- Adelaide 19 – 26 January 2014
The Hack and the BUPA Challenge
The Hack and the BUPA Challenge
The Hack is no different to many other keen cyclists, in pondering whether they could have ever made it as a pro-rider.
We all know the pleasure gained from overcoming the physical and mental challenges that cycling presents, especially when you can start fitting into those jeans you haven't worn for a while.
And while that's a great feeling, imagine what it would be like if you actually got paid for the privilege.
Well on a hot, windy day in late November, The Hack was about to find out.
The "job” brought The Hack to Norwood, for a 138km trek to Tanunda, the route for the 2012 BUPA Community Challenge and stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Despite only getting back on the bike in August after barely turning a pedal for three years, The Hack felt reasonably well prepared.
Training included several 120km rides, numerous "time trials” up the Crafers bikeway, a reconnaissance drive of the route and rides over the first 40k's of the course.
But with a forecast 34 degrees and gusty northerly winds, The Hack suddenly wasn't sure he would reach the arch in Murray Street, Tanunda.
He was thinking that starting a race in Paradise meant things could only get worse, so when the headwinds blew and the heat bounced off the Anstey Hill bitumen, the doubt-o-meter cranked up a few notches.
Thankfully for every climb there's a descent, so hitting 70kmh on the approach to the stunning Chain of Ponds was something to savour.
Smith Hill, the first Skoda KOM was not too difficult. This road that sweeps down and up features a "false" summit, but the real peak is only a few hundred metres further on.
When driving the route, the flat roads between Forreston Road and Cricks Mill Road and the 18 undulating kilometres between Springton and Williamstown looked great "recovery zones”. Sadly, on a bike, the bitumen is coarse, everything vibrates and the rolling resistance literally slows you down.
With the heat, The Hack drank like a fish and chomped "energy” foods every 45 minutes, but it didn't stop the first leg cramps appearing, suddenly, near Lyndoch with 40k's still to ride.
Even worse, Menglers Hill was looming, so the little climbs along the Barossa Valley Highway only increased the trepidation.
The cramps abated, but entering Tanunda with the finish line literally only a kilometre away, the temptation to turn left instead of right towards Bethany was strong.
Another energy-sapping climb brought The Hack to the base of Menglers, with cramps hovering ominously in both legs.
It's "only” a 2.8km ascent but The Hack was not confident.
Even less so when barely 500 metres up the hill, a Monarch butterfly overtook him!
Fourteen minutes later the "giant” was slayed, but the suffering wasn't. The Hack consumed more food and drink to deal with the remaining short but sharp climbs.
But as the stopwatch ticked towards five hours 30 minutes, The Hack knew that the left turn from Stockwell Road onto the Barossa Valley Highway and Murray Street wasn't far away. He knew the BUPA Challenge was over and it was time to plan the finish-line celebration.
Great Adelaide Rides: Adelaide - Lobethal
Adelaide-Lobethal-Adelaide via Norton Summit and Basket Range.. returning via Carey Gully and Greenhill road.
Approximately 75 kilometres.
Ride time: approximately three hours.
Major route: Magill road, Old Norton Summit road, Adelaide-Lobethal road.
For return via Carey Gully and Greenhill, turn left from Adelaide Lobethal road to Deviation road and then right on to Greenhill road at Carey Gully.
For return via Crafers, turn left from Greenhill road on to Piccadilly road to Crafers and the Bikeway.
If you like hills (but not mountains), then you’ll love this ride.
Taking in one of Adelaide’s most popular climbs, this journey to Lobethal is a little challenging, but there are plenty of “rewards.”
From Adelaide, head for Magill road and the Norton Summit turn-off approximately seven Kilometres from the central business district.
Norton Summit is one of Adelaide’s famed ascents.
Just under six kilometres long, this is arguably the most popular hills access route.
Riders of all ages like this climb because it’s not very steep.
You can “tempo ride”, or like many others dash to the summit in a race against the clock.
The steepest section is the first 1.2 kilometres to the Teringie hairpin bend, so if you feel knackered when you get there, relax because the hardest part is over…for now.
Around six kilometres up the climb including several hairpin bends, and ever-improving views, you’ll see a hand-painted “169” sign leaning against a dead tree trunk.
This marks the finish for riders timing their ride…so how did you go?
The tiny Norton Summit township is still around two kilometres away, but the road from here is as easy on the legs as the views are on the eyes.
It’s also only 23 kilometres to Lobethal, but the word to sear into your brain is undulating.
You’ll encounter at least six climbs beginning with a 600 metre rise to Ashton, but of course what goes up must come down.
