Now that Reid has had a few days to recover, we got some time with him to ask him some of the questions that have been asked by the cycling community on Strava and Twitter during the course of the Aussie Challenge.
You have built up quite a following on Strava and Twitter among the cycling community. What has it meant to you to read the comments of strangers as you completed the Aussie Challenge?
I learnt very early on in the ride that I was not going to make it in my own strength but in the strength of the community that connected into this journey. So it meant a lot to me to hear the comments from people around the world (not just cyclists) who were encouraged or inspired by my ride. In turn I was greatly encouraged and inspired to continue on. They were also a great source of laughs as people left some very funny comments and conversations, the best of which I think was an American guy on Strava who thought I was a truck driver (driving at 25km/hour around Australia!?) or had my Garmin set up in my car. The comments that followed from there were hilarious!
What were some of the cycling related challenges you faced in terms of injuries, fatigue muscle cramps, sleep deprivation etc and how did you deal with them?
The first week is brutal. It’s hard to convey the pain in which the body goes through as it adjusts to riding close to 400 km per day. With a weakened and fatigued body comes an extremely fatigued mind as you sway between keeping positive or completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of kilometres you have to cover that day, and over the following week or month! You are always battling saddle sores, small repetitive injuries that can either improve or turn into major issues. Headwinds, heat, road conditions and traffic all add to your stress levels, fatigue and number of hours you have to spend on the bike in order to achieve the kilometres you need to that day. We were hoping to average only 16 hours per day on the bike, but that blew out to around 18 hours per day and only 4.5 hours sleep on average due to server consecutive headwinds for all of Western Australia, and most of South Australia. Therefore recovery and sleep deprivation became major issues for us.
How is your body healing now after being home a few days?
I was on pain relief for the majority of the trip, so my body in its true state was not good. I have a couple of minor injuries that I am resting before getting back on the bike to help get the muscles moving again. On the whole though, very happy, no major injuries and for some reason I can’t wait to get back on the bike?
What did you eat/drink on the trip? What was an average day in terms of meals and drinks?
You will burn around 12-15,000 calories per day riding 400km, so food intake is vital in order to continue. I was eating on average: 2 bowls of porridge, 5 or 6 muesli bars, 5 or 6 snickers bars 7 main meals (pasta or rice meals) 10 – 20 litres of water/poweraid (depending on temperature), yogurt, fruit and a protein shake and magnesium drink at the end of the day.
What motivated you to keep going?
Two biggest areas was the purpose of the ride – vulnerable children – and the people who connected into the journey. I found it impossible to quit because how could I live with myself if I did quit knowing that kids that we are riding for within the region of Southern Africa suffer on a daily basis and have no option to “quit”. It was therefore impossible, which becomes a problem because you then allow yourself to suffer at a level you would never normally allow yourself to go to. It literally sent me mad. The other aspect was people simply ringing me or leaving encouraging message on our social media sites. I could not believe the impact this was having on my ability to continue.
What does the money you have raised go to in Zambia and why are you so passionate about the cause?
I think everybody should to some degree be passionate about children who live in extreme poverty or who are suffering because of neglect, abuse or other forms of dehumanising actions. No matter where they live, colour of skin or religion they follow. Our world should be protecting the vulnerable as a priority – period. Personally I have spent many years working within four small communities on the outskirts of Ndola, Zambia and I have seen the impact of extreme poverty and also the impact of positive development, such as education and the simple act of building good and meaningful relationships with kids that have been through the worst kind of abuse. One of the major areas funds will be used from this ride will be the construction of a science classroom/s for our community school which will enable it to become a fully registered secondary school which serves the most vulnerable within the community. Funds will also go towards the education of children within this school. As an example, $150 educates one child for one year at our school. To date we have raised $80,000 so we can do so much good with funds raised. It is unbelievable to think of the impact it will have.
How can the Cycling Community best help?
Our aim is to raise $100,000 for this ride in order to completely meet our funding goals. So if people could just give what they can to meet this goal it will mean so much to our team. Giving is so easy, simply follow this link to the donation page.
What's next for Reid and Challenge for Change?
For me, rest and family time, I am banned from any big personal challenges for at least 2 years. For Challenge for Change, we have a few major events in which people can get involved in. I would love to see many people find out more or sign up to one of our events this year!