During the TDU of 2012, Steve and Michelle from Procycling Tours, a local Adelaide cycling holiday business, announced that they would be leading a ride from Norwood to Lobethal. We joined in on this experience, and had a great time, and enjoyed the support that the team from Procycling provided, so when they announced that they would be doing it again this year, we knew that we had to be a part of this fun.

The format for 2013 was changed, it went from being a free, basic supported trip to Lobethal in 2012, to a $75 fully catered, fully supported event, taking us on a fantastic ride through the Adelaide Hills. If you’re not from Adelaide, or haven’t visited here yet, we are very spoilt for cycling choices. Within minutes of the main CBD, we can be on either fantastic coastline and beaches, or magnificent hills with your choice of climbs based on how keen you are!

Our ride today took us from Norwood, up to Norton Summit, Summertown, Uraidla, Lenswood, Lobethal, Charleston to Woodside where we were based to watch the pro’s come through three times. We had two support vehicles on this ride, with the first taking the marquee, chairs etc direct to Woodside to ensure we had a prime location, and the second piloted by Michelle, carrying our water, lollies, cake, bananas, spares etc, meeting us at key locations along the way to ensure we were kept well stocked up.

I’m not sure if it was the excitement of going to watch a stage, or having Steve and his team supporting and encouraging everyone along the way, but I think every rider who took part in todays ride managed to set quite a number of PR’s along the way. Our ride from Lobethal to Woodside via Charleston was fantastic, it was an extra bonus 25km that Steve threw in for us, and a group of us set tagged along behind two of Steve’s team for an awesome paced 25km ride along the same course the pro’s would soon be riding.

Steve had chosen Tiers Rd, Woodside as our viewing point for todays stage, and it was a fantastic choice, as it was a long, steady, straight climb, allowing us plenty of time to be up close and personal with the pro’s. It really is incredible how close we can get! Lunch was served here by Michelle, which was made up of fresh salad rolls, a piece of banana cake and an apple all packaged up nicely for us, and a much needed ice cold can of coke, and cold water. Of course the lollies, fruit cake and bananas were all still available too for the hungry!

The ride home was almost as much fun as the ride out! The only problem with riding out through the hills, si that to get home, you have to ride back over some hills again, but the descents are almost always worth the climb! We followed Onkaparinga Valley Rd out through to Balhannah, Verdun, Bridgewater, Aldgate, Crafers, then on to the freeway bike track. Sounds easy enough, but there are a few great climbs along here too, including German Town Hill, and parts of Gould Rd which can get pretty tiring too! Still, at least it was not Ayers Hill Rd, more commonly referred to as “Bitch Hill”!

from the bottom of the bike track, it’s a fairly easy cruise straight down Portrush Rd to Norwood again, and usually pretty good, even though it can get fairly busy.

We had a few close calls out there today, Steve had a truck driver force him off the road and onto the gravel, Darren and I had a crane driver swerving along Portrush trying to prevent us from passing him, and someone kindly opened a car door on the Parade, which was narrowly avoided only by some seriously smart bike handling skills. So a normal day out in Adelaide really!

We had some great discoveries on the ride today. Michelle discovered that there is a thing called AM radio! That was a bonus. We met the owner of Velo-Porte, who was one of the participants in today’s ride, and a great bloke, and we learned how to fold a collapsible change room! Win/win all round!

So, a massive thanks to Steve, Michelle, and all of their support team, for taking such fantastic care of all us riders joining in with them today. I can certainly see why all of their tours get booked out, these guys are awesome!

Massive thanks to Sarah, for the awesome Christmas present of tickets for this ride, and to Matt and Reidy for also joining in on the fun with us! I can’t wait til Sunday to catch up with the Procycling Team again for the final city stage, where they have booked space at a rowing club for us to watch the race from! Woot!

Keep the rubber side down,

Smudge!

Steve adressing the troops!

Steve adressing the troops!

Reidy, Matt, and Sarah! Much love to all of you!

Reidy, Matt, and Sarah! Much love to all of you!

Hey, that's us lot!

Hey, that’s us lot!

Some of Steve's awesome support team.

Some of Steve’s awesome support team.

The troops on the charge!

The troops on the charge!

Velo-Porte with one of his many Fondriest bikes for hire

Velo-Porte with one of his many Fondriest bikes for hire

mmm, Fondriest....

mmm, Fondriest….

Picnic in the shade!

Picnic in the shade!

What a fantastic set up by Procycling Tours

What a fantastic set up by Procycling Tours

IMG_9214

David Mitchell hard at work...

David Mitchell hard at work…

Check out that drink bottle!

Check out that drink bottle!