Sunsupers Ride to Conquer Cancer Perth 2013

So here I was, sitting in my lounge room, Thursday night before the ride packing my bag and organising my gear. I was certain I had not done enough training to prepare myself for over 200kms over a weekend. However thanks to many of my family, friends and some people I have never met, or have spoken to in a few years I had managed to raise more than the required amount on $2500. Some donations made to me were small, some were quite large, and I was so overwhelmed from the generosity of all these people and that, in turn, made me feel ‘committed’ to do the ride.

Not only was it the sponsorship money that fuelled the desire for me to complete this ‘epic ride’ with an ‘epic meaning’ it was also the thought of my late mother who passed away almost 2 years ago. If she could suffer 6 years living with cancer, the horrible treatments and numerous surgeries and still present to our family with a smile and to rarely hear her complain, then surely, I could muster up the strength to ride over 200kms in a weekend. It was something I had to chosen to do, and in her memory I was going to do it!

So anyway, the bike was dropped off Friday afternoon to our starting point at mccallum park, and I had gone home to indulge in some fish and chips and beers (carb loading I told myself). getting to bed early was a must for me so after I had rechecked I had my remaining gear in order for the early 5.30 wakeup time I headed off to bed.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP the alarm was now going off, 5.30am Saturday, oh how my body wanted to stay in bed. But I was up and I felt a great pride in putting on my Sun super ride to conquer cancer jersey and jump in the car with Phil and his fiancé Tara. We arrived at the start point and fetched our bikes, then some breakfast before heading to the heavy populated start line with over 1300 other cyclists. the opening ceremony was very emotional to some riders as we heard the stories from some survivors and then it was time to begin, I had never ridden 100kms in one sitting before, and on one previous ride cramped up at 70kms, so this was it for me, off we went (very slowly at the start due to heavy bicycle traffic) once the traffic thinned out and my team of Gutter Hogs (Alex Smith and Phil Hackett) began to find our usual rhythm cruising along above 30km/hr and it felt good to be riding amongst such a vast diversity of riders from mountain bikes, to road bikes and even some tandem bikes out. the weather was rather poor on Saturday, we dealt with rain and wind, which wouldn’t stop us, nor the supporters standing roadside to cheer us on. We had arrived at the first stop but the amount of riders who had stopped there was enormous so we quickly made the decision to  carry on to the next stop where we found fruit snacks and rehydration before heading off in the rain again. the next stop we made was lunch (at 9.30) I wolfed down a fair bit of food as I was starving though my team mates ate little and off we set again. After that stop, we only stopped once more (I think) before making it to Pinjarra in gruelling headwinds and spitting rain. The headwinds made it very tough for us but we coped through drafting off each other and sharing the lead if only for 1 minute at a time due to the exertion required to retain a reasonable pace. Anyway, we made it to Pinjarra after travelling 103kms with 3hrs 55mins of moving time, to an oval setup with what seemed thousands of little blue tents, our home for the night. we set up our tents and organised a few things before heading off to a shower (lovely hot shower). After our shower we sat around for a bit and enjoyed some dirt cheap beers, a really early dinner and a nice presentation on the ride, how much was raised (5.2mil) and where it was heading in the future, followed by some great entertainment from the cover band ‘the blue hornet’ and their performance was extra special for me when they played the song my mother requested at her funeral- Horses by Darryl Braithwaite. Seems as though I am writing a novel here, I apologize for rambling but I have so much to say about the event! off to bed we went around 9pm where I got a great sleep until my alarm awoke me at 5.30am…..

It is now Sunday morning, we had packed up our tents and had a sensational buffet breakfast and some people had already left on the journey home, so we retrieved our bikes and set off as well. I was quite surprised my legs weren’t aching as we moved off and found a group moving at a swift pace towards the coast. The ride was rather uneventful for the first 30kms, with our team cruising in excess of 30km/hr and everytime I saw a rider on the side repairing a puncture I realized how lucky we were to not have had a breakdown yet. So we stopped at the first stop (30km in) for a quick feed and wee stop and then upon taking the saddles again I had a flat rear tyre! There I was changing my tyre as all the riders we had passed in the morning passed us again and off we set to catch them, the ride followed the coast for some beautiful scenery and a whole lot more supporters than the day before and the weather was so beautiful, the lunch stop came up just before the 60km mark and again we were eating lunch at 9.30. then we headed off again up Fremantle and Rockingham way *over every possible hill* and there was a point in the ride where I began to fatigue, somewhere between 60 and 70kms whilst we were forever ascending and descending the hills. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be able to keep the pace up? or should I back off a touch so that I could finish?  and what was I going to do if I couldn’t finish? when all of a sudden, like somebody flicked a light switch, I was feeling good again. So off we went, a few issues with Alex’s chain coming off but pushing home we went. I was looking for the last stop at around 90kms, I was leading the pack and wasn’t paying enough attention to the signs and we missed the last stop, meaning we did the last 60km non stop. As we approached the finish, within the last 10kms, we started to pass a lot of riders and teams, we were full of adrenaline and pushing hard to the finish offering words of encouragement to those we passed, including a chap on a mountain bike. But anyway as we rounded the last corner to head over the finish line, we finished side by side, as a team. To have the Huge crowd of people there to welcome us in was an unbelievable feeling I was so proud of my teammates and I for our accomplishment. We had done it!