From Ashton, the road sweeps down for 2.5 kilometres, and there’s also a nearly four kilometre descent to enjoy after a relentless 2.5 kilometre slog to Forest Range.
In between, stop after the 800 metre climb to Basket Range and take in some food while you enjoy the magnificent views.
Basket Range is especially pretty in autumn as the hills literally change colour.
The road really rises and falls between here and Forest Range, but once you negotiate the climbs in and out of Lenswood (“apple industry HQ”)--- you’re only five Kilometres from Lobethal.
Nestled in the Onkaparinga Valley, Lobethal has a significant German heritage so not surprisingly has some great pastries!
But while the “refuelling” is well earned, the good news is that our route back to Adelaide is much easier.
Head back to Forest Range and then turn left up Deviation Road.
It looks imposing but it’s only 500 metres to the top and it’s virtually the final climb of the ride.
Deviation road takes you to Carey Gully, along four kilometres of peaceful and heavily tree-lined road.
The views across the Mount Lofty Ranges are breathtaking before you sweep down, albeit around one or two nasty corners, to Carey Gully.
Turn right into Greenhill road, speed through Uraidla and up through Summertown to the Mount Lofty turn-off around six kilometres away.
From here strap yourself in for an awesome descent into suburban Adelaide.
A couple of hairpins near the bottom need to be carefully navigated, but you’ll have no problems reaching 55-65 km/h.
It’s a brilliant end to one of the truly “Great Adelaide Rides.”
Great Adelaide Rides : Adelaide - Mount Lofty
Adelaide-Mt Lofty- Adelaide via Crafers Bikeway and Norton Summit.
43 kilometres, approximately two hours.
As Adelaide’s highest point (710 metres), Mount Lofty is an ever-popular destination for locals and tourists who flock there by car, on foot or bike.
And since the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway was re-routed through the Heysen Tunnels in 2000, cyclists have one of the best and safest routes to get there.
From the Adelaide central business district, head up Glen Osmond road about six kilometres to the bottom of the Crafers Bikeway.
Safely separated from the speeding traffic, the bike path is not super steep, but it is quite long.
From here, its 12 kilometres to the Mount Lofty summit, so find a comfortable riding tempo.
The path climbs gradually towards the Devil’s Elbow hairpin bend which swings under the new freeway and onto the old and largely deserted road.
There are a couple of flatter sections to catch your breath but as you climb, the views on both sides are worth stopping for, even if you don’t need a rest.
Dig deep for a steep left-hand bend and another short climb to the famous Eagle on the Hill Hotel.
Sadly, you can’t visit the hotel because despite being rebuilt after the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, the new freeway took away its trade.
Pick up some speed as the road levels out before the final kilometre rise to the famous bollards.
Competitive cyclists use the bollards to mark the end of their “time-trial” climb but once past them, keep following the road and ignore the sign that says “bikeway to the right.”
Entering a little wooded enclave, follow the middle road as Blackburn drive goes left and James Street right.
Climb Shurdington Road, follow it to the right then use the T-junction to join the rising Mout Lofty Summit road.
From here, your goal is only about two kilometres away.
There’s one sharp little climb with less than a kilometre to ride, but before long, you’ll be cruising through the summit car park and taking in spectacular views of the Adelaide plains.
“Re-fuel” before heading back the same way, or reach the city down another of Adelaide’s popular climbs, Norton Summit.
Turn right from the car park exit and plunge down three thrilling kilometres of twists and turns to Greenhill road.
Turn right here, roll 100 metres and then sharp left on to Woods Hill road.
Soak in the beautiful vista of vines and rolling hills, then as the road sweeps right and climbs to an intersection, turn left.
Veer left at the bottom of Woods Hill road and then right to avoid the much steeper Old Norton Summit road.
The “new” Norton Summit road is a gradual but at times bumpy descent with a couple of tricky hairpins.
It ends at Magill road where you turn right for a straight run to North terrace into the heart of the city.
Your post ride meal will taste great after this little jaunt.
Great Adelaide Rides: Adelaide to Old Willunga Hill
Adelaide to Old Willunga Hill via Veloway and Coast to Coast Rail Trail.
Approximately 110 kilometres or 4.5 hours.
Best Route: Unley road to South and Marion road intersection then “bike path” to McLaren Vale.
Old Willunga Hill is not the most difficult climb you’ll ever do, but thanks to the Santos Tour Down Under it’s now a ‘rite of passage’ for committed "South Aussie" cyclists.
And getting there and back safely is about as stress free as distance cycling can be.
