Well I did it and had an absolute amazing time.
My Tour De Cure Goal has been achieved. I drove with my parents to Mansfield Primary School; it was about two and half hours from my house. Last year when I joined the Tour De Cure team, Dad drove up with me and it was great to spend time with him.
|Heading off that morning a beautiful Rainbow Appeared.|
This year Mum joined us, and this was wonderful to have her come along for the drive. Last year, I was fit but I wouldn’t say my health was 100%, so dad travelled with the Tour as support for me. This year this he wasn’t needed as my health was 110% better than last year and my fitness was at its peak.
|My Parents and I.|
|Mum and I. Tour De Cure Kit.|
|Another photo of my parents and I.|
Mum was curious to see what the Tour De Cure organization and how it was coordinated and how professional it was.
Once I received my cycling kit, I got changed and then had my beautiful mum fussing over me. Mum is amazing and loves to pander her sons and daughter and not to mention spoil the grandchildren. In front of grown men and women of the Tour De Cure, mum was putting sunscreen on my face, neck and ears. She was just being a mother.
|Kitted up and hopefully looking fit.|
Then she would head off to the catering van and come back with a plate of lunch for me. All of this reminded me of when I was in hospital and she was concerned for me fussing and cleaning my room, taking washing home.
From not too far away, dad was watching and I am sure in his own little way was enjoying what was happening. I loved the short time I had with my parents before I left from Mansfield with the peloton.
I was feeling very excited about joining the group. As I mentioned my fitness was at its peak. I’d been averaging around 230km a week and lots of climbing, which by the way paid off on the ride.
My first day was from Mansfield to Eildon, around 95km of riding and 1850m of climbing. I rolled out of the gates of the school like a ‘rock star’. Students at school visits we attend, form a guard of honor high fiving each rider as we pass.
We rolled out of Mansfield, in an easy pace through the town centre. I was comfortable and looking forward to chatting with the people on the ride. This part of the tour is a fantastic. You meet amazing people on the tour who are passionate about cycling, but many of the riders have a story that is linked to cancer, themselves, friends or family.
The scenery along the way is remarkable lots of beautiful mountain rangers, tall trees and wild life in the many paddocks we went passed……..not to mention the unfortunate smell of road kill.
As we reached the first climb of the day (7km), I was feeling ready to smash the climb. The idea with these rides is to ride at peloton pace, unless the lead and rear cars say ride ‘you can ride at your own pace’. …….. Well these were the words that came through, ‘we could ride at our own pace’…….My eyes lit up and I hit the pedals climbing strong and fresh. I was with the two guys who also looked strong. Pushing up the 7km climb that had an average gradient of 18%. Was testing my strength and fitness. Again I was feeling the privilege of being so fit again…remembering last year it was a more flat course. I felt so fit this year and really proud of the fact I was here riding. I am pretty sure I was the only person in this Tour riding who still had cancer.
|After the climb to the top of Eildon.|
|Peter and I. Very inspirational person.|
You can see the images below of the ride profile to day 1. The decent down the mountain was fun but at the same time it was dangerous. You are travelling at speeds of 65km+ an hour, which on a bike is fast and can be hazardous given the terrain of the road.
|Route and profile of day 1.|
We arrived in Eildon and I was feeling great and proud of what I had achieved. Chatting with many of the other riders it appears the Mansfield to Eildon ride was tough. Day 1 done for me.
|Dennis and I leaving Eildon for day 2 of my time.|
Day 2 was to take us From Eildon to Port Melbourne…..160km and around 1900m of climbing. We rolled out to a rather wet morning heading toward Healesville, for another presention to a school called St. Brigids Primary School.
|Route Day 2 and profile.|
The roads were very wet and the climb up Black Spur was amazing and picturesque. Once again I felt great and didn’t feel any effects of the day before ride.
I was given the honour of rolling with the front six riders. Meaning the six of us had to control the pace of the peloton and keep our turns rolling. It felt good to be in this situation. For me it meant the other riders saw me as a strong cyclist, capable of keeping the peloton together.
The climb up Black Spur was steady and not at a huge pace. The decent was very much a slow and cautious decent. The roads were slippery and dangerous. We had one puncture on the decent. But this rider kept the bike up right and safe.
We gained pace out of Healesville, and took some challenging climbs through the back of Mt. Evelyn and Coldstream. This is where the pace dropped and we began to lose time. The Group needed to be on the Spirit of Tasmania by 5:30pm and we were in Croydon at 2:30pm with about 50km+ to go and a school visit as well.
Peter Braine, one of the riders was very keen to make the school as it was his children’s school and we picked the pace up and had crossed Springvale rd. with about 35km to go, the school was finished for the day. The lead car had kept the school informed with our timing and the students had decided to wait for us to arrive. We arrived at 3:50pm and presented a quick, but concise Tour presentation. The rain was coming down as we left the school and we needed to pick the pace up to make time to Port Melbourne.
|Alysha and her daughter at the Surry Hills school visit.|
We made the time and arrived at Port Melbourne for the group to board the Spirit at 5:20pm.
I was wishing I was heading over to finish the Tour with them.
My lovely, supportive wife was waiting for me to take me home.
My emotions were mixed…….over the moon at what I had achieved. Very excited to see Lisa…….and at the same time proud of what she has allowed me to do to get here. Without her support and love I am not sure I would be here today.
|An older photo. But Lisa never changes always beautiful.|
I am now more determined than ever to raise money for cancer and join the Tour De Cure next year for the full duration of 10 days and 1600km of riding. Which will require more funds to be raised and more time on the bike training.
|Done and achieved.|
I feel this year I was very fit and motivated to achieve this goal......... once I had ticked it off I wanted more.
So, goals to be set for next 12 months, train hard, race more, keep healthy, love my family more than ever, raise money, awareness and research into cancer……and complete the full 10 days of the tour.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me with funds or training or general motivation.
Obviously special thanks to my lovely family…..mum and dad for believing in me, my siblings for supporting and also knowing how determined I was. You all have stood by me.
My training partner Matthew Collins who rode with me to get my K’s up and chatted with me about life; you have been a strong support and good mate.
|One of our regular rides and this bloke has been a great support.|
Carey Grammar, for allowing me to take time away from work to ride.
Lastly, my three gorgeous girls and amazing wife, for putting up with the many hours I trained on the bike and being the positives in my life that keep me fighting.
All of these words and moments have been locked in my memory bank and will be there for me to reflect on as time goes by.
|Love these three so very much.|
'Believe' readers that anything is possible.
Remember to hug your loved one's. Love to all. x x