AdventureCHALLENGING EVENTS, CHANGING LIVES.

Aussie Challenge Day Seven

Still on The Barkley Highway......

 

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Aussie Challenge Day Six

 

The Barkley Highway

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Aussie Challenge Day Five

 

on the road . . . . 

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Aussie Challenge Day Four

 

Ayr to an on the road camp

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Our gust blogger today is Daun, the newest member of the Aussie Challenge road crew team

Guest Blogger- Daun

When I first decided to join this amazing adventure, I knew that it was going to be just that... an amazing (and crazy) adventure. This is my first Eagles Wings event and I feel so privileged to be part of it. First off, Reid is a legend. I joined the team in Townsville and it didn’t take long for me to grasp the enormity of what he is doing. Sure, there were meetings ahead of time, looking at maps and seeing where he would ride, but it wasn’t until I was here, on the road, travelling those distances that it really hit me just what he is doing. I know that he is tired, he is in pain, but he just keeps going... with a great attitude To Reid, this ride is not about Reid. It’s about children in Africa. When I begin to feel the fatigue of long days I remind myself of Reid, and the fact that I am living the good life compared to him. In the same way I know that this is what keeps Reid motivated and moving- reminding himself that the suffering that children in Africa endure is much more than what he is experiencing.

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Aussie Challenge Day Three

 

Waverley Creek to Ayr

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Aussie Challenge Day Two

Day Two

Gin Gin to Waverley Creek (near St Laurence)

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Aussie Challenge Day One

Day One

Brisbane to Gin Gin

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Counting the kilometres

Our first week on the Aussie Challenge could be classed as cruel if I was not voluntarily putting myself through it. These are the numbers; 406km, 450km, 451km, 471km, 400km, 402km and 491km, a total distance of 3,071km (an average of 438km per day). If I make it through the first week, I’ll end up at a place called Pamayu in the Northern Territory, on the Stuart Highway, heading to Darwin. Have you heard of that place before? I tried to Google it and found nothing! No information. Then I tried Google Maps and could not see a single house, not even a pub! I did however see a huge road train and I went to street view - the place looks desolate. In a little over three weeks’ time, apparently all things going to plan, we will be there. Can’t wait!

I planned the first week with the long kilometres for a couple of reasons. If I know myself well enough, generally speaking, if I just aim for the minimal amount when doing something, I will fall short. If I aim high when setting goals, I give myself a better chance. Currently, the record is set at 377km per day; if I have any chance at all I need to set my sights on something unrealistic. If I achieve “the impossible” in the first week, I should be in a better frame of mind to believe I can achieve the overall goal. It also provides a greater buffer in case things go wrong – which they may. Or, I will fall in a heap.

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Australia is big. I am small.

Australia is big. I am small.

I was lying in bed the other night, unable to sleep. The thought popped into my mind, “Australia is BIG!” It seemed to just hit me just how massive Australia really is and the reality of riding a bike around it suddenly felt crazy, impossible. I began to feel very, very small.

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Risks and reasons

If you see me this month (and you’re not keen on parting with your money) run, hide or don’t answer the phone if I try and ring you. February is the month that we as a team begin our fundraising. To be honest, I really find this area difficult; it does not come natural to me. It was really hard getting the energy and enthusiasm to start fundraising, as training and planning is taking so much of that away from me already. But without raising any funds for vulnerable children, my task is simply a ride around Australia. It becomes pointless and aimless.

On Sunday, we began sharing the journey and purpose at Cleveland Baptist Church and it was a huge encouragement to me personally, as many people signed up for simplicity boxes. There were heaps of riding questions and plenty of comments that went along the lines of; “mad”, “crazy”, and “are you serious?” Then there were other comments about concern for my personal safety. It’s hard to hear those comments, but I really do understand them and greatly appreciate them. I seem to have a slightly higher upper limit of risk that I’m willing to put myself through than most. It is not something I've developed, but something that has always been part of who I am as a person. I accept risks. Having my own family, (my daughter Sierra and another baby due in June) has dramatically reduced what I would do, but the risks I am willing to take are still true to who I am as a person. If I didn't take risks, I don’t think I’d set the kind of example I would like to see my own children follow, which would be disregarding the way that God created me as an individual. It is a balance, and one I take seriously for many reasons. But I really do understand when people look at my life and have genuine concern.

