Date: Saturday, 18 January.
The Manual for Speed Tour Down Under Team (MFSTDU-T): Ian "An-Unfair-Advantage" Marshall, Keiran Best and Daniel Wakefield Pasley.
Location: Adelaide, Australia is a lot like Walnut Creek, California. We are staying in a two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse-shaped Ikea Showroom on Bower Street in North Adelaide, not far from the corner of Frome and War Memorial Drive, which is the site of a 180° turn in the People’s Choice Classic, which is:

A.) The first race of the Santos Tour Down Under.
B.) A Fake Stage, a Prelude, with no bearing on points or classification, or on anything really. It's just something to win.

Amenities: We have a toaster, a French press, a steel staircase and several big windows.
Weather: The day before yesterday it was 44°, yesterday it was 38°, today it’s 27°. Sometimes it’s windy here. Mostly it’s pleasant and bright, like the way Christians and nearly-dead people talk about Heaven. Only everyone here still wears shants, camouflage, and cargo-pocketed camouflaged shants (but shants all the same); one can only assume that Heaven has in fact moved on—plus, in the movies those Heaven dudes are always wearing white and have wings. Nobody here is wearing white or has wings, they are definitely still wearing shants. Australia might be where 1990’s Action Sports shorts, flip-flops, sunnies and graphic tees come to die. Australia is an “active casual” stronghold.
WiFi Status: Download Speeds: 4.66mbps, Upload Speed: .62mbps.
Objective: Find the Hilton Adelaide because it’s where all the teams are staying, and because it’s the Santos Tour Down Under Headquarters. Get credentials, interview Lachlan Morton.

A Brief Chronology of the Day's Events

1:00 PM: Driving to the Hilton was easy. Parking near the Hilton was easy. Finding the entrance to the Hilton was easy. Getting the first half of our press credential package (PCP) was easy. I walked into the Media Room, they asked for my "Sir name," I figured out what she meant, I told her my last name was Pasley, she said, “Oh great, I’ve been waiting for you to come in and pick up your credentials, your photo is my favorite photo!” Side note: so far this is the best race credential experience in Manual for Speed history, I mean, she was smiling, I was smiling, we admired my badge together, the vibe was synchronistic.

That’s when I was handed the orange vest. Not the blue or the green or even the fluorescent vest, the o-r-a-n-g-e, orange vest.

For reference, the orange vest provides its wearer with the least access possible—we're talking about the same access field tripping Boy Scout troops, local bloggers, and friends and family of ex-town council members get. I mean, when media access to the finish line is limited to the host broadcast crew and photographers with either blue or green vests only, and all other media is forced to access the riders after the stages either in the team area or at the presentation stage mixed zone—the PRESENTATION STAGE MIXED ZONE!—you do not, I repeat not, want to be caught in an orange vest. I threatened to fly home. The woman helping me said that I could always speak with Gennie, but not now because Gennie was in a course meeting.

2:00 PM: We met Lachlan in the lobby, followed him down an escalator ramp under the Hilton to the Adelaide Central Market, in the center of which we sat down at a coffee shop and drank coffee and recorded an interview, which interview is forthcoming. Highlights include an eagle attack.

3:00 PM: Lachlan returns to sequestration, we're hungry so we eat at Sushi Train—Sushi Train is a local chain restaurant with 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp. I eat my first (and last!) tuna fish salad hand roll.

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: We lurk outside the Hilton, hustling portraits and interviews.

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM: We suffer through the most boring Team Presentation in history, which granted, is a categorically boring non-event—except when you think about the Giro during which presentation we listened to various Benni Benassi remixes and an announcer who kept saying don't breaka my ballsa, and there was a giant pink mountain squirrel, chicks in team kit and high-heels, high-top sneakers, and Italian men wearing Speedos. And today, in Australia, all we had was an incumbent mayor using this event and the recent construction of like four—maybe five—new bike lanes around town in an effort to get re-elected. And three dudes dressed-up in Aboriginal body/face paint. Two of them danced around while the other main dude played the didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed 1,500 years ago which musicologists classify as a brass aerophone—in fact it's sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or "drone pipe." Then Phil Liggett talked and made some jokes I guess, at least I think they were jokes.

And bla bla bla bla bla because seriously it was like going to an outdoor mall with some cousins you barely know the day after the day after christmas to watch their dad, your Uncle, accept the Most Tenacious Salesmen of the Year award at a regional, bi-annual Life Insurance Conference, only instead of two dollars, Cokes cost five dollars. And everybody is still wearing shants.

