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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island

Kaitaia to Cape Reinga

Another Challenge for Change draws to a close. Today is the last day. Our plan today is to ride to Cape Reinga, the very northern tip of New Zealand. We did not have to pack our bags before we leave as we are returning to the same accommodation. A later start, a later breakfast and a bit of a sleep in. Well only a little bit. We still have to ride 140kms today. 

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island


Dargaville to Kaitaia

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island

Thames to Dargaville

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island

Rotorua to Thames

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island

Turangi to Rotorua

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island

Wanganui to Turangi
Day two and a rhythm is beginning to emerge. An early start as we have a lot of kilometres to cover today. 173kms and a few big climbs. We started the day hearing about life in Zambia from Ba Lackson. He was telling us about blind beggars in Ndola. They use young children to guide them around and to beg for them. Lackson tells us that it is wrong for these children to be used this way. They should be in school, receiving an education. Providing for their future. Without it they will end up on the street themselves begging with no prospect for employment. These are the children Eagles Wings are taking off of the streets and placing in school. Your contributions do count. Helping these children reach there God given potential.

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NZ Challenge 2014 - North Island
Levin to Wanganui

8:00am bikes have been prepped. Shiny new shirts unwrapped and worn for the first time. Excitement is held in check. 23 riders holding there bikes and waiting for the go. Big Andy is giving the prep talk and starting the video blog. "Welcome to NZ Challenge for 2015"...... Take Two ....... "Welcome to day one of the NZ Challenge for 2015"??? Take Three ...... "Welcome to day one of the NZ Challenge 2014" Big Cheer. Team 27 lead by Andrew set off first followed by Team 20 lead by Big Andy. Team 20 took a wrong turn and added an extra five kilometres before they were back on track.

Day one as always was with out adventure.  The teams are finding there feet, getting to know there fellow riders. A few new riders learning the ropes of riding with Challenge For Change.

Day one, 127kms. A couple of nice hills towards the end of the ride. The Team 27 donkey award for the day goes to Robbie. Wheeling into Wanganui and stopping at a red light, not paying attention to where he was going and had to break suddenly and there he goes, over the handle bars. Nothing hurt, only his pride. As Robbie said he had a choice of running into the back of a couple of riders so instead he took one for the team and took the dive.

They say that accidents are more likely to happen when you are close to the finish. Please remain alert riders. Ride safe so we can bring you all home safely. 

Both teams arrived early this afternoon. Time to reflect on the day and relax. To prepare for the big days ride tomorrow. Rest well tonight. It is up early for you tomorrow with a long ride ahead. Ride well for the children of Eagles Wings

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4am. Brisbane Airport. The first team members arrive for to leave for this years Challenge For Change.  One thousand kilometres from Wellington in New Zealand to the very northern tip of the North Island. 

Three separate flights to carry all the bikes. The first group leaving at 5:00am. One via Melbourne, one via Sydney and one direct to Wellington. All arriving about the same time.

Bad news, Reid's bike has gone missing. We are shuttled to our overnight accommodation in Levin. After many telephone conversations they still cannot locate Reid's bike so Reid's cousin, a NZ local, comes to the rescue with a spare bike he can borrow. 

And so the journey begins. Cyclist and crew get ready. We are off on our big adventure tomorrow. 

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Day Seven
Te Anau to Milford Sound
117km | 1500 climbing meters

The New Zealand Challenge has all but ended. After 1042km and 10723 climbing meters from Christchurch to Milford Sound everyone has arrived safely. I think the memory of the climb up to Homer Tunnel, a dark, wet, 1.2km tunnel that enters through a mass of rock and descends into an open Jurassic Park to Milford Sound will be firmly etched into the minds of everyone. It has been an epic journey for most and I don't think that is an overestimation of the week which has been endured. There were only a couple of little hiccups for the day which had Richie take the donkey award from Darren (asked Richie what happened) and Andrew Hellinga finish in his socks on a bike made for a 5 foot lady. Being 6 foot 6 it was a very humbling and funny way to end such a massive journey.

