6 CY­CLING: Tour Down Un­der

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Adventure -

Grade: Easy-Chal­leng­ing (dis­tance de­pen­dent)

More info: tour­dow­nun­der.com.au/ bupa-chal­lenge-tour/reg­is­ter-to-ride/ ride-for-a-rea­son

YEAH, THE TOUR Down Un­der (TDU) is ob­vi­ously a mul­ti­day stage race for the world’s best cy­clists, but for us ev­ery­day ped­allers it doesn’t mean you can­not at least pre­tend to be a pro; the Bupa Chal­lenge Tour is a mass par­tic­i­pa­tion ride along the route for Stage 4 of the TDU. It also acts as a fundraiser for the Can­cer Coun­cil, a bril­liant and hard-work­ing char­ity. The Chal­lenge Tour also gives cy­cling en­thu­si­asts the chance to ride or race the route be­fore the pros and test them­selves while check­ing out some of the pris­tine roads that make South Oz (and Ade­laide and sur­rounds in par­tic­u­lar) such a cy­cling hot spot.

The Chal­lenge is run over four dis­tances, so you can choose the one that suits your fit­ness. The big-bop­per is the full pro-stage length which, in 2017, started at Nor­wood, around 10 min­utes out of the Ade­laide city cen­tre, and fin­ished in Camp­bell­town, 157.7km later. This un­du­lat­ing leg is a big chal­lenge (ex­cuse the pun) but there are shorter op­tions: 111km, 58km and 25km (this one is ideal for cy­cling fam­i­lies).

You will be rid­ing through some of the Ade­laide Hills’ most beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions and, as this chal­lenge is fully sup­ported (me­chan­i­cal and med­i­cal) it en­sures you can just fo­cus on en­joy­ing the ride. In terms of phys­i­cal chal­lenge, the longer stages will test the fittest week­end war­rior; this year’s Subaru King of the Moun­tain at Checker Hill Road, near Kent­brook, soon sep­a­rated the haves from the havenots when it comes to leg-burn­ing as­cents. Of course, the re­wards for all the climbs are the de­scents and these are in abun­dance dur­ing this stage – espe­cially over the last 25km.

Our ad­vice is to book early and also start train­ing a few months be­fore the race at the lat­est; you re­ally want to en­joy the ride with­out too much hard­ship and, again, be­ing fit­ter and more com­fort­able al­lows you to ac­tu­ally soak up the ex­pe­ri­ence of rid­ing a stage of a world cy­cling event, on some of the world’s most lusted-after roads. Speak­ing of which, it is well worth book­ing in for longer than a few days; if you’re al­ready in Ade­laide, you should def­i­nitely make the most of the fan­tas­tic rid­ing there. Be­sides the Chal­lenge route, we’d highly rec­om­mend a day or two tour­ing the beaches area of Ade­laide; the roads here are wide, open and per­fect for road cy­clists. Plus, Ade­laide driv­ers ac­tu­ally know how to be cour­te­ous to cy­clists. Yep, the city of churches also dou­bles as two-wheeled heaven. – JW

The Chal­lenge is run over four dis­tances, so you can choose the one that suits your fit­ness.

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