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Rory Sutherland during the pre-race press conference.
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The Rory Sutherland Tour of California diary

Rory Sutherland is back again – the 25 year-old Australian from Canberra is reporting from the 2008 Tour of California for Cyclingnews. The 2004 Australian Under 23 National Champion will keep readers up to date every day on his and Team Health Net's progress as they race down the Golden State as part of the eight-day race. (For more read his 2007 diaries.)

Index to all entries

Off with a bang

So I'll be doing daily diaries, again, hopefully with readable and slightly amusing content. You don't need to be reading how the race went; because seriously, I'm not a journalist (can you tell?). But, I'm going to try and give you some content, some stuff that doesn't get seen so much, some things that you would have to be in a professional team to experience. Well, that's the idea anyway.

Tour of Cali is off with a bang. Is it possible to create more hype than last year? Apparently so. We are lucky. We get to race our bikes through a beautiful part of the world. I have learnt through this race that California is not just LAX airport. There is more... there are good people, there are beautiful, unpopulated areas. Today was awesome, not so much my results, but the people again. Roads packed, screaming fans, safe environments. This is what it's all about. The organisation again is second to none. I mean, for a race that has only been going for three years it's pretty damn impressive. I even feel a little special!

The Aussie charm never fails – Rory Sutherland (Health Net)
Photo ©: Gerard Knapp
(Click for larger image)

We're in sunny Nor Cal! Actually, were in Palo Alto, the heart of Stanford University, the heart of Silicon Valley (not Silicone Valley; that's in Los Angeles), and the heart of the iPhone. That's right, I seem to have landed myself somewhere that I really do not fit in. I will admit I don't have an iPhone, I am not what I like to call an "iDork" or an "iLook at me, I have an iPhone." However, I am lucky enough to be close to the source. My usual roommate is back from circumnavigating the farms of Belgium on a 'cross bike, and he has an iPhone. Can I be cool by association? Thanks Tim.

You would think that with a phone book sized cellular phone that TJ (Tim Johnson) would not lose it so easily. Just this very second I have had to call his phone so he knows where it is. Seriously, put a brick in your pocket, and tell me you wouldn't realise that it had fallen out.

Back to reality now.

I'm going to try something different. And If Cyclingnews allows me, I'm going to try and give back a little more than a dry humoured Australian view on the biggest race in the USA. I've set up a new e-mail address for the tour, which you'll find below. What I'm looking for are people to e-mail me the following:

1. Ways to educate me on American Culture.
2. Ways to be cool like the iPhone-toting people I meet.
3. Just to let me know that more than TJ's mother is reading this.
4. Questions you may have on the race/people involved that I can answer in the diary

Rory Sutherland (Health Net) – all warmed up and ready to go.
Photo ©: Gerard Knapp
(Click for larger image)

Lastly, I also have a competition... That's right; you too can get the coolest Team Health Net-Maxxis promotional merchandise that goes around! If you're coming to a start or finish of a stage this week, we want to see you. The deal is... Come up with the best "Australian quote," yell it at me (or Karl Menzies for that matter) and the best one of the day, I will personally send you a gift packet. Wow, that is a deal and a half isn't it. Maybe if any of our awesome sponsors are reading this and want to come to the party to give back to the consumers, we can get them involved too! Examples of quotes are as follows:

Throw another prawn on the barbie (and yes Americans, it's a prawn... not a shrimp)
That's not a knife, THIS is a knife! (Crocodile Dundee)
"Hey Rory, You look as mad as a cut snake"
"Matt Crane is hot"... (Okay, it's not Australian, but if you yell this, it will make our day! If it can be yelled out by a female... It's even better! By the way, Matty is our very eligible, worldly, well-bred, future superstar of a team-mate)

The e-mail: rorysdiaryisboring@gmail.com

So that's it, enough requests and useless content for the day. Let's support this race, let's get out there and see California, let's promote this fun, healthy thing called bike riding that so many of us love.

'til Tomorrow, and bring on the e-mails!