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The Rory Sutherland Tour of Georgia diary

Rory Sutherland is back again – the 26 year-old Australian from Canberra is reporting from the 2008 Tour of Georgia for Cyclingnews, following on from his incredibly popular Tour of California diary. The 2004 Australian Under 23 National Champion will keep readers up to date every day on his and Team Health Net's progress. (For more read his 2007 diaries.)

Index to all entries

Rory Sutherland Cyclingnews Diary Tour de Georgia 2008

Stage 7, Atlanta - Atlanta 60 miles/ 100 kms

Getting it done

What a fun tour. Really! I know, I say this because things have gone well for myself and the team, but it really is a great race. I'm writing this from 12,000m above Tennessee. Yep, I'm out. I decided that the best thing to do after a tour is go home as soon as humanly possible. Back to Colorado for some sun, relaxation, and getting back in touch with the real world. Yes, we seem to all forget during a tour that there are other things going on in this big wide old world of ours.

The Healthnet slogan on the RV
Photo ©: Rory Sutherland
(Click for larger image)

So the race itself. For me, it has been an experience. In riding for one of the bigger domestic teams in the USA, it gives us the chance to take our opportunities. I've spent my years previously on some of the biggest teams in the world, where my job was pretty simple: hired help! I raced for other guys, got bottles, stopped if someone flatted, and rode on the front. I think that opportunities to race the big races on a smaller team is something that should be grabbed with two hands. I am lucky enough to have been given the chance to race for myself in Georgia. I got the chance to go for the win myself, to see what I myself could achieve up something like Brasstown Bald. What did I learn from all this? (Yes, I actually have the ability to learn things, even though I ride a bike for a living.....).

- Being on a smaller team does not mean you can't compete at the highest level. - Take the opportunities that are given to you. - Enjoy the stress of being 'the go to guy' in your team. - That determination and self belief can in fact get you where you need to go. - And, of course, to appreciate the people standing out there, watching. Without them, there would be no race at all.

I apologise, but there will be no Tj's section in this entry. We have separated. We have been within 100 meters of each other for the best part of eight days. He needs to go home, and I need to do the same. Some people might not realise the importance of a good roommate. You need to click, and you need to be on the same program (sleep pattern, eating pattern, lights out timing, bathroom pattern.... no, I'm not joking). Tim also keeps me sane, brings me back down to ground level when my head gets too big, and helps me stay relaxed. This, of course, is imperative to a good stage race.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

- Domestic teams winning stages and being on the podium every day.
- Corey crashing at 75 km/h, getting up, finishing the stage on my spare bike (I ride a 60 cm, he rides a 58....) 
   And then him getting all the way to the finish, helping out the team the whole way. Nice work, rookie!
- Our team succeeding in our goals, and even exceeding expectations.
- Mike crashing the car and realising that he is in fact not Michael Schumacher... he is  "just" himself, Michael Tamayo.
- Matty Crane still searching for that Miss/Mrs/Ms Right.
- Matty Crane finally getting in a break that he has tried so hard to get in all week.... then proceeding to crash himself out of it.
- Having a fan say "I want to have your babies".... no joke.
A fitting sticker
Photo ©: Rory Sutherland
(Click for larger image)

So the big news all week. Well, maybe it's not all that big to most, but it kind of is to me.... check out www.justrory.com; that's right... it's just me, no BS, just what it says.

Ok, tour is over, basta, finito, done. I think while we are all happy to get to the end and have our names down as completing this event, it also makes us all a little sad. It will be another eleven months and twenty-five or so days till Tour de Georgia 2009. This is a great tour, something for the public, a way to see the big cycling heroes of the USA, if not in the world. How often does the American public get to do that? Not enough, I'd say.

It's also a little sad, as this will be my last diary for the tour. I like doing them, and while it is an added stress everyday (due to the fact that I 'try' to make them as exciting and informative as possible), I love it. The access it brings to the fans is great, and the words of appreciation, or people yelling along the road, is all heard and helps the bad days/moments go by.

Thanks Georgia, see you next year!

p.s The photo added was a sticker found on the back of Karl's jersey at the top of Brasstown Bald. Funny,funny stuff!


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Rory Sutherland