Everyone can ask their friends and family about the journey they have undertaken so I won't write anymore about the journey itself but the things that were shared during the debrief time with each team. Debriefing is something we value greatly as a way for people to share their heart with everyone before they enter their worlds again. After spending a week together, overcoming many challenges as a team, many have their natural defences down and share openly. It is an amazing experience and privilege to just be a part of it and listen. I went from one group to another just to hear in their own words what this week has meant to them:

Some comments from Team 20
I never want to do this again - Yvonne (second ride and is an inspiration to all)
I've never met a group of young people like them - Di (positive reference to our young crew who brought so much enthusiasm and energy)
This has been the hardest but most rewarding experience of my life - Dan L
I don't know anywhere else where I can get this same type of mateship - Matt
I never expected you could go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in the space of one hour - Marina

Some comments from Team 27
I've learnt to cope with stressful situations and continue on - Darren
Every time you achieve something it's not quite as frightening as it was (reference to climbing hills/life) - Paul C
To be with a group like this is worth millions - Owen
It's something I'm trying to instil in my kids; to never give up - Richard A
Makes me realise there is more to life than work (first holiday in six years! Though it was not quite a holiday we all understood his point) - Nikko (support driver)
It's been a challenge to me this week that I can do it [cycle]. I'm 52, overweight, but I will put it to you all next year I am doing it - Greg P (support driver)

There were a lot of tears and some really positive stories that came out of debrief. It seems like God just works through anything and everything He chooses. We kind of box things in; give objective and purposes to them (organisations). But no matter what the organisations purpose is God is still intimately interested in our lives. So it is great that while we run these events to change the lives of children living in extreme poverty God is changing us in the process.

Thank you to Hedgy, Dan, Andy and Andy who work tirelessly in organising and leadership to pull of these events and do their best to bring everyone home safe.

Maybe if I could just end with what I heard today: Live life, but live with a core value to care for vulnerable children - Andrew Hellinga

Reid

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Day Six
Queenstown to Te Anau
176km | 1073 climbing meters

Complaints, Cafes and Calculators


New Zealand police have been very nice to us. Over the past week team 20 have had three visits from them. I am not sure why Team 20 has ended up with a 3 to 0 score line? Team 27 have their reasons though (naughty). I think two have come from complaints (vehicles held up - it does not take long for drivers to vent their frustration!) and one random check. It is a little puzzling though as we have never had this issue before [complaints]. Being a massive tourist destination where most of the traffic is made up of campervans and buses there must be a few tourists in a hurry to get somewhere? Our teams generally gasp more than a few times a day as drivers take really bad overtaking options.

We move on pretty much oblivious to the world's worries. Stopping of at a Café today (70km from Te Anau) for a coffee stop we were accosted by a manager or owner. After purchasing coffees, milkshakes and fries (energy!) we were approached by a man asking "Do we know where we are?" I personally was a little confused as I didn't know what the name of the town was, so I couldn't answer him? Next came, "This is a café get your own food out of here!" Awkward silence proceeded as we tried to digest what he was saying, until it clicked. It was a different kind of customer service. We then tried to set up Andy Hellinga (leader Team 20) by letting him know there is a really friendly café owner who lets you BYO food, so bring in your eskies and make yourself at home (chilly bins for kiwis)! Bad boys I know, very bad. Andy by-passed the café and kept his team moving. Good move, and sorry to all the café owners who feel for this guy.

At this stage we have one day left! A 120km ride to Milford Sound. Paul Taylor probably has had enough and is more than looking forward to the end point. He is bruised and battered, suffering really bad saddle sores, leg pain and after a little bingle today is ready to throw his bike away. Others are starting to click on that there seems to be more than 6500 climbing meters from Christchurch to Milford Sound. We are currently at 9223 with one day to go - I honestly don't know how I came up with 6500? But it does seem like I am going to receive a new calculator for Christmas. Even people at home are making it known on our Facebook page (thanks Phil)!

