The penultimate day: Gosford - northwards
After their fantastic effort yesterday, some cyclists awoke this morning feeling excited about their trip into Hobart today, however others looked positively relieved that today was the last day of cycling. Our devotions this morning spoke about the nature of poverty and our responses to it. I was proud to be a part of a team that were so visibly doing something to relieve the condition of the poor and oppressed, the orphans and the widows.
The teams got off to a terrific start, knocking over the first fifty kilometers of the trip without too many problems. A flat tyre saw Team 20 catch Team 27 for the third consecutive year and the team leaders, drivers and navigators did a fantastic job of keeping the cyclists safe through busy traffic into Hobart.
Today the cyclists enjoyed a lovely incline out of town, knowing that the remainder of the day was fairly flat. As we were unable to enter the school at Wilmot until 3:15pm, the cyclists took it easy, enjoyed each others' company, the teams engaged in a bit of friendly rivalry.
This morning's devotional message centred around the combination of faith and works, and it was encouraging for me to reflect upon the combination that is so evident in the participants on this journey - they are doing something remarkable out of faith for those less fortunate then themselves.
So, here we are, five days out from The Tassie Challenge. I spend the majority of my time at the moment fluctuating between excitement, sheer terror, panic and rationality. The latter, sadly, doesn’t get much of a look-in.
There’s not much that I enjoy more than being out on my bike. After the ride in 2009 from Brisbane to Canberra, I would not have said that. I was ready to sell the bike, thankful for the life-changing, muscle-crunching, friendship-building adventure, but fairly sure I’d done the job. I was ready to commit to supporting Eagles Wings in a less outrageous way.
Today we drove from Hobart to Launceston via the Nile, Perth, Lewisham and Cleveland, which left Graham and I wondering where on earth we were! We stopped at a lovely coffee shop in Campbelltown. Apparently it's not en route for cyclists but Graham seems to think that it's not too far out of the way for the support crew.....
At 10am we met Pastor Jeff McKinnon and the folks at City Baptist Church, who are kindly putting during the ride's Launceston stopover. Great people, great place, and we've roped Nigel in for a day's cycling between Launceston and Wilmot. Plenty of extreme sleeping options for Big A.
When Challenge for Change started planning The Tassie Challenge ten months ago, we were running fairly blindly. I spent hours talking to strangers from churches I'd found on Google, or to people that others had referred me to. This morning, Graham and I started a planning trip to find out exactly what we had planned, and what 27 cyclists and 18 support crew members have signed up for.
The trip started well. Looking out the plane window, we could only see a few hills, none of which had roads on them. Too easy? After (mostly) successfully navigating Hobart's one-way streets, we checked out our Hobart accommodation (see Facebook for photos), gave out some brochures to strangers and visited our proposed finishing point. The trip has already proven to be worthwhile, as we discovered that the aforementioned finishing point was at the top of a whopping great hill. Eager to keep the cyclists on side, we checked out alternative options. Cascade brewery, anyone?