What do we count as the biggest sporting day in Australia? Is it the AFL grand final? Maybe the NRL grand final? What about Melbourne Cup?
The 2013 Tour de Perth took bike racing to a new dynamic: quokka dodging. Have you ever seen a quokka? It looks like the production between a short, fat kangaroo and a sewer rat, native to one small island paradise.
Nowhere else has such uselessly blind and obnoxiously clumsy life fathomed itself into existence but on Rottnest Island, Western Australia.
Rottnest (which I believe is ‘Rat’s Nest’ in foreign tongue) is phenomenal. Equal to the best beaches in the world, native flora as raw Aussie as it gets, no cars, and a cubic tonne of bikes as the only means of transport. Not to mention some pumping surf for those long-haired folk.
It kind of ‘brings you back’ I suppose and, given it is listed as a Class A nature reserve, building and commerce on the island remain less than abundant.
Besides fishing, surfing, or having a coronary at the check-out of the local supermarket, there isn’t a hell of a lot to do. Needless to say, a fair chunk of drinking goes on when our culture is submitted to ‘boredom’ (boredom |ˈbɔːdəm| – noun [ mass noun ] – a lack of functioning brain cells) so Rottnest, unfortunately and sadly, has a big reputation for the liquor consumption, and the pub is often bustling at the seams.
We athletes, on the other hand, steered clear of the pub in our two days of burning rubber through the unique roads of ‘Rotto’.
The roads as mentioned aren’t designed for cars; they are narrow and twisty, similar width to those Belgian roads in the classics, but much more twisty, and up and down over 20 metres of altitude constantly.
The road race tackled four laps to make 80km, and the following day’s time trial completed just the one.
To give them credit, the fig-drunk and blind quokkas mostly stayed off the road, there were a couple of collisions but all-in-all I will conclude the injury toll from riders/quokkas incidences remained low.
The Tour progressed onward into the nasty hills of Mundaring Weir for stage three (mighty picturesque I’ll have you), and the hot-mix bitumen of Perry Lakes for stage four.
The racing was as fast as I have ever seen Australian racing, a testament to the progression the National Road Series is having.
The Tour concluded with a dominating performance by the Huon Salmon-Genesis Wealth Advisors Team. They won pretty much everything, and good on them. They are machines at the moment and it’s great to see because that is what you get from hard work and a great team structure.
It’s only up from here for the Tour de Perth now. Rio Tinto, surely, isn’t short on a dollar so maybe they can find some more loose change to bump the following year’s events a notch or two.
The local and inter-state teams will benefit from the added exposure and the local riders will haver firsthand viewing of a national racing event. It’s a general uplifting experience for the cycling community as a whole.
Well, as tightly packaged as the groinal region of a lycra-clad cyclist, that’s my wrap of National Road Series event numero uno, 2013. Next comes the Battle on the Border (of NSW and Queensland), and the Tour of Toowoomba, which too, is in Queensland.
Both tours contain prevalent inclinations, and an uphill finish each. Toowoomba will showcase a 27km Teams Time Trial, and Battle a 9km Individual Time Trial.
Stay tuned for my synopsis of the fast, slow, and hilarious happenings.
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