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Mt Hood Classic
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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 6, Santa Barbara - Santa Clarita 109 miles/176 kms

Man down

It's official, I am a 'man down'. This is a great, old-aged Australian saying that has made its way around the world (actually, I don't think it is Australian, but I'm going to claim it). A day in the rain, a mountain stage, 7-and-a-half hours in the rain, a hard TT, and then 150 kms in a breakaway that is caught with three kilometres to go. Hence the expression 'man down.' Another good one would be 'I'm spent.' However! Tomorrow is another day, and I will be out trying again, if I can just wake up one more morning feeling healthy. One more day, that's all I ask!

On the podium with the red jersey of the most aggressive dude of the day
Photo ©: Rory Sutherland
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So, this morning when I went to sign in, I got into a little chat with a member of the crowd just near the podium. I was asked the question, "How do you have time and energy to write a diary every night?" This, my friends, is a very good question! I think the response I have been getting is the reason. I love getting all these emails from people who seem to care. It's great, it's motivating, and when you hear people yelling your name, like today up one of the big climbs, I can't help but smile. Shoot me, I love the fans. I have, however, had a few not-so-nice emails. So, I'm going to summarize this for them (and anyone else for that matter who seems to be displeased with my race report, or general manner during the stage).

- I appreciate the fact the fans stand out in the rain, waiting for autographs before the stage. It's one of the things that makes our sport great. I am very happy to sign anything at anytime. However, if you do not make it known to me that this is what you want.... then I am sorry. Sometimes my psychic powers don't work very well.
- I apologize to the people who stood out in the rain on the way from Seaside down the coast. Nestled in the middle of the bunch, fearing I could be blown into the sea at any moment, I neglected to see the sign you painted on the road, nor did I hear your yells. Apparently, it is a tad hard to concentrate on anything other than staying safe. Next time I will forgo this safety fact and keep my eyes trained on the side of the road.

You know what? I had fun today! Sure, I'm pretty much dead to the world right now, and I am terrified to see what my mental/physical condition will be like in the morning, but today was great. The people were great, the atmosphere was great, and finally being in a break and feeling like I was actually 'in' the race was awesome!

Tim, Tj, Timbo has left me.... it's official. For my own health, he has vacated my room, and stripped me of his presence. This hurts deeply. We have a pretty damn good relationship, and I will miss laughing at him, and telling him to "man up," even though I am sure he is going to keel over from a coughing fit at any time. Tj, I will miss you..... But health first, with only three healthy, and one sick guy in the race.

Rory Sutherland in the post-race press onference
Photo ©: Rory Sutherland
(Click for larger image)

My only bit of pro trivia today is on the condition of our hotel room. Seriously, I'm sorry for the cleaning ladies! I had not been in the room more than five minutes and the place was a mess. Dirty kit on the floor, bag open and clean clothes everywhere, toiletries strewn across the bed, computer and chargers in some socket, and food everywhere! Those poor cleaners.

Tomorrow night I will be back in Santa Barbara! That makes me happy. I have a house there for the next two months, and that's awesome. If anyone seriously wants to hook up and have a chat at some stage, let me know. We might even try and get some sort of post California training ride going. I would love to meet some of the people who have been emailing me and reading my diary. Doing it post stage race is better than trying to fit in anything at the race itself. Email me.... maybe I have opened up a can of worms here.... but hey, I think it's important that people who support the sport, support me, know that pros are in fact accessible. Some maybe a little less, but I think there is a time for everything.

So, a day to go. Sorry for the lack of today's content. I am beat! Not beaten, just beat!

I am still waiting for my marriage proposals.....