Anyone who knows Chad McKnight, knows that he absolutely loves riding and the Tour Down Under. He counts the days until it comes around. Take a read of his most recent TDU trip to Adelaide riding from Norwood to Murray Bridge...and back!
I love the Tour Down Under! I can't wait to take the week off of work to be totally immersed in a different world and indulge one of my passions. I head to Adelaide, wear lycra all week long, enjoy fantastic coffee, delicious pastries and of course some great South Aussie beer. I ride around with my mates and 1000's of other like-mind individuals. We get to see some of the best cyclists in the world, on the best bikes, in our city of Adelaide (one of the best cities in the world for bike riding), compete to take out the first leg of the world tour.
I compete in the Community Challenge Ride and have done for the past 7 years. It's a fully supported ride with closed roads, drink and food stops along the way. It maps the exact same TDU course as the pros use for the Stage 4 Route but we ride it before the pro riders. The race has start locations at Norwood (163.3km), Williamstown (110km), Mt Torrens (78.5km) and Mannum (33km) to accommodate different skill levels. We started off from Norwood and rode to Murray Bridge through some spectacular country and towns. Many of these communities had recently been affected by bushfire too so the influx of riders and spectators for the TDU and Community Challenge provided them with a very welcome financial boost. This year we decided to add an extra challenge. Instead of getting a lift home as we've done in previous years, we decided to ride back to the city. So after conquering many hills, battling headwinds and 9hrs 30mins on the road, we ended up riding a total of 265kms for the day. The beers at the end were well deserved and appreciated!
The highlight and a must-do for us every year is to tackle Willunga Hill, the last stage. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced rider. It's a gruelling 3kms. Getting to the top and the finish line for that day's race is always a great experience. There are thousands of people lining the road up and the end to wait for the pros to finish. Awesome atmosphere! This year I set a new PB of 11:35 but Richie Porte, the King of Willunga Hill and this year’s winner of the TDU did it in 6:35. WOW! Very impressive. All up for the week I rode 575kms and loved it!
My new bike ready for the big 265km day
Map of the course
A photo with some of the crew I spent the week with at the top of Willunga Hill
A photo of the Garmin showing our total distance and time for the day
The Pro's spare bikes on the roof of the support car
The finish line at Paracombe where Ritchie Porte took the leaders Ocre Jersey.
4 of the 7 of us who rode home enjoying a well-deserved beer
Pie (I love a good pastry)