2015 Santos Women’s Tour – from front row seats at the People’s Choice Classic to fixing a flat on the side of the road

Don't get us wrong, we're here for serious bike racing (and will discuss throughout), but far out, TDU is so much fun for cyclists! With racing starting at 5:45pm Sunday evening, we had all day to hang out. And not really knowing Adelaide, we have been pleased to discover that we have hit cycling central Glenelg (or "the Bay" if we don't want to stick out like tourists). Perfect for a civilised coffee and a bit of people watching (well mainly just the cyclists). Our civilised coffee soon turned into shenanigans as the Astana pro team joined our cafe for coffee. At the same time we had realised via social media that we might be the only team who had not arranged a team photoshoot in Radelaide, and set up rectifying the situation. Unfortunately, without a professional to direct the situation, we couldn't conjure the right duckface from the riders, or stop Astana from photobombing our shoot. Oh well... turns out Astana are quite nice friendly guys, and massive kudos for knowing all about the women's racing too. Results from the photoshoot: Unfortunately pro-stalking had to cease for the day, however, we then ventured over to the Tour Village for a browse pre-race and then off to Rymill Park to watch the Tour parade and get ready to entertain the crowds. The best parade freebies were by far Schwalbe, we scored great caps & loaded saddle bags. Finally we get to the racing! Stage 2 was held on the same course as the People Choice Classic which meant the women raced in front of an absolutely massive crowd - if the crowds for the mens race were around 28,000 (unofficial twitter guestimate) then atleast half that were there for the women, just awesome. After some dodge traffic instructions we ended up cheekily setting up camp at the start/finish line. It turned out to be a great idea, as the riders mingled with the crowds and signed autographs with their new fans post race. Shout out to mini-Cadel :) The racing was fast and furious and over in a flash. Looking at the lineup it was clear that certain teams would favour a bunch finish and other teams, like ours, would benefit from a breakaway. So we set out with the goal of initiating and assisting all breakaway attempts. Both Lisa & Nicole found themselves in promising situations off the front throughout the race, and enjoyed "tv-time" (there entire race was shown on the big screens). However, the sprint teams were not having it, successfully chasing down every attempt. The race finished in a spectacular sprint, taken out by Mel Hoskins from Orica. Nicole was our best finisher in 15th and all girls finished in the bunch. There are some great photos around of the stage, our favourite collection so far is Kirsty Baxter. With the new blue helmets you can see where every single boss rider crossed the finish line! We were all keen to hang around after the race and watch the People's Choice Classic. However, as the crowds swelled it became quite difficult to see anything... not to worry, front row seats (that's us above the crowds) #likeaboss   The racing did not disappoint, it was highly entertaining and ridiculously fast. There were hopes that the breakaway would be rewarded with the win, however, Lisa & Rach called the Kittell win early (although they were basing this theory on the fact he has the best hair in the peloton) and will probably claim forever that he won because of them.  A long day in the end, but so much fun! Unfortunately some had to stay up late to work, but hey, that's women's cycling!   Monday - the rollercoaster The day started fantastic, we were running ahead of schedule, had our takeaway coffees ready for pickup and were on our way to the race start the long way so we could recy the course (the opposite direction). We are never early... and often not on schedule! Should have known... FLAT TYRE! Well that just sucked a bit, but full credit to Andrew, Dean and Gemma who calmly and effectively swapped it for the spare.   Unfortunately, the stop combined with the limited speed we could now travel at, revised our schedule to arrive at race start 15 mins before start. No warm up. All good, no one panicked, we called ahead to let the Chief Comm know we'd be cutting it close (or starting 10km in ;)) the riders got kitted up in the car, and we ran through the key things to be actioned when the car stopped. There were massive sighs of relief though that we had made it..! All credit to our girls who jumped into the race, stayed conservative early on to warm up & then worked on positioning to start racing, helped also by an early break that the bunch was happy to see stay out in front for first 20km. The girls found the course deceptively steep compared to the course profile but all climbed well, with Lisa (who even got out of the saddle - rare!), Nic & Rach cresting the killer Checker Hill with the first chasing bunch. Crystal & Gemma did excellent with their current training form, being not far behind in the next bunch. On such a technical course requiring exceptional climbing, cornering and descending skills, there were many caught out on the day and words exchanged throughout the race encouraging riders to keep working on their skill development. The race did not change much from the decisive Checker Hill climb with the front bunch staying away and the next chasing bunch eventually breaking into two as some (including Rach) got caught behind riders loving the brakes a bit much down the windy Gorge Rd descent into the last few kms. Lisa & Nic crossed the line in the first chasing bunch just over 1min back, Rach drove the last few kms of her bunch to finish a further 2mins back, and Crystal & Gemma were in a cooperative bunch finishing only a few minutes later. There was short-lived disappointment in our team having missed the jump to the lead bunch, until realising who had made the cut and that 2x world champ Bronzini had won. It was a fantastic course to race on (the same the men race on for Stage 1 TDU), every rider in our team loved it, and the crowds were just incredible. The race averaged just under 40km/hr with top speeds maxing out around 90km/hr! Post race team photos before we bid farewell to Crystal who can not make stage4 due to work commitments:   After some speedy assistance from Lennock Skoda back in Canberra, the tyre situation was under control, and we hit the beach for some R&R and ice cream before dinner. Here is our second entry for #NRS15CookOff JK - but can you guess wh...