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.
Team Twenty captain Andy told me that there was some nervous tension for the first 15km as our new riders were experiencing their very first day on their very first ride. And why not? They have been preparing for months for this day. Putting in the hard yards with their training rides. Listening to the advice of their team captain as well as other veteran riders. Waiting in anticipation for this day to come. After 15km they all settled into a routine and enjoyed the ride. The roads were a lot rougher than they were used to in Brisbane; however, the scenery was spectacular. An abundance of wild flowers growing on the side of the road. Struggling up a hill only to be greeted by a stunning vista that stretches on into the distance. A road that sweeps around a bend and suddenly, there is the ocean with bays and coves full of golden sand. What a beautiful day to be out on your bike.
I was talking to Dave who has joined the ride for the first time. He says that after 80km he started to feel the pain. He told me he worked through the pain by taking one crank of the peddles at a time. Why did he keep on going? What he told me was that he was able to choose to work through that pain and also knowing that it was only another 40kms to go and he could get off of his bike. The vulnerable children in Zambia do not have this choice. They are suffering every day.
125km later our teams arrived in the coastal town of Swansea. The first to arrive was Team Twenty Seven. They were followed not long after by Team Twenty. Both teams very happy to put the first days ride under their belt. Every rider had a smile on his or her face as they pulled in.
Our accommodation tonight is at the Swansea Primary School. We received a lot of encouraging messages on Facebook and these were read to the whole group. Please keep the words of encouragement coming. If you do not subscribe to Facebook, you can now leave a comment on this Blog. Tomorrow we head to St Helens. 119km and our riders are keen to go.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.