Around 14 kilometres from the Adelaide central business district, the Veloway snakes its way south, linking with other bikeways before depositing you in Main St, McLaren Vale.
Starting from the central business district, it’s best to avoid the super busy South rd and Goodwood rd, so use Unley road, then Belair road and turn right down Springbank road.
A left onto a safer stretch of Goodwood road takes you past Centennial Park Cemetery and down to South road.
The Veloway is now just a couple of kilometres away, at the South road-Marion road intersection.
The gradient is fairly coarse, but as it undulates towards the southern vales, you won’t worry about that too much. You’ll be enjoying the clean air, the hills and coastal views and the absence of traffic.
The initial 2.5 kilometres is quite a climb but not as steep as the adjacent expressway.
There are a few roads to cross, but nothing major.
Ride about eight kilometres and turn left onto the Southern Way, then right onto the Coast-to-Coast Rail Trail about 12 kilometres later.
At the time of writing, construction of the Seaford rail extension forces you to detour, with even a bit of gravel to negotiate but there’s still not much traffic.
The bikeway also skirts around the busy Victor Harbor road, avoiding the climb towards McLaren Vale.
You’ll arrive at the McLaren Vale turn-off almost by surprise and if you can resist the wineries, cafes and bakeries along Main street, you’re only 20 minutes ride from historic Willunga and its famous hill.
Cruising through Willunga and swinging left, you’re looking at the steepest part of the climb.
It’s only a few hundred metres and once you veer right past the “3km winding road” sign, the gradient kicks back and barely changes until you roll over the golden crown at the summit.
You could compare the climb to Anstey Hill (northeast of Adelaide) but Willunga is nowhere near as hard as Menglers Hill in the Barossa Valley.
As you climb this road covered in the (mostly faded) painted names of riders from previous Tours Down Under, just imagine it packed with thousands of people on what is traditionally the decisive day of the race.
Then when you've reached the top, do something the TDU riders don’t do, turn around and tear back down into Willunga for a bakery “refuelling” stop.
It’s a tricky descent with some tight and bumpy corners, but there aren’t many better sensations than flying down a hill at close to 70 km/h.
Take the Veloway back to Adelaide which given the frequent sea breezes, means you’ll almost certainly have a tail wind to help you get there.
Great Adelaide Rides: Adelaide-Semaphore-Glenelg
On a sunny Adelaide day, riding doesn’t get much better than this.
Adelaide’s premier seaside destination, Glenelg, is the perfect café ride or somewhere to just enjoy the sights and breathe in the fresh sea air.
A ride there via Semaphore shows off more of our beautiful metropolitan coastline, as you pass through Grange, Henley Beach and West Beach.
Then once you leave Glenelg, the city is only 12 kilometres away along the wide and safe expanses of the Anzac Highway.
This ride is around 45 kilometres, so is easily manageable within two hours. And if you don’t like hills, well relax because there are none to worry about.
Most of this route features a dedicated bike lane.
Starting from the central business district, make your way to Frome street at the eastern end of North terrace.
Roll down the hill and past the zoo, turn left at the little roundabout and cruise along a tranquil, picturesque section of the river Torrens.
Turn left at the T-junction, head over the King William street intersection and roll past the Memorial drive tennis courts. Continue along War Memorial drive, across the Morphett street intersection until you get to Park terrace.
To avoid the busy Port road intersection, head straight on to Hawker street, left at East street, right at Second Street and left on to Chief street.
At the next lights, turn right onto Port road.
This is a long straight drag, but the bike lane makes it quite safe.
Ride about eight kilometres but when Port road veers to the right, keep following Old Port road. Roll over Frederick road, swing left briefly on to Grand Junction road which becomes Bower road.
A left at the roundabout and you’re on Military road.
There are views to the left of West Lakes and AAMI Stadium, home to the Adelaide Crows and Port Power, as you travel the seven kilometres to the Grange road roundabout.
A right here and a quick left to Seaview road which runs through the bustling Henley beach café strip.
On a calm day, the sea here looks like blue and turquoise glass, so just past Henley square turn right on to South Street, and cruise along the Esplanade.
Re-joining Seaview road, keep hugging the beach until you see a sign directing you to Glenelg.
A right at the next roundabout and you’re back on Military road, flanked by pine trees, the Adelaide Shores Golf Club and West Beach Caravan Park.
Keep rolling past the pretty Patawalonga Waterway, and into Glenelg via the rebuilt King Street Bridge which reopened in December 2011.
Find a café for a brew and then head for Anzac Highway for an easy ride back into Adelaide.
Chances are there’ll be plenty of cyclists doing exactly the same thing.