So after a really good ride today by both teams we are ready for the final leg. Tomorrow will see Team 20 head out first with Team 27 starting off around 2 hours later so we can all meet up at Milford Sound at around the same time. Words like "hunt them down" have been mentioned by Team 27 in a joking, but really serious way. We will keep it safe and try to enjoy our last day. Everyone will have their visual senses exploding as they try and take in all that this ride tomorrow offers. So staying focused till the end will be reinforced tonight!

What a week it has been. Some want to keep riding, others have had enough. Please send through any comments and encouragement you can for the team to finish well.

Reid

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Day Five
Wanaka to Queenstown
70km | 1050 climbing meters

Today's ride headed out from Wanaka (what an awesome spot that is!) across Crown Range, which is from what I understand the highest sealed road in New Zealand at around 1070 meters. It's not the easiest of climbs, again a category two climb, which for the non-rider basically means it's really, really hard. Both teams are hurting and I think on the edge as they try and manage their injuries - physically and mentally! But we have one last big day to Te Anau (170km away) before our last day down to Milford Sound.

I was with Team 20 today, so I got to experience Crown Range with them. Honestly I don't know how some of them make it up? I know how much I hurt and cannot comprehend how a team of cycling hacks (I mean that respectfully as many have only just picked up a bike for the first time this year) make it? Some attack it until they drop and then start again, others just roll one leg over at a time at walking pace until they finally summit. Either way it really hurts.

In one sense it's not good that people are hurting and in pain, but in reality this is what it is about. If people came on these events and cruised through it would seem pretty pointless. Pointless in the sense that our purpose is to raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children; kids that hurt every day. It would almost be dishonouring to laugh and giggle our way through. It would not make any sense. So when we see participants push their limits, it lines up with our mission to run Challenging Events to Change lives.

So Team 27 has been given the challenge tonight by their team leader to push through and finish well. To make sure at the end of the 170km day they know they have nothing left. Then our last day will be a cruise ... maybe?

Reid

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Day Four
Haast to Wanaka
145km | 1800 climbing meters

Today's ride was really, really good. In the sense that for most of Team 27 it will rate in their best ever or at least top three rides they have ever done. They suffered but that is always a given, but the conditions and environment were out of this world. For those who have traveled Haast to Wanaka you will understand what I am saying.

It has a mountain pass around 45km out of Haast which is a category two climb and then some great downhills, long sweeping roads (and a tailwind always helps!) where we were able to really wind up the pace. It then moves into lake territory where you ride next to a massive lake (Lake Hawea) for around 20km. In a sense we were lucky to get through as Haast Pass still closes at times during heavy rain due to a large landslide some months back that has not been completely cleared and secured. We had no plan B if this was the case as there is simply no way through to Wanaka unless the pass is open.

But don't let the "top three rides ever" fool you; there are a few stories to share out of the day. It was not uneventful. Team leader Andrew Francis has introduced the "donkey award" (or whatever little animal friend we can find in Wanaka that can be attached to a bike!). The donkey award goes to a majority team vote for the dumbest, craziest, laziest rider for the day. Today's nominations went to:

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Day Three
Franz Josef to Haast
145km | 1500 climbing meters

In some ways today's ride was uneventful. Not overly hard, but the accumulated strain is still taking its toll. Over the past three days we have covered 532km at 177km per day, with around 5300 climbing meters. Some of the riders have injuries that have come about through lack of prior training (Paul T, Ben, Dan L and little Hedge) and they are just trying to manage them or cling on to the pack! That?s a lesson right there in prior preparation! Others (Marty) somehow did not train, wear army boots (seriously), and yet finish the day still looking fresh! He chose to take a bet that if he wore his army boots for the 1000km he would bank $550 for the cause! Nuts, but he seems to pull it off well.

