Lisa Jacobs is one of our national treasures, 3 x Australian CX Champ (2013-15), she is one of the rare few selected to train with the AIS, in 2010 Lisa made the Australian National Women's team that raced the women's Giro D'Italia and has had many other road and CX racing accolades over the years, all whilst building a successful law career... So why did we take a 45min specialist on a 44 hour 800km trip from Melbourne to Adelaide?
Below are LJs words on the her TDU Pilgrimage
'The trick is not to think of it as an 800km ride. You're used to 100km rides, right? Just think of it as one 100km ride after another. And eat lots.'
- Troy Bailey, currently riding around Australia for New Life Cycle
'People, you need to have your shit dialled. Do not be that person who gets seven flats. No one will save you.'
- Jesse Carlsson, Curve Cycling; winner, 2016 Trans-Am; Australia's best ultra-distance cyclist
'I'm shitting myself a little bit.'
- LJ, night before the ride
On a crisp Saturday morning, just before 4am, a small group of cyclists gathered outside a 7-11 in Brunswick, Melbourne. Eight of us, to be precise, although we were joined from time to time by others (more on that later). The mission, as Curve described it, was to travel by bike 800km to the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, South Australia, in just two days. No support car, no team mechanic, and riding straight into a headwind. Why wouldn't you?
Rhino always looking strong - Mich Adventures Photography
It sounded pretty extreme to me. But Jesse Carlsson and Sarah Hammond had just done the same ride from Melbourne to Adelaide without stopping, as training for the upcoming Indian-Pacific Wheelrace. When they got to Adelaide they admired the view, then turned around and rode back to Melbourne. In comparison, this version seemed positively civilised. So I signed up. The fact that Jesse and Sarah are both superhuman ride-bots with a passion for self-punishment conveniently escaped me in the excitement of the adventure.
Kay's Carlsson and some guy in the back that looks like he is going to be nailed to a cross - Mich Adventures Photography
Nick eat The Ox - Mich Adventures Photography
For the factologists:
Day 1: 450km. 21 hours. Brutal headwinds. Melbourne - Ballarat - Dunkeld - Balmoral - Naracoorte. Highlight: cold pizza at 1am. Adam, you're a genius. I'm promoting you to Colonel.
Day 2: Short sleep. 350km. 15 hours. Naracoorte - Keith - Tailem Bend - Murray Bridge - Nairne - Mt Lofty - Adelaide. Highlight: #beersformaven
Troy Boy and L.J., Ride Happy - Mich Adventures Photography
Throughout the ride, one of our crew had been kept busy tending to his many disciples. I won't blow his cover, so let's just call him 'Jesus'. Jesus was a top bloke, and everywhere we went we were joined by his followers who would ride with us and present offerings. And I mean EVERYWHERE. We only had to stop for a moment and a cracking human would appear out of nowhere, furnishing trays of home-made pastries and cold drinks. It was the stuff of miracles. Jesus took it all in his stride, and I suspect it happens to him a lot, but for us it was quite something. Most impressive, though, was the speed with which the universe responded to Jesus' call for beer.
A simple tweet on Sunday morning resulted in at least five separate roadside handups, including one family who had driven for two hours to stand by the side of the road with an esky full of cold beers and home-made posters. The day was filled with rad stuff like this. The CyclingTips crew drove past to deliver cold drinks (and yes, more beer).
Cycling Tips and #morebeersformaven
Countless cars on the way to the TDU honked and cheered as they drove past. There was a drone. Truck drivers rarely resisted the sight of ten cyclists cranking their arms in unison. In the pitch blackness of the Adelaide hills, blokes came to run alongside The Ox and a lone cracking human waved a cowbell in unbridled joy at the sight of Jesus cycling past.
Rhino. Nipples - Mich Adventures Photography
We arrived in Adelaide 44 hours after we'd left Melbourne.
We were exhausted, sore and so, so happy. I can't describe how good it felt to finish something I really didn't know that I could. I also can't describe how crazy all those ultra-endurance cyclists are. After two days, pain radiated from every joint in my body and every possible chafe point, and I was subsisting on a diet of Coke and anti-inflammatories. To think that ultra-distance racers do this for two weeks straight makes my head explode.
Grovel V2- Photo by Captain Flat
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Once the swelling dies down, that is. It was a brilliant adventure with an awesome crew, and the stories we shared and the friendships forged over those 800km are tattooed on my brain. Rumour has it that Curve will make it even bigger next year. Tempted? You'd better bring Jesus.
Zoom Zoom- Photo by Kays Carlsson