Date: Thursday, January 22nd
Manual For Speed Team Addendum: Today we were joined by Tubular Tommy's mate, Steve Moores.
Stage: Thomas Foods Stage 3

Distance: 145km. You know how sometimes meteorologists give you the actual temperature and a "feels like" temperature for any given day, due to wind or whatever? For example today in Park City, Utah it was 21 degrees, but because it was also windy and snowing it "felt like" 18 degrees. Same thing here, only it's not a temp thing, it's a distance/sunlight correlation thing. You see, while the physical race distance was 148.5km, it felt like—and this is just my opinion, which is at best based on pseudoscience—178km, on account of the race taking place under the Australasian Sun, which sun is hotter and brighter than the sun we have on Earth in the Western (normal) Hemisphere.

Start: Norwood
Finish: Campbelltown
SKODA King of the Mountain (otherwise known as Man of the Mountain, or MOM) #1: Corkscrew Road at Montacute Road—Category 1 (9.0%, 2.4km long, 137.6km in)
Weather: Daylight, which in Adelaide in January is pleasant enough if you're able to absolutely avoid direct contact with sunlight, at all times, without fail.

Race Synopsis (According to the Santos World Tour Down Under 2014 Race Manual): "Stage 3 sees the day start at Norwood, an inner-city Adelaide suburb known for its great shopping and lively eateries. The SKODA King of the Mountain climb will take place on Corkscrew Hill, an ascent sure to have even the toughest legs burning. It'll be a speedy finish towards Campbelltown, which is hosting a stage finish for the second year running."

Objectives: Find the podium girls, befriend the podium girls, avoid direct sunlight at all costs, photograph the race or whatever, purchase a wide assortment of 4SHAW socks from the Giant Bicycle dealer in Adelaide, etc.

Today's Retraction: I lied. I'm not going to abide by the condition of my accreditation. I retract my coerced statement of intent to abide.

Today's Cultural Exchange (Australia vs. United States x South Africa): Steve was reminded of the movie Chopper during a conversation we had in the shade while waiting for bike tournament to pass today. He was explaining to us that his four year old daughter is banned from race spectating, which she dearly loves (for exactly 2 minutes) because she's too easily distracted: "Look dad, a log." Which reminded me of Dale and the hole he dug in The Castle, which movie represents roughly 67% of what I know about Australia, and in which movie a young Eric Bana plays Dale's brother-in-law and martial arts expert. After quoting close to 89% of The Castle's best quotes, Steve asks if we've ever seen Chopper, another Eric Bana movie. We say no. He describes the movie and without hesitation we make a solemn promise to watch Chopper in the very near future.1 Later, while waiting in a Greek deli at the bottom of "the gorge" for our sandwiches to be made, we play Die Antwoord's Zef Side video on my iPhone for Steve to enjoy. Steve enjoys it. And that right there, that is proper cultural exchange my friends. Side Note: Stopping in at and ordering sandwiches from the Old-World-not-New-World deli was a life affirming experience. I ordered a ham, lettuce and cheese sandwich on a white roll spread with mayo (the mayo here is sweet, you've been warned!) and mustard, and it was delicious. Related But Secondary Side Note: Beetroot (AU) = Beets (USA)

A new MFS feature called "Dear Adelaide": Dear Adelaide, why does your water taste so horrible?

Today's quote about today's stage: "I couldn't enjoy the finish yesterday because I was too busy not having credentials and not being allowed to be on the course, so even though I enjoyed being there and I wanted to enjoy the race, I couldn't. Today, I enjoyed the race. Today, Tour Down Under, I appreciate you."