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400km test ride

The day had to come sooner rather than later. On Friday, I completed a 400km “test ride”, to check that I was able to meet couple of major training checkpoints. The ride almost did not happen. I woke at 3:30am to the sound of my alarm (which is never nice), but also to the sound of heavy rain. I thought to myself, “no, not happening!”  I woke again a few hours later, anxious, but resigned to the fact I would not be riding. Instead, I headed to the pool to do some laps and contemplate when I would reschedule to 400km test ride, given that the weather reports were not good for the following few days.
 
Somewhere in between feeling bored with staring at a black line on the bottom of the pool and starting to feel like I was drowning, I decided the ride had to happen today. It was confirmed by a few text messages from team mates wishing me well, who had obviously ignored the fact it was raining.
 
There were two major outcomes that I had to achieve from this test ride in order for the Aussie Challenge to go ahead as planned. If I met them, we could continue with a March 10 departure date. If I failed to meet them, we would have to seriously re-think if the challenge was remotely possible at this time. The two outcomes were; 
1.To average at least 25km/hour total time (total time includes stops)
2.To wake up the following day knowing I could do it again
 
I left at 8:45am which is never ideal, but at least I was on the road, even if it was still raining! The plan was to head to Ballina from Thornlands, via Byron Bay which is a round trip close to 400km. To give you an idea as to what the average cyclist (that’s me) would go through on a 400km ride; the first 150km would probably be your best 150, both in terms of time and head space. Most cyclists could ride at 75% of their maximum heart rate for 150km (5 hours) and then end with almost nothing left to give. 
 
So, if you continue past that, it just gets hard physically and mentally. From 150 to 300km it’s a battle to stay positive and to think that the day will actually end at some point. You are just hanging out for the 300km mark to click over on the Garmin. The last 100km can be easier (even though your body is in pain), the end is in sight and you may also be a little bit delirious (which always helps!)
 
My day was filled with amateur and technical mistakes. The worst of these was that my dodgy front light would not work when most needed; at night. I was left riding the highway between Byron and Tweed Heads with no front light (only my back flashing light) which meant I could only see what was in front of me when vehicles passed. Other than that it was just darkness. Somehow, I made it without issue to the Tweed exit and found the nearest BP that sold a $9.95 Ever Ready torch, which I then taped to my bars. They also sold Paw Paw cream which soothed another issue from the day…
 
That $9.95 special lasted the remaining 100km to home. With 50km to go I started giggling to myself (which is never a good sign, but it does make the time go) whenever drivers would pass me. It was 10pm at night, it was raining and they're passing a guy on a Specialized Shiv time trial bike with an Every Ready torch strapped to his bars. I found it funny at that stage.
 
I made it home by midnight, slightly exhausted, drenched and very sore. But home. I found it really difficult to get to sleep. I’m not sure exactly why, but maybe it had to do with the body being in shock from the 15 hours+ on the bike. I managed to hit the outcomes needed (just), averaging just over 25km/hour total time, and I actually could walk fairly well the next day. The last thing I would have wanted to do is ride another 400km, but if I had to I believe, I could have..... 
 
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400km test ride

The day had to come sooner rather than later. On Friday, I completed a 400km “test ride”, to check that I was able to meet couple of major training checkpoints. The ride almost did not happen. I woke at 3:30am to the sound of my alarm (which is never nice), but also to the sound of heavy rain. I thought to myself, “no, not happening!”  I woke again a few hours later, anxious, but resigned to the fact I would not be riding. Instead, I headed to the pool to do some laps and contemplate when I would reschedule to 400km test ride, given that the weather reports were not good for the following few days.
 
Somewhere in between feeling bored with staring at a black line on the bottom of the pool and starting to feel like I was drowning, I decided the ride had to happen today. It was confirmed by a few text messages from team mates wishing me well, who had obviously ignored the fact it was raining.
 
