After months of training and what feels like only weeks of planning, checklists and long-winded emails... the team all met in Perth today.
We come from different stages of life, different professions and different states. We've had 1 drive from Brisbane, 2 fly from Sydney, 1 finishing holidays in Perth, 6 fly from Brisbane and 1 fly from Zambia... that makes 11. Quick head count 1, 2, 3...11 yep, we're all here.
The team awoke on Friday morning, to the realisation that THIS IS THE DAY (and that was our last decent sleep, on a bed, in a place with walls and a roof). There also looked to be a strong wind blowing the trees out the window - apparently coming from the SW, so that's a good start.
This morning we were re-united with the 2 vehicles and 4 wonderful drivers who brought them across to Perth for us. Keith, Al, Ken and Andy - thank-you for giving your time and experience, to help us get all the gear, vehicles and bikes across the country. We appreciate you!
Today, we've unpacked, sorted and repacked the vehicles. Then there was the big shopping list to source (5kg of bacon anyone?), bikes to assemble and the official 'Team Meeting'. We also collected the 3rd vehicle, drove it 20km, took it back and swapped it for another, that wasn't making a concerning noise everytime we turned left! The Qashqai became an ASX (adapt and overcome).
Tonight, we were at Church of the Good Shepherd in Bellevue, having a send-off BBQ with EW friends from Perth. Thank-you to the team who put together tonight meal and catch up. After dinner, we drove to the official start line for #fixinpoverty in Fremantle. Reid (first rider up) was cheered out by members of the Fremantle Rotary Club. Thanks for braving the cold and wet to come and support us!
It's been wonderful to reconnect with our Zambian rider, Kelvin. Tonight he shared some of his life's story - his transformation from being on the streets at 9 years old to now being a father, teacher and respected member of the community, is a story you'll want to hear from him in person, so I won't tell it all tonight. You'll have the opportunity to hear more of Kelvin's story at the Fixin' Poverty Celebration Dinner when we make it back to Brisbane. See details on our website and purchase your tickets today.
Excitement is building and we're good to go, but as Reid said when the plane (finally) landed on Thursday night "that's a long way back!"
Quotes from the road
As the van went past Reid at about the 30km mark
Reid: This is good. This is fun!
Commentary from the car, during the climb:
Laith: He's just dropped under 20km/h
Andy: What?! I couldn't do that on a geared bike.
L: He's doing good now, good cadence.
A: Woah, he's suffering. It's a hard gear, goin' up hill.
Dan: Yeah, but it is Reid.
A: It's good to see Reid in a bit of pain.
A: Designated climber!
A: It's pretty nuts really, almost midnight, what are we doin'?
A: This is a big guts effort by Reid, this will be the hardest climb.
A: There's no easy way to climb on a fixie.
L: You just gotta smash it, ride hard.
D: Tell you what, he must be pretty fatigued now.
10kms from changeover...
A: Any advice?
R: Just keep pedaling
A: It's pretty cold
R: Yeah, good reason to keep pedaling
After the 1st changeover (Reid to Andy)
A: apart from the cold, the conditions are awesome. Road is good, no wind or if it was there, it must be at your back.
Roadside meal at 2:30am
D: Do you want to know the temperature? It say 2 degrees, but then it says 'feels like' minus 2 degrees.
'Base Camp' is at about the 200km mark (we hope, haven't seen them since Perth). The ride support vehicle has just pulled into York for a quick kip, expecting Andy to pass through about 2:30am. We'll be out 'til about 5am, before we reunite and tag the next 2 - El and Kelvin... you're up.