. I'm cheering for Cadel."—Winston
"Cadel was the underdog for so long, because people thought he would never win anything important. He proved them wrong though, so he's got my support. I like a good underdog rising to the top, shedding their poor reputation."—Dan
"Usually I like the climbers the best, but Cadel is so good because he's an all-arounder that can climb with the best of them. So I usually want him to win, especially in his home race."—Lyle
"ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ"

Willunga Hill: The Scene

This "work crew" became suspicious and quasi-combative when I stopped to photograph/document this unsanctioned-arborist tableau, of which they were all a part.
This Subaru Bumby ute was parked on "lower" Willunga Hill Road.

SKODA KOM #1: Willunga Hill (129.1 km)

It was really hot.
Both wheels on the ground today.

Intermission

SKODA KOM #2: Willunga Hill (151.5 km)

Consolation Mono, fig. 1.
Consolation Mono, fig. 2.

Follow-up Interviews

manualforspeed_tdustage05_mfs-38

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!

manualforspeed_tdustage05_mfs-37

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!

Addendum: Additional Australian Team Kit Which Should Be Made Using Castelli Team Kit So That We Can Openly Like It's Because It's Exceptional, Graphically Speaking

Attaquer, Owls Eyes.
Dead Kooks, Dead Kooks vs Attaquer.
Some Guy Named Dave, Short Shorts Casual.
OLLO Industries, Kit.
Stay True Cycling, Team Kit.