There were two major outcomes that I had to achieve from this test ride in order for the Aussie Challenge to go ahead as planned. If I met them, we could continue with a March 10 departure date. If I failed to meet them, we would have to seriously re-think if the challenge was remotely possible at this time. The two outcomes were; 
1.To average at least 25km/hour total time (total time includes stops)
2.To wake up the following day knowing I could do it again
 
I left at 8:45am which is never ideal, but at least I was on the road, even if it was still raining! The plan was to head to Ballina from Thornlands, via Byron Bay which is a round trip close to 400km. To give you an idea as to what the average cyclist (that’s me) would go through on a 400km ride; the first 150km would probably be your best 150, both in terms of time and head space. Most cyclists could ride at 75% of their maximum heart rate for 150km (5 hours) and then end with almost nothing left to give. 
 
So, if you continue past that, it just gets hard physically and mentally. From 150 to 300km it’s a battle to stay positive and to think that the day will actually end at some point. You are just hanging out for the 300km mark to click over on the Garmin. The last 100km can be easier (even though your body is in pain), the end is in sight and you may also be a little bit delirious (which always helps!)
My day was filled with amateur and technical mistakes. The worst of these was that my dodgy front light would not work when most needed; at night. I was left riding the highway between Byron and Tweed Heads with no front light (only my back flashing light) which meant I could only see what was in front of me when vehicles passed. Other than that it was just darkness. Somehow, I made it without issue to the Tweed exit and found the nearest BP that sold a $9.95 Ever Ready torch, which I then taped to my bars. They also sold Paw Paw cream which soothed another issue from the day…
 
That $9.95 special lasted the remaining 100km to home. With 50km to go I started giggling to myself (which is never a good sign, but it does make the time go) whenever drivers would pass me. It was 10pm at night, it was raining and here they are passing a guy on a Specialized Shiv time trial bike with an Every Ready torch strapped to his bars. I found it funny at that stage.
 
I made it home by midnight, slightly exhausted, drenched and very sore. But home. I found it really difficult to get to sleep. I’m not sure exactly why, but maybe it had to do with the body being in shock from the 15 hours+ on the bike. I managed to hit the outcomes needed (just), averaging just over 25km/hour total time, and I actually could walk fairly well the next day. The last thing I would have wanted to do is ride another 400km, but if I had to I believe, I could have..... 
 
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Same old, same old

I am off to New Zealand tomorrow (Monday morning) and it could not have come at a better time. I have been training seriously for the Aussie Challenge for over three months now, and the rides are starting to get a little monotonous! It feels like the same old, same old every day. It has been great when I have had either club rides, or been riding with friends for company. But as the holiday period is now over I am losing friends to their 9 to 5 jobs!

I managed only 530km this week, which was 70km less than what I should have done. It was my own fault, I just felt lazy one day and headed home when I should have stayed out longer. So, New Zealand will be great just to change up the scenery and push out some big kilometres each day, all with a good mate of mine (Andy H) who is joining me for the trip to NZ. We fly into Christchurch and then head across Arthur’s Pass, down the west coast and into Queenstown, before jumping into a car to Milford Sound, then back to Christchurch. It’ll be good.

As for my nutritional downfall last week - it is amazing what happens when you fuel the body with what it needs! Within 24 hours of reintroducing a more balanced carb/protein diet, my energy levels were back and muscle soreness disappeared overnight. I’ve written a BIG note to self; carbs are good.

On a slightly different note, word about what we are trying to achieve is spreading through various networks. This has happened mostly through friends who think it’s funny or downright dumb to attempt 400km per day on a bike around Australia. On Saturday (after a club ride with Wynnum Redlands), I was sitting around a table with some very strong riders, including an ex-professional, a female world champ and two or three others, when a mate said, “hey, you know what Reid is doing?” After he’d told them, Mel (the world champ) just looked at me in disbelief, as if she had not heard correctly.
"What are you doing!?” She asked. I could not look at her, as I knew she would have a good understanding of how hard and/or stupid this attempt is, so I just turned my head away and laughed. Seriously though, I could not look at her as my confidence would have been shattered. It is good to either live in ignorance or push away the inevitable some times.

Eventually the enormity of this will hit me, and then it will be a matter of whether I have what it takes or not. Sometimes, it’s much better to talk to people who have no idea about cycling. In that situation, the common response is, “400km?  Is that far?”

