Monday, 28 October 2013

3 Epic Weeks, 3 Epic Rides = 3 Epic Impacts......

I have been a little quiet the last few weeks and to be honest I haven’t know whether I am Arthur or Martha.  It has involved a road trip to Sydney with my wife and 4 kids (longest road trip in my life, as those that are friends with my wife on Facebook will attest to),  a flight to and from Perth which included the red eye flight home and then an open house this weekend at our place housing 5 members of my Vision Crusaders team who made it down from Queensland.

So this also included 600+ kms of cycling, 3 nights of very little sleep in small 2 man tents, many cold beers and a truckload of laughs.  All sounds like a load of fun, but we also had a number of solemn moments in there as well.  With this in mind, it is not possible to go into detail about each ride, simply because far too much happened each weekend, but I will endeavour to share as much of the amazing three weeks as I can with you in this blog.

Bec & I in Sydney Day 1 start

The first weekend started with the Road Trip to Sydney.  I was fortunate enough to have my wife and children come to see us off and cheer us home, but even better, they made their way out to the campsite to visit us on the Saturday night.  The Sydney ride was one that was a tough ride for us with Klaus our team captain being diagnosed with leukemia on the Tuesday beforehand.  We made sure we had his ambassador jersey and we each took it in turns riding with it over the 2 days so he was with us.  This has been carried on in both the Perth and Melbourne.  We started the ride from Olympic Park, which for me was amazing.  Being a huge sporting nut, being there in a palce that hold such a sporting significance in Australia was awesome.  The ride out was brilliant as we were placed at the front and allowed to be the first group of riders to go.  Everyone knew who we were as the CEO told them about what we were doing.  They would have known by the end of the weekend anyway with our outfits.  What other group of grown men wear Black Milk leggings whilst cycling?  Yeah we stood out.  As you all know, I am not one to hide in the corner from a bit of notoriety.  I am becoming quite fond of my leggings actually.

Prior to the Start in Sydney
Enjoying Pit Stop #1 in Sydney

The weather was warm on the Saturday hitting 32 degrees, but it was nothing compared to the Sunday.  We had 35 degrees on the Sunday and a northerly wind blowing 20-30kms/ph.  To top it off, it was a bitch of a head wind for 30kms.  Not happy Jan!!!!!  We finished the ride as a group, had my wife and kids there roasting their backsides off, but it was awesome to see Callum standing there with a Vision Crusaders jersey on smiling at me when we got there.  I love that my kids are excited to see what we are doing (whilst the youngest don’t quite understand, the older 2 do) and learning that health and fitness is important.  Thanks to Julie for encouraging this over the last 12-15 months.

The drive home Monday was interesting and tiring, but that was the least of my worries.  I had to attend 3 days of a 5 day conference for work, which meant long days and little chance to rest properly.  Add to that I had to pull my bike apart, pack it and get the rest of my gear all pack for Friday’s flight to Perth.  Perth is a city I have only been to twice before for very short visits, but I really want to check it out more, it is just so far and expensive to get there.  But now I was going to see more of it than I had before on a bike as well.  Friday allowed us to all catch up at bike drop off and even allowed for 4 of the team to get onto the Project briefly as they crossed from Melbourne to Perth for the city Round up.  Woo Hoo us Vision Crusaders are everywhere!

On the Project.
Friday night the 12 of us doing the ride, 11 of which had made it across from the East Coast, caught up with Matt from Kauri Sports.  This guy sponsored us and provided all of our cool gear.  Check out his website if looking for custom made sporting gear (he also does the Vic Crew shirts/hoodies for 12WBT) here.  It was a great pre ride meal with the usual VC laughs and frivolity.  Early to bed for an early rise and ride.  

