Ryan From Parkside Core Physio
Ryan Duffy from the Parkside practice has a passion for motorbikes and cycling. This began when he worked at Mike Turtur’s bike shop in Medindie whilst studying. For the last 4 years, he has put his passion to good use by ensuring all of the cyclists stay safe at the Tour Down Under. Here is an encounter of his experience at this year’s Tour Down Under.
Taking part in the Tour Down Under is something that Ryan looks forward to each year. He is given an amazing new bike to ride during the race and his job is to ride the motorbike whilst the race is on and look out for:
- any hazardous corners
- and objects or cars that may be obstructing the riders
Day 1: North Adelaide to Port Adelaide
On the first day of the Tour Down Under it was hot hot hot…..!!! I saw 46 degrees whilst riding the motor bike throughout the day. The race was shortened by one stage due to the heat. It was a busy day as there are always teething problems at the beginning of the race. I had a close encounter with the main group of riders otherwise known as the Peloton. With 1k to go, they swamped around me, despite my best flag waving and whistle blowing attempts to let them know that I was there.
Day 2: The Parade, Norwood to Angaston
It’s always a fun start from the Norwood Parade, this is because of the fabulous community spirit and support. The Police bike riders were friendly as they helped out by giving us cold water and sports drinks to keep us hydrated. It was still super hot and once again the race was shortened by one stage. There was lots of action with the Peloton (main group of riders) as we had a few obstacles that needed adjusting. This meant that I needed to ride my bike through the pack to get in front of the race and direct them past the obstacles. At the end of the day, getting back to our home base was a challenge. It was incredibly hot and we only had an hour to make the journey back to our home base.
Day 3: Lobethal to Uraildla
This was an awesome day! We had a new race route with laps at the end of the stage. It was hot again but I was able to see heaps of action. I had a fantastic ride in front of the race with the race director (Mike Turtur) for most of the day. There were no major incidents that I needed to warn the riders about so I was able to relax and enjoy the day.
Day 4: King William Road to Campelltown
You won’t win the race today, but you can lose it!!!
This is a decisive point in the race because the riders cycle up corkscrew hill and it’s a very tough ride for them. There was a lot of action during the first half of the race then the riders all came back together before the climb up corkscrew hill. It was a fairly quiet day for me and I didn’t need to do too much except keep out of the riders way until the final corner of the race before the sprint down the hill. I needed to race ahead of the riders on the closed roads and get down to the bottom of the hill before the riders did. This is something that I was easily able to do on a motorbike, however, it was a little unnerving riding on the wrong side of the road. I took lots of care when doing so as I have heard lots of stories of accidents when cars pull out of side streets unknowingly, hitting the riders.
Day 5: Glenelg to Strathalbyn
Day 5 of the Tour Down Under was extremely windy. The bikes were being blown across the road and I had to take the dirt shoulder (route) to get past them a couple of times. It was fun getting the bike off of the road but trying not to kick up dust took some care. When riding along the coast heading South, there were magnificent views. I felt as though I was part of the Tour De France as helicopters were hovering close to the riders to take footage of them then rising up over the cliff edge. I could feel the rotor wash (change in the direction of air, deflected by the aerodynamic action of a helicopter rotor blade in motion) as they flew over me.
Day 6: The final stage McLaren Vale to Willunga
This is the infamous climb that has shuffled the order of the race on more than one occasion. This year was the first time that it had been placed in the final stage of the race, it’s normally a street circuit in Adelaide.
This year the Willunga hill decided the race standings, the day flew past without too many problems. One urgent issue was that someone had accidentally dropped diesel oil at the bottom of a hill. It was off the racing line but still not the best place. Another potential hazard or accident was that a car had pulled out of a service station and was driving towards the race whilst it was coming towards them. The police alerted them and they quickly moved out of the way, doing so just in time, because 1 minute later, the Peloton came racing through the area.
After the riders crossed the finish line, I left Willunga for my last ride back to our home base. We were given an amazing dinner at the Hilton! It was all that you can eat and drink, whilst mingling with the professional riders, mechanics, management and the Tour Down Under organisation. We drank a little bit of wine and indulged ourselves with some dessert plates. What a glorious end to a fantastic week!
I thoroughly enjoyed the week. It was good to give myself a break and enjoy something that is completely different from my daily life and routine. However, it was also good to get back to work the following week because I do enjoy working with my clients and the challenges associated with Physiotherapy. I love my motorcycle riding hobby, but I’m also lucky enough to say that I love and am also passionate about my chosen career.
To make a booking with Ryan call 7079 8323 or visit the Parkside practice. If you enjoy motorbike riding or cycling, you can share some stories with him. He can also give you some tips as to how to maintain your posture whilst riding long distances on a motorbike or bicycle.