With all our bikes sent up to Christchurch the night before to ensure they would make it on to the international league of the trip, the first leg from Invers was pretty smooth sailing. Thank you Gerry Rabbitt! We checked all our gear into our international flight in Christchurch, paid our excess charges (some reluctantly!) and boom, off we went! Sydney was the first stop, where we had to clear customs ... no real problems since we mostly had ‘indoor’ bikes, and we also met Sean Edie’s brother-in-law at the check point, so he was happy that we were good honest bike riders from the deep south. Sorted!
We were enjoying the heat of Sydney until our bus journey to the domestic terminal, with about 70 other people and at an average temperature of 50 degrees (I kid you not!), it might have been a wee bit of over-kill on the heat front!
Finally we made it to Adelaide, where it was 29 degrees at 7pm – a sign of things to come - met up with Stephie, Brad and Cathy who had come on an earlier flight, picked up our rental vans (one for bikes, one for people), and set off on our way to the accommodation with our trusty google maps print out. Yep, off we went. Oh no, I think it was that way. Nope, it was left at that street. No we are already on that street. Ok, let’s turn in here and have a look. Yeah, nah, it was the other way on that street ...
Round in circles we went, until we finally set off in ‘almost’ the right route to the accommodation, via the velodrome, which was already closed. Never mind. We arrived at the Pavlos eventually, met our lovely hosts, caught up with Piet Bulling who helped us unpack the bikes into our rooms, went on a food run for those who needed some late night tucker, and then Cathy, Doddzy and I set off to return the cargo van to the airport. Since we knew the way now. Yep, (pretty much) plain sailing!
Back to the Pavlos at the equivalent of 1am NZ time, and it was time for a shut eye!
Those who haven’t travelled much for racing before could now see what a huge advantage it is to have a track in our back yard, without all the hassles and expense and logistical challenges associated with travel and bikes. We are VERY lucky! All the same, it is a great experience to go away on a trip, and you can’t beat the team bonding aspect of racing ‘away.’ It’s a good feeling to be a Southlander!
Anyway, apart from a crazy thunder storm at about 4.30am, we all had a pretty good sleep and set off on a supermarket run at 8am for some kai for the week. With expenditures ranging from $25 to over $100, you could tell the students, from the ones missing their wives’ supermarket knowledge, from the nutritionists! It is much more expensive here and we are trying to think of ways to make Australian dollars. Ideas welcome!
Once fed and watered, it was time to sort out the bikes, which mostly arrived in one piece apart from a small steering problem for Aimee’s road bike – she manhandled it down to the track anyway and later on our favourite BikeNZ Southland Mechanic Chris helped to fix it. On ‘ya Christoff! With 17 Southland riders competing (10 in the NZ team and 7 in the Southland team) and another lot of Southlanders on the support staff side of things, there are friendly Southlanders ready to help at every opportunity. Happy days!
Our first track session was great ... really interesting to see everyone getting the hang of the ‘Superdrome’ and a feel for how it rides, which is quite different from the Stadium Southland Velodrome, with the Superdrome donning much wider corners and shorter straights and the feeling that you are fighting to keep your bike. Everyone got a few efforts in, and despite the day of travel yesterday, which is always rough on the legs, there were some pretty sharp times! Exciting stuff!
We have already met some fantastic people, are kindly being lent rollers and trainers from Cycling SA and have had many an offer of “anything you need let us know,” so we are feeling very lucky!
Back to the Pavlos for some rest and dinner preparation, and an early night ready for another day on the boards tomorrow, before racing starts on Wednesday, and that is Day 1 of our 2013 Oceania Trip done and dusted. Sweet!
Stay tuned for more stories!
Article courtesy of DT
1. Debrief following training
2. Stephie rolls down to the pits
3. The Southland sprinters play chase