I enjoyed being part of the event, it was so well run and orgainised I give a huge thankyou out to all the crew and traffic management who gave up their weekend to make the event a flawless one. I am happy to announce, I have registered for 2014 Ride to conquer  cancer and this year we are going big with fundraising. I thank you for taking the time to read this epic blog if you have made it to the bottom, I have enjoyed writing it for you and cannot wait for the next ride. Thankyou very much, here is my link to this years ride if you are interested in donating: https://secure2.convio.net/cfrau/site/SPageServer?pagename=Center%20&pc2_page=center&fr_id=1142

Ride Report: Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer Perth 2013

1374983_10151943668756007_879604860_nWe did it! The weekend just passed I rode over 200km in two days with Gutter Hogs for the Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer. As you might have read earlier, we have been fundraising, training and spending lots of money on gear for this event over the last 6 months.

As the day approached, I had started to worry a little about if I was ready. Had I trained hard enough? Should I have got the bike serviced? Will we do it in a reasonable time? Did I have enough spares? Though when the time came, it all fit together seamlessly.

I took the day off work before the event, I wanted to be ready to go and get a good night sleep before the day. As usual, it took me forever to get sorted out. I packed my overnight bag, charged the GoPro’s, emptied the SD Cards, got out the sleeping bag and mattress and then laid out all my gear ready to go. Then I gave the bike a good go over, cleaned and lubed the chain, adjusted the derailleurs, checked the tyres for any splits, cleaned it and put on the name/number tags for the event. One more check of the lists and I was ready to go.

Tags attached

Tags attached

Spares!

Spares!

Spares packed

Spares packed

After all of that was done, I headed down to McCallum Park to drop of the bike and gear to be ready for the morning. Once this was all done, I felt ready and was looking forward to what the next day would bring. The weather forecast didn’t look to promising, although it didn’t really worry me. It was my Mums Birthday on the Friday, so we headed out for a dinner, and then I raced back early to get a good night’s sleep.

The start

The start

Saturday Morning. 5:15am. Alarm goes, its dark. I get out of bed, get on the cycling gear and my lovley fiancée drives my team mate Aaron and I to the start. We arrived at McCallum Park at 5:50am to a crowd of people, bikes everywhere. Sorted out our bikes and got ready for the first day.
We met up with our other team mate Alex just before the start and with hundreds of people lining up to get going. The atmosphere was great, music was blearing, the smell of breakfast (bacon and egg rolls) and the organization was amazing.

At 6:45am the opening ceremony begun, and over the PA it was announced there was 1,336 riders in that had raised $5.2 million for the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research. There was some heartfelt speeches to remember those lost to cancer and honour those continuing the fight. Yellow Flags attached to bikes showed those brave individuals who had battled cancer and won.

Flat roads

Flat roads

The countdown begun and it was time to ride. We made the mistake of moving to the road late and being at the back, we average 30kph and for the first few km we were stuck behind large packs of riders doing 15kph. Although it’s not a race, we still wanted to set a reasonable pace and a decent time. Everyone was being careful and for the amount of riders on the road, I did not see one rider go down which was great.

Work mate put out a sign for me.

Work mate put out a sign for me.

Once we had moved through some of the slower riders we picked up the pace and the ride was great. We skipped the first pit stop and pushed on to the second pit stop. The pits stops had crew and supporters cheering and clapping. It was a great feeling coming in. The pit stops had heaps of snacks and hydration including fruit, muesli bars, water, electrolytes and good old bum cream. The rain started coming down and we decided to get moving again after about 5 mins. We had packed our wet gear in the overnight bags thinking that the rain would pass on the Saturday. It didn’t.

The hills died off and the roads became flat and smooth, the route was great. It was clear a lot of thought had gone into traffic management, surface and signage for direction. Even the cars on the road did the right thing by us for the whole ride.

Saturday lunch stop

Saturday lunch stop

We hit the lunch stop at about 9am and had a salad roll, juice box, potato salad and some cookies. Some say 9am for lunch? But really we had been up since 5ish. Refill of the drink bottles and we were on the road again.

Headwinds!!!! And lots of them, for the last 40ish km we rode straight into the wind. At some points it felt like we could have walked quicker. We started getting serious and drafting to give each of us a rest and we pushed hard into Pinjarra.

We had arrived. The camp grounds were setup on the football oval in Pinjarra. There were massive marquees and over 600 tiny little blue tents setup. These tents… wow it would have taken some man power to get them all setup. A massive thank you to all the crew and supporters who made the whole event come to life. At this point I really saw the time, sponsorship and help that so many volunteers had given to such a great cause. Our ride was only half of it.

Tents!

Tents!