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Pain and Gain

This week I ended up completing 560km on the bike, with a very sore body. I felt some confusion as to why I was feeling so sore all week. As the start of my weight loss coincided with feeling weak and experiencing out-of-the- ordinary muscle soreness, I looked into it a little further. It's good to get some of these issues sorted now!

A friend of mine pointed me to a good cycling site (www.cyclingtips.com.au), which has a large range of cycling ‘tips’ that address everything from performance through to nutrition, so I did my best to try and identify what went wrong for me. At the same time, I came away with some information that may prove invaluable for the journey ahead.

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What am I thinking?!

As the New Year has clicked over and people start their resolutions for 2013, mine is pretty plain and simple; survival. I just want to get through this challenge, get home and move onto another chapter, one that does not involve the extreme discipline of training hard and eating healthily. I know I need to “be in the moment” and just take it “one day at a time” (and all the other one liners that really are good), but to be honest what is ahead of me is a little daunting at present.

Dan, a friend and team member for the Aussie Challenge let me know last week during a training ride that he re-looked at the stats for what needs to be cycled (distances) each day and he said he felt sick. I kind of feel the same way at the moment.

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Up Against It

Training is hard. Some days I love it, these are the days when I thank God for my health, sunshine, nil wind and a good coffee at the end. Most days are not like that. My day generally starts at 4:10am for a 4:30am start time. I prepare everything the night before; even my breakfast. Otherwise, I generally frustrate myself by not knowing where anything is when I wake up. 4:10am is early. If you are ever going to talk yourself out of training, it is generally within 5 minutes of waking up. It’s best not to think, just do. Otherwise it is too easy to jump back in bed believing you will make it up the following day. Doesn’t happen.

Originally, I thought I would build up from around 250km per week (6 months out) to around 500/600km per week come departure date. However when serious people get involved, people who know what they are talking about, plans change. Hence, I had to double my weekly average overnight, and the intensity. Gary Land (Pro Fit Bike) advised 600km+ per week, made up of 100-120km per day at 85% heart rate. I don’t know how many people have tried to ride 100km+ at 85%. It’s not easy. I think my best to date is around 83% over 100km. So currently, that’s my training routine, and though I am not hitting the 600km mark, I am at the moment hitting around 500km on average.

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Day Six: Strahan to Ouse

The day that had to happen.
It finally came around, the BIG day that everyone knew was coming. Many were hoping that they had somehow missed it, yet here it is, the ride from Strahan to the little town of Ouse. 213kms of back breaking riding. 213kms of massive hills, a total of 3000mts to be climbed. And did Tassie turn on brilliant summer weather, 213kms in 30 degree heat. Yes the day had arrived and everyone was packed and away early. 

The big climb out of Queenstown provided some spectacular views. A pleasant distraction for our cyclist. This was early in the day and our riders could appreciate the vistas as they rounded each bend. This is Tasmania and whether you ride there is one view after another. From the vistas to the idyllic scenery. Yet as the day wore on the road got longer, the hills became higher, the legs became weary and the views were missed as each cyclist concentrated on the road ahead. Each stroke of the peddle, each grind of the wheel brought them closer to their destination and our home for the night.

Tonight we are sleeping in the hall of Ouse primary school. The parents of the school children have provided dinner which was waiting as each team rode in. A very welcome sight and a very fine spread. Both teams arrived very weary. Team Twenty Seven arrived after nine hours in the saddle. A gutsy effort by some very tired riders and team captain Andrew, an experienced rider was extremely proud of his team. He told them that as armature riders, some that have never experienced this style of riding, they performed extremely well. Even though they day had been tough and a lot of them were hurting, they stayed together as a team.

Team Twenty put in the gutsiest effort ever. They rode for twelve hours and arrived in Ouse just as the sun had gone down. The day had been long and the pain very real. The commitment and the effort these guys and girls put in was beyond amazing. Team captain Andy made the comment these riders are ordinary mums and dads (plus a few younger ones), social riders who have put in one of the biggest days in the history of Eagles Wings rides. AND every single one of them rode the whole way. No hoping in the support vehicle when the legs were ready to give in, they rode through the pain and made it to the end. Team captain Andy did a stellar job of encouraging the team to the end. To his credit, he fostered a team spirit that lead to each team member encouraging and supporting each other. The team rode into Ouse strongly, finding that second wind. Each team member thanked Andy for his leadership and said that this was the best day ever. Amazing, the best day ever was the one that produced the most pain. This is a day they will remember. This is the day that changed then as a cyclist. This is the day that brought them closer to the kids in Zambia. This is the day they conquered Tasmania.