Things we know after being in Australia for 48 hours:

  1. Australian Customs and Immigration does not fuck around with fruit, like for serious they will throw you in jail.
  2. Australia is in the future, temporally speaking.
  3. They don’t have Americanos here, they have Long Blacks.1
  4. If you want the equivalent of a 16oz Americano, you will need to ask for a really Long Black.
  5. They don’t do half-n-half or cream in Australia. They do milk.
  6. They don’t use ounces in Australia, they use the metric system, e.g milliliters. Side note: 16oz = 473.176575ml.
  7. Thusly, ordering “a sixteen ounce Americano with room for cream” doesn't work.
  8. The Adelaide Farmers Market is cancelled this Sunday, the same day as the People’s Choice Classic (which is a fake stage), due to extreme heat.
  9. Apparently Adelaide is the Serial Killer Capital of Australia, and possibly the world.
  10. If you ask Adelaide resident David Nash to tell you about his city, he has this to say: “It’s a nice city, big enough but small enough that you can get around. Lots of events on this time of year. We’re known for serial murderers [told you!] and vineyards."
  11. If you ask Adelaide resident David Nash to tell you why he’s specating the TDU, who he’s hoping to win the TDU, and what the TDU participants can expect from the race, this is what he has to say: “I don't ride or anything like that, I just like to watch the riding. Obviously I hope one of the Australians like Cadel or Rohan Dennis, who’s from Adelaide, will win. Outside of the city, in the bush? I don't know, I suppose lots of gum trees, eucalyptus trees, and maybe a wombat."2
  12. FOODLAND’s (The Mighty South Aussie's) Hommus Dip (a smooth blend of chickpeas, garlic and lemon) is considerably better than Black Swan’s (Farmer’s Best!) White Hommus.
  13. Urinating, according to the Santos Tour Down Under 2014 Race Manual: "Competitors are advised that it is an offence to urinate in public in Australia. Penalties will be imposed on individuals who choose to ignore this law."
  14. You can't drive a car from the left-hand seat, no matter how many time you try. It’s always going to be on the right. The steering wheel, the seat belt, all of it, it’s on the right. Except for the shifter, that’s on the left, near your left hand.

Today's Playlist, as heard on Fresh 92.7FM on the way to the Hilton:

  1. Head On by Man Man
  2. Everything You Never Had (We Had It All) by Breach feat. Andreya Triana
  3. Touch You Right Now by Basic Element
  4. Seek Bromance (Avicii Extended Vocal Mix) by Tim Berg
  5. It Just Won't Do by Tim Deluxed feat. Sam Obernik
(From L-R, Kathryn, Lachlan, Emin) "My name is Kathryn, I'm from Toronto, Canada. The whole reason I'm in Australia is the Tour Down Under. I'm a fan, I'm as big a fan as you can be. I'm here today for the Presentation which is in a couple of hours, and I'll be following the race all week long. I will be riding public transport for the most part. It's a lot of work but it’s worth it, it’s absolutely worth it. Garmin is my favorite team. I’m rooting for Rohan Dennis but there are a lot of other strong contenders—Jan Bakelants is looking to do well, and anything can happen. I love JV, I love the philosophy of the Team. I like that they have characters, even including people in the office, and JV is definitely a character. You cannot deny that. In a sport like cycling that has had so many secrets, it's nice to see someone being honest even, when they’re saying something that is unpopular or that is a “hard truth.” I just really appreciate that, I think it's what the sport needs. HI MOM!!!!! Susan would appreciate that." (Emin is from Malaysia.)
"My name is Paul Martin and I just went to the Tour Village where I got this free hat. I live here in Adelaide, I like to show my support. I like the Willunga Hill Climb stage, you get to see the climbers come out and you get to watch the breakaways. I’d like to see Cadel win."
"We're Anita and Nicole, and we're in kit because we were test riding bikes today. We're in Lampre kit in particular because my [Nicole's] cousin Grega Bole used to be on the team. We like bikes because bikes are amazing, and because tennis sucks."3
(From L-R, Tim Maney (16), Nathan Hass (24), Ronin Monroe (13), and Steele Von Hoff (26) "We're from Davenport in Tazmanian. We're in Adelaide to race track (we just finished our local series) and to watch the Tour Down Under. We want Nathan Hass to win, he's from Tazzy! We go to school and ride bikes; no mountain, just road and track."
  1. Publisher's Note: same ingredients, different order. Americano = water into espresso; Long Black = espresso into water. []
  2. Publisher's Note: We're really hoping for a wombat. []
  3. Note that the Australian Open is currently in progress. []