The start of the day had the riders trying to get over three smallish peaks out of Franz Josef to Fox Glacier. In Fox we picked up a German cyclist Veit, (pronounced Fight!) who was hoping to make Haast - still 125km away. He was carrying 30kg in his pannier bags (he was 65kg at best), but managed to stick with the team. Though, after pushing so hard to keep up he cramped servery. Sophie sorted his cramps out (which was very amusing) and helped to get him back on his bike. So Veit if you are reading this blog you need to make a donation for our services! A big one.

So we are all traveling well enough. Our support crew are doing an excellent job and a massive thank you to our cooks who have been cooking up some amazingly good dishes over the last few days. We have a long way to go and some pretty awesome towns still to come. To get there won?t be easy but everyone is doing their best whether they are riding or supporting.

Reid

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Day Two
Arthurs Pass to Franz Josef
234km | 1600 climbing meters

As I write this blog team 20 are still on the road and its 6:51pm New Zealand time. They are expected to arrive into Franz Josef around 8:30pm. They left Authors Pass at 6:10am putting a total riding time of 13 hours 39 minutes. That is a massive day on the bike. Team 27 arrived just past 4:30pm. On average team 20 will ride for 25% longer each day which means they will sit on their small [very small] bike seat for 13 hours longer than team 27. The physical and mental drain is huge as saddle sores increase (they really, really hurt!) and mentally knowing that each day team 27 arrive with an extra 1-4 hours of down time must be debilitating at times. In short sometimes it must be really painful being a slower cyclist. But I am sure this only adds to what they learn about life and themselves.

Over the years because of these physical differences team 27 have been at times unfairly named as egotistical, arrogant, uncaring, self-centred you name it, it has been said about this group. But what people dont see is what stood out today.

Today's ride was a 234km journey from Authors Pass to Franz Josef. We started in 3 degrees and it was wet (freezing). If it was simply a training ride you would pull the covers over your head, switch off the alarm and go back to sleep. But we cannot. We have to continue. From start to finish nobody in this team missed a turn over the 234km. To non-cyclists this simply means as you rotate as a team, cyclists will stay at the front and push into the wind for a period of time before they rotate through for the next cyclist. This means that the cyclist behind you is working 20% less, saving energy. As you start to suffer more and more generally on a ride of this length cyclists will begin to miss there turn (even much sorter rides!), meaning you leave the hard work to others while you sit out at the back. At times it is left to 2 or 3 cyclists to do all the work to get the team home.

From about the 160km mark I starting asking the riders how they were feeling more regularly. Up until this point most were saying "doing ok". But really they were all hurting past the 100km mark (faces tell the story!). Something happens though when you reach a certain point of suffering; you begin to become more honest with others. So hence past the 160km mark everyone was saying "I'm hurting!?" But that still left 74km or around 2.5 hours to complete the day and yet they all still did their work at the front, even though they were all hurting bad.

Personally I have never seen this before, and both Andrew Francis (team leader) and I were in disbelief at how everyone was willing to suffer because they knew the rest of their team mates were also suffering. To me this is a massive testament to everyone. They did their job to get everyone home together. Personally I am glad it didn't go past 234km as I was very sore, and even though Andy wouldn't admit it, it was obvious he was in pain as he couldn't speak without slurring his words after the day was done.

Very impressive and maybe there is something we can all take from this about pain, suffering and working together to get everyone through it.

Tomorrow there will be some very tired riders.

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Day One
Christchurch to Arthurs Pass
155km | 2200 climbing meters

Ok, if you hear today's ride was "ok", or "not to bad" whoever you hear that from is a liar. Today was epic.

Leaving Christchurch at 7:00am into a direct headwind was not the best start; for some demoralising. Christchurch is a coastal city and hence lies close to sea level and the ride out is on a false flat, which basically means it looks flat but actually has a slight rise up into the mountains. Combine these factors together and you never have the chance to rest. By the time we actually hit the climb the majority of team 20 were completely spent. They had no cookies left! We later heard while team 27 made the climb the headwind was so strong it blew two riders off there bike. But team 27 are prone to exaggeration.