Ouse school have been very hospitable. They invited us to give a presentation about Eagles Wings and we were able to explain to the school children how some children in Africa were not able to go to school and often had no food to eat. The school had a free dress day as a fund raiser and raised enough money to educate on child in Zambia for a whole year. Thank you Ouse Primary school.

If you think our riders are doing it tough for the children in southern Africa, then please donate to Eagles Wings. If you are reading this blog on the Challenge For Change website, please click on the donate Tab and donate on-line. If you are reading the blog on Facebook then please follow the links back to the Challenge For Change site to make your donation. Challenging events for changing lives.
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Day Five; Wilmot to Strahan

A warm-up for the big day ahead.
A big day today. The largest ride so far and the second largest day on the trip. The big one is tomorrow. Today was 167kms and one very big, unrelenting hill.

We left early after staying overnight in the local school. As usual TeamTwenty Seven were the first to leave followed very soon after by Team Twenty. Both teams made it safely into Strahan, intact. No accidents, no slipped chains and only two punctures. Of course Team Twenty Seven where the first home and after a long day in the saddle, Team Twenty were only a couple of hours behind. Both teams looked good as the rode in formation into Strahan and down to our digs for the night. Twenty Seven captain made the comment that a few people in the team where suffering. Jodie corrected him by saying that they are not suffering. They may be in pain but they were not suffering. The children in southern Africa are suffering. Over devotions this morning Reid made a comment about a reoccurring theme of hope. The funds we raise, as well as bringing the plight of these vulnerable children to the people we meet along the ride, brings hope for a better future for these children. A hope that can be passed on down the generations to their own children in years to come.

We are camped overnight in community recreation hall. A rustic hall with one big open space. All in together, bikes, beds, snorers and non-snorers as we go to bed early for the big day ahead. A ride over the mountain range as we head back to Hobart.
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Day Three: St Helens to Launceston

 

Our First Big Day
The Tassie Challenge, Challenge For Change, challenging events changing lives. Our first big in the field saw a challenge and the challenge was met. For our first time riders there was some trepidation at the beginning of the day. Yet, words of encouragement sent them off with a lot of hope and determination. Before we left for the day we looked at perseverance in the face of suffering. Our riders new that they would suffer through today yet waiting for them at the end of the road was a hot shower, a filling dinner and a warm bed. We were asked to imagine our friends in Zambia and to consider their perseverance in the face of suffering.

Both our teams excelled in today's ride. They both came in on time and intact. No hopping in cars for our riders. Every hill was overcome. So what was this big day. 164 km and climbed 2500mts. Team Twenty Seven averaged 24km/h and Team Twenty averaged 19.5km/h.

Challenging events changing lives. We are riding to change the lives of vulnerable children in Southern Africa. I thing the lives of some of our riders have changed today. 

 

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Day Two: Swansea to St Helens

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to St Helens

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Day One Photos

The photos from day one of the Challenge For Change, Tassie Challenge can now be seen on Facebook. Click here. If you see a photo of family or a friend, please leave a comment.

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Day One: Hobart to Swansea

And now the fun begins.

A lot of first time riders have joined Challenge For Change this year. All were champing at the bit to be away and onto the road. Lots of stretching. Adjustments made to bikes. A few laps of the car park to warm up the muscles. And then they were off. Twenty nine riders hit the road and headed north leaving beautiful Hobart behind. Our riders are split between two teams. Our experienced riders are in Team Twenty Seven and will average 27kph. Team Twenty will average 20kph. Team Twenty Seven left first, eager to be on the road and were cheered on by the rest of the Challenge For Change crew. Ten minutes later Team Twenty were away, again with a big cheer.

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Hobart: Pre-ride.



The long ride to Hobart.
Some would think this day would never come. For others it came around too quickly. Hands up, who only packed their bag late last night? Months of planning. Months of training. The launch of Challenge for Change at the Solstice Challenge in June. The Mountain Challenge two weeks ago. Packing bags, checking gear, all have led to this day.

