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DAY 5 – AM. ADELAIDE'S BEST

 

It was an abridged version of Adelaide's Best Ride, shortened for safety reason because of the extreme South Australian heat. But there was no respite at the Chateau with a day packed full of fun and frolics. Those who braved the heat would be rewarded.

 

Gorge Road, shaded, flooded with dappled light and as beautiful as always offered some solace from the scorching sun, but after that, it was a test of perseverance – for both those on the bike and back at base. There are no good words to describe conditions that exceed 40 degrees, when the water in your bidons resembles lukewarm tea and your eyeballs feel like they're on fire every time you descend. The one advantage being the roads were quiet. Those who had not chosen to take part in the Black Sheep & Specialized festivities for the day were in the safety of their air-conditioned hotels, watching the professionals suffer in their 140k slog to Victor Harbour.

 

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"Gorge Road, shaded, flooded with dappled light and as beautiful as always offered some solace from the scorching sun."

We, however, took our ride from 100km to a smidgen under 80km. Still, it took in the historic town of Lobethal, addressed Mount Lofty and, most importantly, got the brave troops home in time to rest up for The Classic | Adelaide.

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DAY 5 – PM. THE CLASSIC.

 

The Classic is a race that gained notoriety in our hometown of Brisbane. The ultimate adventure ride - a mix of bitumen and gravel. And an excessive amount of vert and hurt. A short, sharp, but no less testing parcour, would greet those game enough to take it on. Our course in Adelaide was designed by George Turnbull, a 15-year-old friend of Black Sheep. But it had all the anger of a volatile teenager. Climbs you could only muster swear words for, made even more difficult by the still extreme temperatures.

 

Over 100 people put their names forward to take on The Classic | Adelaide. But understandably, it was a depleted field that braved the testing conditions and course. A spirited 'neutral zone' took riders out to the foot of Norton Summit, where racing began. Black Sheep co-founder John Polson made the first move, gapping the bunch with another and claiming the first KOM. It would be his last. He exploded like a can of Coke left out in the hot sun. The battle for line honours and free beers was left to Carter Bettles, and our very own Sam Gifford of the Men of Steel. For the rest it was a war of attrition. Literally. Even George, with his intimate course knowledge, battled the elements and the distance. But he still managed to surprise some competitors by continually popping up in front of them.

 

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"John Polson exploded like a can of Coke left out in the hot sun."
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Notable mentions must also go to Tony Smith, the big man of Specialized Australia, who had absolutely no idea what he had let himself in for. His decision to do the course without the Garmin route would ultimately prove his downfall. He ended up at a BMX track. He would be forgiven for thinking it was part of the course. And last, but by no means least, we doff our cap to Sofia Tsamassiros, who was our one and only female competitor. She acquitted herself incredibly well in a brutal afternoon on the bike and was deserving of her free beers!

 

Chapeau to everyone who not only braved The Classic, but tackled Thursday. It was heinous.

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CHATEAU BY BLACK SHEEP & SPECIALIZED AT THE BIG RACE IN ADELAIDE. JANUARY 14 - 20. 74 FROME ST, ADELAIDE 5000.


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