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Pre-trip 29th November 2013

At 5:30am the Aussie contingent arrived at Brisbane airport for the New Zealand Challenge. For some it would be their first flight oversees (yes New Zealand is a separate country!) for others there would be other things occupying their minds, like why did I not train more than I did?! Either way there was a nervous energy as the team checked in for their flight.

At 3:00pm the team arrived into Christchurch; overcast but with a seemingly good weather forecast for the next two days at least. Bikes were assembled and last minute team meetings outlining again the basics of getting through day one, a 155km ride up to Authors Pass. Andy Hellinga (team leader team 20) asked his team how they were feeling, taking a caring approach, while Andrew Francis (team leader team 27) told his team they have to average 30+ on the flats or he would start to cull. Basically this is the difference between the teams! But all seem to thrive in their respective team environments!

So for now we are in Christchurch, looking at taking one small step towards our end point at Milford Sound one thousand kilometres away. In between these two points there is going to be a whole lot of stuff go on. It's going to be good. People are going to suffer, but we are all going to get to know each other really well, and that is the definition of adventure. And on a small note, it seems like all the blokes who packed their own bags forgot towels. Which for some was a good thing, as our first nights? accommodation has ?shared facilities? which can be a little daunting at times!

As many of you would know, all of this pain is in aid of assisting vulnerable children within four small communities of Ndola, Zambia. To date the team has raised enough to support 80 children into school and over $20,000 thanks to over $15,000 raised by our bro's in NZ!

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Well it's a few days since I’ve completed my 24hr backwards cycling attempt and unofficially the distance that I’ve covered is 337k.

A question asked by many, ”was Guinness World Records there to witness the event?” The answer is “No” we will have to put our documents (witness statements), photos, Video coverage and whatever we can find to prove that we have set the record before it becomes official. This I will presume will take 6-8 weeks.

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Ever since Reid Anderton set the new World Record for Cycling around Australia, my desire has been to continue Challenge for Change’s consistency for being recognised as a group that is fair dinkum about doing challenging events to raise funds and awareness for children that live in poverty in Zambia.

What could I do?? A 46 year old father, who typically at this age is battling the elements when it comes to doing anything physically incredible.

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It has been about a week since our team completed 14,178km around Australia at an average of 382.6km per day. Right now I am feeling every one of those kilometres as my body readjusts to life off the bike and off the pain relief that formed part of my daily routine. You may not believe it but I am finding it more difficult to walk now than when I hoped off the bike at around 5:25am Tuesday morning. But life is good. I was able to take my little girl, Sierra to a “big” park and hobble around after her; no push to get to the next town, no road trains and P platers stressing me out (no Sydney drivers!) and no headwinds to deal with, just peace for making it home to take my daughter to a park.

Before I left, the majority of cycling friends had me down as no chance of making the journey. They had thought they would see me again the following week for a club ride and coffee while the majority of non-cycling friends had me down as a chance. Personally, I really did not know how I would go. This challenge had me scared like no other, I knew the numbers and knew it would push me beyond my limits but I did not understand the depth of pain and despair I would fall into. To tell you the truth, riding close to 400km per day is okay, it is the conditions in which you ride these kilometres that make all the difference. It was the conditions that turned me into wild man on the verge of insanity, screaming out in the middle of Western Australia night after night, begging God to take the headwinds away. I have never been one to swear, I tried it in primary school but it didn’t seem to suit me so I stopped, but swearing became a natural and daily stress relief for me and as told the winds to (expletive) off so often that I started to think this ride was destroying me as a person and changing my character for the worst. I battled 5 consecutive days of massive headwinds from 100km out of Port Headlands all the way to Perth  - over 2000km of a completely dehumanising process that turned me into a madman.

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The Finish Line   

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As this EPIC ride moves into the final ‘few’ kilometers, I thought it might be a good time to start thinking and reflecting on our (your) journey, as the wider Eagles Wings community, over the past month and a bit.

