6 CYCLING: Tour Down Under
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.