We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.