Today's Game Changer: Manual for Speed enjoyed today's stage immensely, in part because the actual race today was more interesting than previous days, during which previous days the race was boring, like really boring, due mostly to the lack of interest, which lack of interest had nothing to do with the athletes or their performance (both individually and collectively) and had everything to do with the proportion of non-interesting things lacking in energy and enthusiasm to interesting things like competition, hills!, crowds, etc.; which proportion was, until today, something like 100:1. I also think our newfound (at long last) love for the TDU has something to do with a health and wellness product I discovered in a servo today. What's a servo? You dont know what a servo is? Too funny! Okay so "servo" is short for "service station." Get it? Anyway, today I discovered one of Australia's best kept secrets, it's a proto-engery drink called Farmers Union Iced Coffee, and it made everything better. My lack of sleep, my sunburn, a tedious hour of dubstep (thanks a lot Fresh 92.7), the lack of parking, the incessant orangeness of my vest, all of it. If for some reason the marketing department of Farmers Union Iced Coffee (FUIC) is reading Manual for Speed, please let's talk immediately about potential sponsorship and North American distribution opportunities. Now everybody, let's get FUICed up! Some spilled milk is worth crying over!

Shoutouts: Andy White (FYXO) thanks for carrying me on your shoulders to the top of Corkscrew Road, I'm sorry I farted on your head. Thanks dude in the corner who said as I walked past, "The man, the myth, the Akubra hat." Thanks Peon Pro for the chat. Thanks dude on the way up Corkscrew who offered to buy my Akubra. Thanks to the that other dude who recognized my Manual for Speed SPEED SPEED SPEED shirt, and said hello and offered support solidarity-style. Thank you to the woman shooting the race with an iPhone in a leather case on the first climb today, who after asking me if I thought I had taken any good pics said this to me: "In situations like this I like to go snappy-happy!" Also, shoutout to Tubular Tommy once again, this time for solving our vest problem. #upgradeyourself

Project #grahamgram

manualforspeed_tdustage03_graham-1

A chronological breakdown of the morning

8:54 AM: Wake up next to my lovely girlfriend, walk downstairs, wave through the sliding glass doors to Ian who is at the table in the back patio "relaxing" with his phone, walk into the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee (Riocoffee CREMA—smooth/aromatic/mellow) from a gritty half empty french press, sit down at the kitchen table, open up my computer and stare at my computer.

9:00 AM: Let Steve in the front door. We've never met Steve before. Tubular Tommy was otherwise engaged today, and therefore unable via driving and local knowledge to assist our TDU Coverage efforts, but in classic Tubular Tommy form, he knew a guy. It turns guy's name is Steve.

9:30 AM: Leave the house, drive across the street to the CIBO, order two long blacks (with room to pour cold milk in at the top), a latte for Steve, and two pancetta-type breakfast sandwiches. On the way to the start, we ask Steve to share a few things with us about who he is and what's on his mind. This is what we learned. Steve's last name is Moores, he lives in Victor Harbour, SA. He's known Fat Tony aka Tubular Tommy from the beginning. After recently successfully weathering a midlife crisis, Steve has decided to go back to uni to become a teacher. It was either that or get a girlfriend and a sports car, and his wife thought the idea of going to uni was better for their partnership, "so that's working for us." Before that he was in civilian defense recruiting and rehabilitation-type work helping people with mental health issues and things like post-traumatic injuries. He has two beautiful daughters, Darcy and Audrey. Side note: After a day of Steve, it turns out we really like Steve.

9:45 AM: Park near the start, which start was in an outdoor shopping mall, begin the day in semi-earnest.

10:37 AM: We leave the start area in order to drive to the top of the day's first stage.

Things Steve told me

  1. The shiny black road surface which in America we call asphalt, they call Hot Mix. "They whack it on so smooth so it's fast, but it only lasts about 10 minutes. By the end of the tour it''ll be gone."
  2. What we call a Fred, they call a Hubbard.
  3. Australia is the only country where you can eat your national emblem.
  4. Willonga, the crux of Saturday's Queen Stage, is not a proper lump, it's just punchy.
  5. He saw a guy on Corkscrew standing in the bush on a steep hillside, kinda wedged into a tree about 10 feet above the road. Anyway, the guy was pruning and landscaping his view for the then imminent peloton, with professional pruning and landscaping tools that he brought, presumably for this exact purpose.

