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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

Stage 4, Seaside - San Luis Obispo 135miles/217kms

The box

Top day, really top day..... I mean, come on, who cannot like 7 hours and 20 minutes of racing in torrential rain, gale force winds, and near freezing temps, and the longest stage of the tour ... awesome. So, I know I say I don't whinge or whine, but this time I have decided that I am totally allowed to. That was crazy! Answer to the question that I'm sure is asked... Does everyone feel the same? Does everyone whine? Answer: YES. World champions, ex-world champions, national champions, everyone. That was without a doubt the worst day (weather wise) that I have ever had. I think the rest of the peloton will agree. ANYWAY....

Another insight that I can give you is "how do you get through such a long day?" Answer is that you just do. I know that sounds strange, but it's the truth. Let's be honest. There are people with cancer, there are people with so many other ailments, there are sick kids!! So, how do you deal with it? Again, you just do. I am able to ride my bike, I am able to ride in the biggest race in the USA, and I am paid to do something I enjoy. End of story.

Only the tough guys ride in weather like this.
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

So, why this attitude above? Well, to make a long story short, as part of our team sponsorship with Health Net, we're 'required' to do some media appearances, and also hospital visits. So, a few of the boys and I visited the children's cancer ward in Madera, CA before the tour. These kids are seriously amazing, some sick kids, some knocking on death's door. It's a great way to help you appreciate what you have! For the record, this is one of four hospitals in the USA that is actually free. For those of you who know the US health insurance issue, that's kind of a big deal. So, get on board with Health Net, support the Amgen ride against cancer, and try to appreciate what you have.

Onto my emails. Holy crap, there are a lot of bored people out there! But, I'm loving it; seriously, it's awesome. And as I said, I am promising to write back to everyone just as soon as I finish the tour. Your support means a lot. We are up to 169 emails. Giddy up, I say! And for Jay, I dare you to scream at me up the hill in Pasadena! Bring that on!!!

Another sponsor which comes straight from the top. Health Net is throwing in a Fleece Jacket. This is a pretty big deal, as even though they are the title sponsor of our team, the offer came through the very same email that everyone has been writing to me from. So, that means someone at Health Net is reading! Again, I am a happy boy.

The best effort so far is the offers from people to buy me beer.... Seriously people, do I come across as an alcoholic? Hmmmm, don't answer that one. I will say that a pint of my favourite beer will be very welcoming after this tour! Cannot wait. So.... due to all these lovely offers, if there's anyone out there with a car dealership looking to " hook me up" and get yourself a great advertising deal, let me know ;-) Hahaha, I'm joking, or am I?

Sleep o'clock, once I've finished stuffing my wet shoes with newspaper, washed the grit and dirt out of my eyes again, and re-packed my bag. Long day.