Cast your mind back to the week prior to the ride… It was pretty rainy here in Brisbane and we were busy getting the word out about the Send Off BBQ, seriously hoping that ‘Fake Reid’ would arrive in the post before Flo set off around Australia and Reid sent out his ‘pre-ride’ email. For those of you following the journey back then, you may remember these words: “My challenge is 400km per day for 35 days. Your challenge; be radically different in the way you approach and think about your life and lifestyle in order to be more generous people. Thank you for your involvement, I hope you get a lot out of this and I look forward to seeing and hearing about the difference we make in others and ourselves.”

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Day 35 Batemans Bay to Gosford
 
Pancakes for Breakfast
 
After four hours sleep, Reid was up and moving, preparing for another day. By 7:15am he was on the road.  Because half of the support team had gone ahead the night before into Ulladallah to have dinner and a chat with the local Lions Club, there were only 3 of us there acting as supporters. We were only about 32 kms away from passing the 13,000km mark. We decided that we would celebrate with brekky and coffee, but Macca's was not acceptable so off went to find a cafe. We found one right on the water called "Pancakes." We got our food to go and took it to the 13 000km and celebrated with Reid when he arrived. 
 
From there, we went forward and met up with the rest of the team. Reid stopped for a photo with the local Lions club. As he was setting off, a man across the street (who had noticed all the photo-taking) asked Reid where he was riding to. As it turned out, this man had also ridden his bike around Australia, completing his trip over six months. 
 
Hills by the sea
 
Today's ride continued through the hills with spectacular ocean views. Fake Reid stopped at Gerroa for a photo and a boogie board on the beach. While Fake Reid made his appearance on the beach, he caught the attention of a random beach-goer who asked us what we were doing. Turns out he was a cycling enthusiast who offered to help Reid's by promoting the Aussie Challenge within his cycling networks. 
 
Changing of the guard
 
For a brief one-hour, Reid had a support team of nine. He sure must be high maintenance! Maybe not. As we were heading closer to Sydney, Tash and Dave, two of the Aussie Challenge team members joined the support team whilst Tiffany and Lyndell sadly departed. 
 
The night goes on
 
At the time of writing this, we've safely navigated through Wooloongong and are approaching Sydney, where Reid will ride over the famous Harbour Bridge (wait for the photo!) he is aiming to reach Gosford sometime in the early hours of tomorrow morning. 
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This morning we awoke to the sounds of bellbirds singing in the tall gums of the Snowy Mountains.  We were just past the turn off to Orbost on the A1 heading east.  Reid had decided around 1a.m. after a full day of climbing and descending, that he needed to stop at this location, have his four and a half hours sleep and press on tomorrow.  Late in the day on Thursday, he had struggled with soreness in the top parts of his legs, but he woke with renewed enthusiasm and strength.  Three more days of riding had a nice ring to it!

We passed through the town of Cann River, made a smooth transition into the state of New South Wales around 12.45 - celebrating with bacon and egg sandwiches 'with the lot', before heading to the coast at Eden by mid afternoon.  The hills proved to be relentless, the downhills following exhilarating, but once again, the road neverending.  As we write, Reid has ridden through farming and coastal towns such as Bega and Moruya and aims to finish cycling by approx. 1-1.30am.   This morning Reid conducted an interview for the breakfast program on Brisbane ABC radio 612 and was able to express some of his frustrations and reasons for undertaking such a challenge.  He continues to receive favourable and continued interest from a range of media channels which increases the opportunity for exposure to Eagles Wings.  You can hear his interview at blogs.abc.net.au. 

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Sorry for the delay... technical issues on the road. 

Geelong Angels
When we approached Geelong yesterday, a new road appeared before us - the road Dan had plotted was replaced with a brand spanking new one. Apparently it opened only two weeks ago and we wondered if cyclists were allowed on this section. After a failed reconnaissance mission in the car to find the exits we had planned, Dan returned perplexed. At that exact moment, Heather and Maria from 94.7FM The Pulse Radio Geelong rang his phone. They announced they were down the highway and just passed Reid as he cycled into Geelong. They were only too happy to navigate us through the new road entering Geelong, joined us at KFC where they conducted an interview for their cycling program, and helped us get out the other side. Perfect timing!

