To help everybody through the TDU, and in particular the spectators, visitors, riders, cyclists, foodies and anyone in between, this guide to surviving this stage of the Santos Tour Down Under is offered.
The Race for Foodies
Foodies who wish to try some local foods at the KOM or the finish may be disappointed as there are no delis or cafés in the small rural town of Paracombe. But no doubt, locals will rally together and will put on some special food stalls at the nearby oval to complement the coffee vans and other food vans that are expected to converge on the town.
If the above choices don't hit the spot, or you are intent on watching the spot from other places along the route, then why not try some of the products from Lovell's Bakery (Inglewood, Birdwood and Woodside) or the Lobethal Bakery (Woodside and Lobethal). With some of the best chocolate donuts in the Adelaide Hills, everyone is sure to be happy.
The Race for Spectators
Spectator viewing today could be at several spots, but the best spot has to be Torrens Hill Road. At a slope of around 10% for the majority of the 1.2km, this is surely to be a longbuster for most of the riders, and any of the spectators who head down the hill for a better viewing. The funniest viewing spot could be the first 100m of the climb as the faces on the riders turn from excitement of knowing that the finish is only 1.5km away to the realisation that 75% of this final leg is riding up something that resembles the north face of the Matterhorn.
Another great viewing spot would be at the top of the hill where riders will be grimacing in pain trying to hang on to the rider in front of them, and not lose too much time in the stage. While there are likely to be many great viewing spots along the side of Torrens Hill Road, make sure your drive up/down to these spots. Any walking up/down is likely to require walking poles, while you are likely to develop two different lengths of legs by standing for a long time.
Before The Race
After yesterday's restful evening, why not start today a little earlier and head off to Norton Summit and join the throngs as they tackle Adelaide's most popular suburban hill climb. After a lap or two of Norton Summit, then head on down to The Parade for the pre-ride breakfast party starting at 830am. Entertainment includes music for adults and plenty to keep the kids occupied including rides, balloonist, stilt walkers, jugglers and face painters. And if these sound a bit busy for you, why not drop in to either of Adelaide's most popular cycling cafés, Argos or CIBO, and share the tales of the morning's efforts.
From 930am onwards, the Subaru Tour Parade will gather, followed by the riders for the sign-on. Grab yourself some autographs and some more giveaways, before the stage kicks off at 11am.
For recreational cyclists wanting to travel to parts of this stage, Gorge Road to Cudlee Creek and then Lobethal is one of the more scenic and shady gully rides in Adelaide. And with lighter traffic traveling easterly on the road, it is a relatively smooth and easy ride.
Big Crowds at Lobethal
For cyclists wanting to see the finish or the KOM, and still wishing to breathe, then it is best to head to Paracombe via Ansteys Hill. While this hill is slightly longer than the Torrens Hill KOM, it is a much easier gradient and you don't need to 'lock the 4wd hubs' in order to get up the hill.
Notes for Riders
As noted, this stage has a finish line near the Tour's toughest hill. My suggestions for riders are :
Melbas is a short detour off the Lobethal-Woodside circuits : well worth a visit, but chocolate will melt by the time you get up the hill
Insert a small battery powered motor in to the bike frame
Incur a flat rear tire near Lobethal, and get the support crew to change the wheel to one with a couple of huge gears
Hook an ocker strap on to the rider in front of you
Beware of Cute Distractions
After The Race
Thursday night sees the closure of Jetty Road at Glenelg and the Return of the Tour Street Party. Crowds of up to 10,000 people are expected to indulge in the food, music and festivities as Glenelg celebrates the return of the Tour Down Under with Stage Four and the Bupa Challenge Ride on Friday.