The launch of the Tassie Challenge was at 6:30am at Southbank in Brisbane. A sumptuous breakfast at the Point restaurant was enjoyed by the riders and their families and then at 8:00am on to the bus and off to the airport. Bikes packed carefully into boxes were loaded onto to two separate flights, along with the rest of the crew. So mid afternoon and here we are in Hobart

Two of our "Generals" arrived yesterday to get things ready for our "Road Warriors". Collecting vehicles, preparing our first nights accommodation, shuttle bus to the airport and all the last minute details that always crop up. Well done and thank you. I was lucky to go for a nice drive into the city to pick up one of our hire vehicles. Took in the scenery on the drive in and did not get lost on the way back. Thank you also to the hard working team that have spent months putting in the hard yards to get us to Hobart. We are staying tonight at the Citywide Baptist Church in Mornington. As I type, our cyclists and crew are relaxing in preparation for the start of the big ride that starts tomorrow. 1000kms riding around beautiful Tasmania and back to Hobart next week.
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It's all about the bike.....somewhat....

Okay, straight up, I am not a bike nerd. I really enjoy riding, but I know very little about bikes. I am embarrassed to say this. If you ride for long enough you will hear loads of bike jargon that seemingly everyone knows but you! Sometimes I try to bluff my way through while I think, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”  Second to this, most people that ride with me are really disturbed at my bike’s condition. I don’t clean it. At times it gets confiscated and cleaned for me. This is something I need to work on. But I think it is important that you understand this.

So, when it came to the question of the bike that I’ll be using for this record attempt, I had to hand it over to the experts to assist in making this decision, whilst I only conveyed my big picture concerns of the balance between speed and comfort. Originally, I thought I would be able to take three different bikes for different conditions (hills, flats, off-road/road works), until Guinness World Records team stipulated the use of only one commercially available bike, with no modifications for the whole journey. Hence, this was one of the biggest decisions about the journey for me to make. If the bike is fast, but extremely uncomfortable, I will fail. If it is extremely slow and comfortable, I will fail. Either way, it would do my head in.

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AUSSIE CHALLENGE


CYCLING 400km PER DAY · 35 DAYS · 14,100km · FOR CHILDREN IN POVERTY

WE WERE ONLY SEVEN DAYS BACK FROM OUR 5500KM RIDE THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN AFRICA, BUT APPARENTLY SEVEN DAYS WAS ENOUGH TIME FOR ONE OF OUR CO-RIDERS (TIM) TO EMAIL ME THROUGH THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR RIDING AFRICA TOP TO BOTTOM FOR A 'SOLO UNASSISTED RIDE' (NO SUPPORT TEAMS OR VEHICLES) FROM CAIRO (EGYPT) TO CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA). HE WAS CURIOUS TO SEE HOW OUR RIDE COMPARED.

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The Solstice Challenge: 9 Hours of Riding - one BIG effort!

The siren sounded. It was 7 minutes past 7am and around 70 cyclists began their epic challenge to see our far they could ride in 9 hours – to change the lives of Zambian children.

On the 11th of June Challenge for Change (CFC) kicked off their first official fundraiser for Eagles Wings, “The Solstice Challenge”. The CFC group had decided to hold an event that would challenge all participants, regardless of whether they were semi-professional speedsters or a part time cycling hack. The Holden Driving Centre was an ideal venue with a flat 1.6km circuit that allowed participants and supporters to view the competing cyclists. Cyclists had a choice to ride as individuals, pairs or teams of four.

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Introducing Challenge for Change

Things are about to get exciting as Challenge for Change begins in 2012.

Challenge for Change is an initiative of Eagles Wings Australia and our Mission Statement sums up our purpose and hopes. But as with everything in life there is a starting point, an idea, a thought or a dream, a sudden light bulb moment. Or there is a challenge that is overcome that creates something beautiful, something inspirational. Sometimes something that brings hope starts out as a hopeless situation. So it is with Eagles Wings’ new initiative, Challenge for Change.

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  • $795,000
  • Raised since 2008
  • 9
  • Countries cycled
  • 479
  • Participants
  • 34,700
  • Kilometres cycled