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Late last night at 9.30pm we crossed the Victorian border – another milestone done.  This was the final time change the team needed to go though.  At the time it was 6 degrees, with a strong crosswind.  Reid was dressed in arm and leg warmers, two vests, a jumper and a beanie and his booties.  After arriving at the overnight stop at 2.47 am , he quickly ate some Penang Chicken, swigged on his protein shake and magnesium drinks and hopped straight into a warm bed in the van, opting to stay in his cycling gear so as not to lose any valuable sleep time.  We have told him that he is due for a shower tonight as 3 days is the team’s limit! 

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The sun comes up, alarms are going off… it’s time to wake up and begin another day. As I sit up, I realise that we have been camping right next to the sea. What a beautiful sight to start the day. Today we had a 6:30 wake up for a 7am departure. That is for most of us. Tiffany, however, sets her alarm for 2 minutes earlier than the rest of us so that she can get up and make porridge for Reid and the rest of the team. This has become the early morning routine ever since Tiff joined the team. While Reid eats, Dan is out getting the bike ready to go. It is a quick 30 minutes and Reid is off and riding. The rest of the team clean up camp before setting off on our hunt for Reid.

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This morning, Reid awoke at 5.30am to see windmills atop the hills surrounding our overnight stop.  When he looked, he knew by the direction they were facing that it could only mean one thing – headwinds!  His prediction proved correct. He says the road today was like porridge - lots of bumps and vibration. Scenery for the first part of the day included the saltbush surrounding Snowtown, and the cattle country that led us into Adelaide. 

Daniel Badger, a local rider (and nuclear physicist), met us at the turn off to Two Wells.  He was able to navigate the team in through Adelaide, and out the eastern side.  Reid felt honoured to have such a brainy person as part of our team – even if just for a few hours!  The scenery through the Adelaide Hills was inspiring – towns like Stirling.  This settlement had streets lined with liquid ambers, leaves turning from green, through to yellow, bright orange and red.  The air was crisp, the grass green – such a stark contrast and relief to the relentless dust and heat of the Nullarbor.  Reid reported that the peaks and trees were welcome after the mind-numbing scenery on previous days.  A few times they could not see the top of the rise, with the road winding upwards into the Adelaide Hills. 

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Kyancutta towards Merriton, SA

Let’s do the time warp again!
A slight miscalculation overnight. We knew that daylight saving in SA would end at 3am in the morning, but we weren’t sure if our phones would auto update. As a ‘fool proof’ measure, we set an alarm on current time and then put the phone on ‘flight mode’ so it wouldn’t update… hmm, apparently flight mode can update. We had planned 6 hours sleep, but actually got 7 (bonus!) but it also means Reid will need to ride later into the night. Only one more timezone to cross (central to eastern), maybe we’ll have it sussed by then.

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Nundroo to Kyancutta

Just Ride
After the ‘early’ call last night, we have all managed to get a decent 7 hour sleep. We woke at 6am to no wind – for the first time in DAYS. Today, instead of slogging it out through aching muscles and fatigue, he is able to “just ride” and might actually be enjoying it
J In fact, as I’ve caught up with Reid at the various pit stops today, he’s been smiling, positive and having a good banter with the crew. Since his frustrations aren’t aimed at the wind, he can start poking fun at the crew, and himself.

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Border Village (SA) to Nundroo

Time Warp
The time zones are doing my head in! Sometime yesterday afternoon we crossed into ‘Eastern Western Australia’ timezone (I have my doubts if that is even a legitimate time zone, can’t say I’ve ever heard of it) – FYI it’s 30 min ahead of Perth. Then, at the border, we moved into Central Standard Time, with daylight saving. The daylight saving runs out this weekend, so we’ll get an hour back… To complicate things further, some of phones are updating, some of our watches are ‘stuck’, my laptop is on Brisbane time, the car is searching for it’s own zone and Reid’s Garmin device seems to be right. With roughly zero hours sleep, I’m sure you can appreciate out slight delirum.