Day one was complete. 102.8km in 3:55mins of riding. Hit save on the Garmin 510 and uploaded it. HERE is the ride on Strava for those who are interested. We took some team pictures and set off to organize our tents, getting the crappy jobs done to make way for some cold beers. Arriving at 11:30am we had some time to kill before the evening of entertainment and socialising. I decided to hit the showers, grab a coffee and then go for massage. Then the team got together in the food marquee for a chat over some cheap cold beers before dinner.

Dinner

Dinner

Beers

Beers

The Blue Hornets

The Blue Hornets

Dinner time came and there was a buffet of food put on. It was warm and very tasty. The speeches began and some shared how cancer had touched their lives and what WAIMR was doing to fight the battle. Then the band came on, with the tears in people’s eyes drying it was time to celebrate what we were doing to conquer cancer.

I was in bed by 8:30pm with eye patch and ear buds in. I was out quickly, but woke up a lot during the night with the snoring of 4 to 5 people around me. It was painful. I put my jumper over my face and tried my hardest to sleep! It didn’t happen, I dosed in and out and ended up getting up at 5am frustrated at the lack of sleep I had. I also woke up to my right legs glut locked up and in a lot of pain.

After a warm breakfast (bacon, eggs and toast) I shook of my sleepiness and was ready to do it all over again. Packed up the tent, put our gear in the trucks and got on the bike. Back to back 100km. Time to do this. I was worried about my glut, although after a few km in it freed up and I pushed on.

Again we pushed off later, and went hard at the start. We were sitting on about 37kph for about 10km and jumped onto the back of a pack. From here we sat around the 33kph for a while and enjoyed the time in the saddle sharing the time at the front.

The weather really turned it on and it was warm and sunny. I was wearing my arm warmers in the morning because it was cold, but decided to leave them on because the sun was beating down. I was glad I did because Aaron’s arms at the end of the second day were red raw.

Aaron's flat

Aaron’s flat

We had a good run on the second day, only stopping for lunch, Aaron’s flat and Alex’s chain coming off. Lunch was the same as the previous day and was great for a bit of an energy boost, time for a stretch and a water refill. The view while riding along Rockingham and freo was great. We teamed up another small team to draft for a little and give everyone a rest. After going past Fremantle the hills, traffic lights and cars picked up again. It was great to see so many people out there just giving it a go. There was a range of bikes from carbon racers, old mountain bikes, tandems and hybrids. The last 10km was on the PSP back along the freeway with city views.

Turning left off Canning Highway we rode as a team side by side down to the finish line with the crowd cheering. It was a great feeling as we passed under the huge screen above us and the lines of people all cheering on!

Day two was complete. 113.2km in 3:52 mins of riding. Strava activity HERE.
A really big special THANK YOU goes out to all of my supporters who helped to raise the $2,722 to fund cancer research. Gutter Hogs as a team (3 of us) raised a total of $8,180.45!

We had a great time! It was such a well organised event and I really enjoyed every minute of it. I recommend that you too give it a shot.

Stay tuned for a short video! It will be up soon.

RCPR_Logo12_cmyk_horiz_print

Our team has now registered again for 2014! So if you think you can do it, which you can, please get in contact with us HERE and ride with Gutter Hogs. We aim to have a team of 10 next year and raise $30,000 for medical research.

200+km this weekend! We are READY….ish

With TWO more sleeps until our big 200+km Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraising ride… we have been back on the saddle and been getting serious. Our week night rides have been covering some serious distance. Most rides doing around 70km, coupled with the commuting, works out to be around 100km a day. Our averages have been getting back up to where they were in April and we are feeling confident. Its hurt, stairs at work have not been fun, but its all worth it.

Donations have been flowing and we would like to thank everybody who has generously donated to this great cause. We have all met our targets and that’s all thanks to you guys!

Bike Fit at the BNA Ride 2 Work breakfast

Bike Fit at the BNA Ride 2 Work breakfast

Wednesday morning I was up at 5am and raced down to the BNA Ride 2 Work Breakfast in the city. I was lucky enough to score a free bike fit after missing out last year, as well as being snapped by the photographer covering the event. After a complete measure up of my body, and then a check of the bike, my original setup was almost perfect except the seat had to come up 6mm. Also, my crank arms are 2.5mm too long. Running 175s when I should be using 172.5s. I will place a order for a new crank set. The Shimano 105 Crankset will be up for sale.

Anyway, back to the ride. I have been impressed with the organisation of the ride. Phone calls to check up how things are going, emails, website to help with donations and a free jersey.

The day all starts at McCallum Park, Taylor Street, Victoria Park. A continental breakfast for all riders is served from 5:30am an with the Opening Ceremonies beginning at 6:45am. Once that’s done, we will be off.

2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Route

2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Route

The route looks fairly flat, except for the 100m climb on the first day through Armadale, but hey, should be fun. There is stations about every 25km for snacks that should keep us going. Camp will be in Pinjara for the night with a dinner, massage and entertainment. Sharing one tiny tent with Aaron wont be fun, but there has to be some negative somewhere right?

Then on the Sunday, up early to hit the road back up along the coast and back to McCallum Park.

Watch this space for the “After Ride Report”.

I will have my Garmin Live Tracker going for the event. Those of you who wish to view it, please let me know and I will add you to the email list.