If you have a favourite Supercyclist that you are close with, no doubt by now you have given them a hug (before and/or after washing, depending on personal preference), and patiently listened to them rabbit on about speed, rotations, Strava segments, sore body parts and the wonders of fruit cake. But read on for the real story of day 7 of Mercer SuperCycle 2017.
A short stop in Marrabel, famous for its rodeo, on Day 7 of Mercer SuperCycle 2017.
The last day of SuperCycle is always bitter-sweet. The body is aching, the backside is numb, and it has become difficult to keep eating enough to keep energy levels up. At the same time, the camaraderie is intense, and the teamwork is amazing to watch as people work together to help each other to the end.
The one thing we couldn’t complain about on day 7 was the weather. Clare, where we’d had a lovely evening, is about 130kms directly north of Adelaide. SupercCcle usually takes a more scenic route involving the road less travelled, so we were looking at 173kms heading mostly south. The wind was a lovely northeasterly at about 15-25kmh, so blowing us home without getting too pushy about it.
We set off into a gorgeous Clare Valley morning, and made very quick time to the first stop at Auburn. Any connection with the fact that coffee was available may be coincidental. Thanks to the guys at Andrew Miller Wines in the main street of Auburn for their great work behind the coffee machine, and cake!
Cycling the iconic Seppeltsfield Road in the Barossa Valley, Day 7 Mercer SuperCycle 2017.
A left turn took the edge off the tailwind, which slowed us down a little on the way to Marrabel via Saddleworth. Marrabel is a little town in the middle of farming country that’s best known for its rodeo (and not much else), but has been a stop on Supercycle a number of times (the public loos are more than adequate).
We then turned south again, and peloton 1 decided that a long flat stretch of road was a chance to wear off some testosterone. The SA Power/DMAW team led the peloton down the 21kms to Kapunda at an average rate of 40kmh, which we were pretty happy with. Not quite without raising a sweat, but seven days in the saddle raises the fitness to quite a high level, as long as you can ignore the lactic acid burn. Peloton 2 were only about 40 seconds slower, so they took advantage of the conditions as well.
Kapunda got its second visit on this trip, before we headed up the hill towards Greenock. The wind was still behind us as we negotiated some steep undulations behind Seppeltsfield. We interrupted a film crew who were in the middle of the road, but managed to navigate that, and the palm tree lined Seppeltsfield road.
Some of our outstanding Support Crew- we couldn’t do it without them.
Tanunda was the stop for lunch, with some awesome pies and rolls and a bit of a lie down in the grass next to the visitors’ centre. The main street of Tanunda was a bit interesting to navigate on a Friday morning, but the support crew did their usual superb job. At this stage we were about 20mins ahead of schedule, but keen to keep that time up our sleeve in case of mechanical or other issues.
From Tanunda, we got through the lovely Barossa Valley without (hopefully) annoying the local traffic too much. There aren’t many options for sealed roads through the Barossa, so we slow down the main road a bit with the pelotons. Once again, nearly all drivers were patient and courteous, and some of the work of truckies to keep their distance from us was great, and much appreciated.
One last drinks stop at Williamstown before heading through the Adelaide Hills to Kersbrook. Nothing too uphill at this stage, but we’d done 120kms so the legs were feeling it a bit. We then
Arriving home at the end of day 7 of Mercer SuperCycle 2017 – smiles all round.
stopped at the Kangaroo Creek dam on Gorge Rd to let the pelotons get a bit closer together for the run into town. Wylie, our mechanic, jumped out of his van and onto a bike for the first time this week, which was great to see.
A lovely run down the nicest ride in Adelaide (I think I said that about the ride up it on day 1) before meeting our police escort at Athelstone, and forming up as one peloton. Five guys on motorcycles then escorted us to the finish point, meaning that we didn’t have red lights to contend with. This is a big deal when you have 40 riders to try and keep together.
As always, the finish was a very emotional time. Lots of hugs amongst the riders, support crew, and families, some tears, some relief that it was all over, a couple of drinks and the odd speech or two.
So, in summary? We’ve raised a lot of money for a good cause. The ride itself went off with barely a hitch (even Dawn relaxed a bit), and the weather could scarcely have been better.
Team Mercer – our largest team in SuperCycle history – at the finish.
A few mechanical issues, but nothing that our super mechanic couldn’t deal with. And a group of people worked together and became a lot closer for it.
Thanks for reading.