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Nullarbor (Caiguna) to Nullarbor (South Australia Border)

Yesterday's blog was posted early, before we lost reception. About 30km down the road at 6:30pm (WA time), Reid stopped for dinner and a photo at the "90 mile straight" sign. The headwinds are back, with a vengence. He's feeling worn out and just so frustrated with "thousands of kilometers of headwinds". It seems that no matter which way he points his front wheel, the wind comes directly at him. It is a long hard slog and it is taking a massive toll on Reid’s body and mental state.

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Norseman to Caiguna

Reid's cycle route yesterday did not take him through Esperance, but a young journo from the newspaper was keen for an interview. Unfortunately her boss wouldn't let her drive out to meet Reid, so she asked Dan if Reid could "ride back to Esperance tomorrow" for the interview - oh sure!

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On Road (between Jerramungup and Raventhorpe) heading to Norseman

After the steak dinner at Jerramungup, Reid and Dan shot out for another few hours on the bike, pulling into camp just before 1:30am. It was a quick celebration "Day Done - Thanks Team" from Reid before he downed a magnesium drink, a protein drink and flopped into his tent, calling out "6:30am wake up". This is a fairly typical routine at night. Dan has recently been riding alongside Reid during the late/early hours, to keep him distracted from the pain and headwinds, but also alert during the ride. So I guess that means Dan needs to create both a distraction and maintain focus - aren't they opposites? Whatever he's doing, he's doing a great job! Nothing better than a 3 hour ride at midnight. Reid joked that Dan will no longer be able to manage daytime riding when he gets home!

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Walpole to Jerramungup

The scenery has changed. We've now hit the base of WA and turned left. Gone are the wide flat, brown stretches of the west coast, we are now travelling through national parks and timber country. The roads look smooth (with not much shoulder) and undulating. Coming into camp last night, there were some awesome downhills. At one pit stop Reid tells us "This is awesome, I haven't pedalled for the last 7 km". IF it was during the day, with a group of mates, fresh legs and plenty of sleep, that would've been an amazing ride. Perhaps he'll come back one day...

Today has seen us travel from a rest spot just west of Walpole, on to Denmark to do the laundry, Albany for lunch and now Jerramungup for dinner. As we were waiting in Denmark, Daun was chatting to a local cyclist who had been dropped off by his family to do a one way ride back to Albany. Reid had already left at this point and the support crew were just finishing off morning tea (fresh vanilla slice!) and repacking Flo, when our cycling mate discovered something broken with his shoes - he'd be stranded. As we are carrying a complete bike repair service in our trailer, Daun introduced him to Hedgy, who was able to fix him up and send him on his way. Above and beyond, support crew - nice work!

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**Back in range, this was written on Sunday

(TBC to Bunbury + Bunbury to Walpole)

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Dongara to (TBC)

After pulling in around midnight last night, the team had a (comparativley) lazy Saturday morning sleep-in, with alarms set for 6:30am. The longer night's sleep has done everyone the world of good.

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Billabong Roadhouse to Dongara

First Impressions
Tiffany and I have have just clocked over 24 hours with the team. "Fresh Meat" and "Fresh Blood" are a few of the terms that we've heard. We're super excited to finally join the team here in WA. Our first day (Thursday) was spent driving from Perth to our stop for the night - on road just north of Billabong Roadhouse.

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Minilya Roadhouse to north of Geraldton   

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south of Karratha to Minilya Roadhouse   

 

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South Hedland to south of Karratha   

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Stanley rest area to South Hedland   

 

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The Boab to Stanley rest area   

 

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west of Halls Creek to The Boab   

 

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Kununurra to west of Halls Creek   

 

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Victoria River Roadhouse to Kununurra   

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Darwin to Victoria River Roadhouse   

 

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Katherine to Darwin

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Newcastle Waters to Katherine

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The Stuart Highway

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