What. A. Day.
We awoke to drizzling rain, which did not let up as we made our preparations to ride. It did not make for a very fun start!
Chris was out early working on everyone’s bikes. A huge thank you to him for leading the group, riding 9 days straight, and taking such good care of everyone and their bike. We could not have made it without him! Or made it as easily anyway!
We knew our ride today would be long, but we did not know exactly how long. We met at 20km intervals for rest and food, which meant we stopped every hour, and broke the journey into manageable lumps. The scenery was spectacular, as always, but much different to the days before. The grass was so green it was almost fluro. The oddest thing I saw was a sprinkler system working as the rain poured down.
Mercifully, the rain abated as the day went on. Not so mercifully, a cold headwind picked up.
We finally rode into Oamara after 70 nether-region-destroying kilometres (keep in mind this crew were riding duel suspension mountain bikes, not road bikes!). The super tough crew elected to ride all the way to the ocean, adding a couple of km’s to the journey, rather than taking a short cut straight to the hotel.
Special mention has to go to each and every person that completed this course;
Martin, who led from start to finish, is carrying more weight than the rest of us, and turned out to be an absolute powerhouse on a bike. He also did not do much training, so suffered more than those who had, but still finished over 350km over 9 days. It is pretty a incredible achievement, and I hope he keeps riding!
Chris Jones, likewise, did not do as much training as I wanted him to. The entire trip he potted away at his own pace, refusing to acknowledge when he was tired and/or sore. It is an equally fantastic achievement that he made it to the end, because it would have been harder for those not “match fit”, and therefore a greater accomplishment.
Both of the boys also helped Chris wash and pack up everyone’s bikes this afternoon, still in their sweaty riding gear, and in a really cold wind. Thanks so much for that!
Diana was injured falling off her bike only weeks before the trip, and to the day we left her back and ribs were still acutely painful. Quitting was never on the table, despite her struggles, and even on this final, grueling day, she was smiling, positive, and certain she would finish.
Jen’s fitness shone through on the last couple of days, with her frequent rides out to West Head. She was chirpy, fun loving, and consistent throughout the whole trip. The others felt good riding behind her because she was so mechanical and rhythmical in her pedal stroke, and consequently she pulled many of the team up the hills, even when she was exhausted herself.
Both of the girls’s attitude today was one of positivity and certainty (at least when I saw them!), and the day would have been unbearable if it wasn’t for that!
I am very proud of each and every one of these people, and assisting them was an honor, one I would do any day for such tenacious, strong, and persistent characters!
Our final number was 72.2km today… amazing