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