Norwood, Start (0 km)

While walking through an otherwise empty start area on the way to the sign-in (pre-Team Minivan arrival), I ran into Lauren, Eloise and Emily, the Podium Girls. After taking a portrait, Manual for Speed conducted the first of what we hope will become a series of interviews: "We're like ambassadors for the tour, we help with sign-up, we greet the public, we do the stage presentations at the end and obviously the kissing! Our favorite duties are hosting VIP dinners and chatting with the crowd, we love vibing off all the excited people!" It turns out they were as curious about me as I was about them. We started with where I was from and what it was like to party in Portland, Oregon. I told them I thought that partying was okay in Portland but that Spring Break and Eastern European discoteques was were it's at. Lauren said that she was in the Czech Republic in the winter and it was good ,but that it was hard to club because it was so cold and you had to wear too much clothing. Emily said that she was in the Czech Republic in the summer and the girls at the clubs then were all half-naked. We laughed about that. Then we talked about a friend of theirs, currently attending university school in Colorado, who had just come back from the best Frat Party ever.
"We're Sophie and Sally from the People's Choice Credit Union, it's the 2nd largest in Australia. We're handing out cycling maps and answering questions about the credit union. We love cycling! And we love being outside, it's a good vibe. Adelaide is a great place to come and ride and drink wine."

Houghton (approx. 18 km)

Houhgton (approx. 21 km)

Ascending SKODA King of the Mountain: Corkscrew Road (137.6 km)

Halfway up Corkscrew Road we tuned off into a grassy turn-out in order to park, and in the process we got our hired Yaris stuck in a bad spot, still blocking the road. These girls were hanging out in the grassy turnout, and when they saw our predicament they offered to help us by blocking/slowing the steady stream of cyclists coming around the blind corner behind us. To celebrate our new friendship and teamwork I offered to take a photograph of them with Steve. As these things do, one photograph turned into 40-45 photographs but who's counting? Next thing you know and we're conducting an interview, what follows are three highlights from that interview: (1) "We're here because our boyfriends ride for Team Sky; Gerhaint Thomas, Luke Rowe, Bernhard Eisel and Ian Stannard." "They boys are doing pretty good. Luke had a bit of a crash yesterday, he hit his head, but he's okay, just a bit of a shock." (2) "We've been surfing! Longboards!" (3) "We don't eat team meals together, they segregate us. The boys have their hotel rooms and we have our girly apartment. They need to stay focused!!!!!" And we all laugh because clearly, "focus" is a euphemism for not blowing your concentration.
(L-R) Ryan, Adam, Jolan, and Simon "We all live in Adelaide. We're here because it's a nice shady spot. How do we all know each other? E-Harmony!"
When a guy rides by with bananas taped to various parts of his body, on a bamboo bike, I'm going to take a photograph of him, probably. If he turns out to be a local legend, that's not my problem. Featured here is Durian Rider aka 'Hawley." All everyone wants to know is where is Freely? Apparently he eats 30 bananas a day and rides 400k a day for funsies because he's an eco-vegan. And his girlfriend, Freely, runs a banana diet. Like, professionally or something like that.
"Fans turned out in force today with 118 thousand making their way out to support the riders who have been treating them to a feast of world class cycling. The 150 kilometre stage began in the Adelaide shopping precinct of Norwood, headed into the Adelaide Hills and circled back to contest the aptly named Corkscrew Rd climb before a fast, downhill run to the finish line in Campbelltown."—STDU Official Media Release
There are hundreds of fans at every stage of the race slathered in high-density zinc oxide sunblock. It is customary, apparently, to make no effort to rub any sort of sun protection in, instead applying it like impasto oil paint.
The top of Corkscrew Road. Please note camera placement.

SKODA King of the Mountain: Corkscrew Road (137.6 km)

Addendum: 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

Fiasco Ciclismo. Aloha.
Fyxomatosis, 7-Fyxo.
Attaquer, Elephant.
Attaquer, Blue Leopard. Fyxomatosis, Predator.
Attaquer, Green Leopard.
  1. "Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller."—IMDb []