Prior to the Start in Perth

Day 1 in Perth was probably my least favourite so far.  I had been informed ony days bfore that one of my reasons for riding (Annette) had been admitted to a hospice and not expected to be with us for much longer.  I rode this weekend with a photo of her and myself in my back pocket.  I even shed a little tear at the start line as the ceremonies went on.  Add to this, not only was it cold (worse than Melbourne), we had to ride for approx. 90kms into a bloody headwind.  Not the best when you are a bigger frame guy.  To add to this, the scenery was mind numbingly boring.  We were out in the country side for most of it just looking at paddocks on long straight sections of road.  Add to that, only 40 minutes after we arrived at camp it started to rain and did so until 4am in the morning.  Day 2 had us take a very different route thankfully but it was still cold and threatening rain.  We did however get to see some of the beauty of the WA coast line prior to Fremantle and took in the sights of Penguin Island, Fremantle and the Swan River.  This part at least left me with a fantastic memory and impression of Perth.  

Last Pit Stop - Day 1 in Perth

Back to the hotel, pull the bike apart, get packed and changed and off to the airport for the red-eye flight home.  Thank god my teammate Chris had access to the QANTAS Business Club Lounge so we could have a few quiet ales/scotch and soda and a feed.  Jumped on the plane and died. Only waking as we touched down in Melbourne.

Julie & I at the Start of Day 1

So we move forward to this weekend.  With so many of the team coming in from interstate and accommodation  costs being one that we all want to minimise, Julie and I opened our place up to the crew for them to crash.  Over the course of Thursday –Sunday we had 5 members staying with us at different stages.  We also had a team dinner on the Friday night, which is our usual thing pre-ride now.  This ride was a little different for me as it combined my home team (which I had recruited riders from our weekend training group)as well as my VC team.  Add to that it was Julie’s first ride with the VC and this is special for us as we are doing this ride for her dad and to say thanks to Peter Mac.  We took off on the Saturday morning down beach road and it was beautiful, although a bit chilly.  We continued down to Frankston and then headed out into the countryside.  It was cold and windy.  Not what the soft Queenslanders in our team wanted to see.  That was the least of their worries though.  We got to camp in Hastings and found it to be basically a swamp.  It was a beautiful spot, but the rain during the week and made large parts of the area just a bog heap.  Oh well, could be worse.

The crew at the End of the Melbourne Ride

During the night, enjoying a few drinks with the team I received a text message telling me my friend was not expected to make it through the night.  She wanted to thank myself and the team for what we were doing.  Must admit, that whilst I was trying to read the message out to the team I broke down in tears.  It just hit me and to see members of my team sitting there, some whom have battled this shitty disease themselves, others lost family members or have some currently going through, all bonded by this horrible cause.  They understood, they got it.  To think we never knew each other prior to august, now we share this bond and ARE making a difference to people is an amazing thing.

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Yesterday saw the weather start out crappy but once we hit the burbs the sun came out perfectly for us to ride up Beach Rd and show of our beautiful city to the Queenslanders.  We made sure we stuck together and enjoyed this day as it has been a  tough 3 weeks.   We even stopped for a photo opportunity to get a team shot (see below) in Bon Beach at a local residents nature strip with this couch being thrown out.  See it isn’t all about riding bikes. 

Just Chillin watching the Box

We rode into Albert Park, crossed the finish line, had the usual hugs and cheers and then people packed up bikes, headed for home or the airport all to do it again in 3 weeks.  This time we head to Auckland.  I can’t believe that I am going to do a bike ride in a differen country.  If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would do any event in a different country I would have laughed at you.  Funny how times change.

4 Rides Down - 2 To Go

I also want to make a big shout out to 2 very special ladies.  The amazing Sarah McGee and the equally amazing Catherine Hawkins.  These ladies gave up their time to come down to the finish line to cheer us in, which meant the world to Julie and myself.  It was awesome to have Sarah give up time out of her birthday weekend with her sister (she flew from Queensland for this) and Catherine, whom I had not met yet, come to see us.  Amazing ladies and thank you very much from the bootm of our hearts.

I will finish off with a final note to say that thankfully  Annette is still with us, she is heavily sedated and I am sure it won’t be long now.  She will pass leaving her 8 year old triplets and a husband behind at the age of 39 which in anyone’s language is far too young.  If this is not reason enough to try and find a cure for this god damn shitty disease I don’t know what is. 

I am back on the bike in 3 weeks and then 2 after that, but I am still raising money for next year in Brisbane already.  If you are interested in helping myself or Julie please let me know.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow, loved this - feel proud to ride with you, bring on Auckland!!!