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I first raced the Tour de Tablelands in May 2004, only two months after my very first race. I thought I give some background information, which might explain why I want to win this event so badly.
The Tableland Tour is a five stage race competed over the three days of the May long weekend. All stages apart from the individual time trial start in Yungaburra, a picturesque village about an hour drive from Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands.
Stage I is a 55 km road race over ondulating terrain with usually strong winds on largely unprotected roads amongst sugar cane fields.
Stage II is the 4 km ITT the same afternoon. It’s an out and back straight road, slightly downhill and therefore slightly uphill and usually into a headwind on the return trip.
Stage III is a 44 km road race, two laps of a 22 km roundtrip known as the Curtain Fig Tree loop, contested in the morning of day two.
Stage IV, a very popular stage with spectators, is a criterium around the Yungaburra Village centre. It’s a tricky circuit with a roundabout on the top end of the course and a 180 degree corner on the bottom end. Out of the corner is slightly uphill and it has a downhill sprint.
Stage V and final stage is a 70 km road race with a King of the Mountain competition on the morning of day three.
In 2004 I got last. I didn’t have high expectations and my goal was to finish. I did but it was a humbling experience. It was the hardest thing I had done up until then on a sporting level. I got dropped within the first few kilometers of each and every single stage and rode almost the whole tour on my own. It was frustrating but I didn’t want to give up. I got awarded the “Lantern Rouge” and “Most Spirited Rider”.
Part II coming soon.