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Today I joined around 8,000 fellow cyclists in the Mutual Community Challenge Tour – riding 111km along part of the same route that the professionals took later in the day. The full route started at Norwood, but owing to my limited preparation we started with the majority of riders at Woodside.

This year I was once again riding with my Dad and the rest of the Mud, Sweat and Gears team.

This year was different for a number of reasons – most significantly it was the first year that BicycleSA weren’t responsible for organising the ride, and boy was that obvious (in a bad way).

First of all, there was the jersey size debacle. There appear to have been hundreds of complaints already that the same “size” is way larger than last year.

Riders leaving WoodsideAround 5,000 of the total riders started at Woodside.

  • Car parking was a joke.
  • Everyone had to squeeze through 2 “gates” to sign in. Talk about bottlenecks!

Strathalbyn was the major drink and food stop.. except there was no food! Poor planning. It should have all been delivered by the night before. Apparently it did turn up later in the morning – but too late for us and the hundreds of others who’d already been and gone.

Milang drink stop only had about 4 water taps running off one hose, whose pressure was pitiful (they should have had a water tanker provide water).

Goolwa finish was at the footy oval which at least was a suitable size to deal with the crowd, except:

  • Poor signing and poor directions – took ages to find the ‘cloakroom’ to pick up our bag
  • I felt sorry for the guy singing and playing guitar who was being drowned out by commercial radio on a separate PA.

At least we got our lunch ok.

The other problem that I remembered also happened in Angaston last year – the mobile phone network becomes useless. The organisers really need to get the phone companies to bring in temporary towers to provide extra coverage.

So apart from a bit of grumbling, we finished our ride in good time (though that wind was pretty nasty).

Here’s a few photos from the end of the day:

Riders and support cars approaching finish line

The crowds watch on as the riders and support teams in the professional race approach the finish line at Goolwa.

Packing up the bike

Packing up the bike. Looks like that daughter of mine is using her powers of levitation!

Also note that baggy jersey.

That’s my new bike by the way. You may recall my old bike met with a slight accident after last year’s event.

I’m now riding a Cannondale CAAD7 with an Ultegra group set.

Riding home

Driving back to Adelaide, we saw this guy.  He must be fit.