We started the final day somewhere between Inglewood and Warwick. Kelvin did the daybreak shift and got us into Warwick - a novel experience coming across traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts for the first time in a week! We had the rider change-over at the Roadhouse on the eastern side of Warwick - El was up for the range... that's the Great Diving Range... on a fixie!! She was great, climbing like a pro, then loving the descent.
Navigation was a bit interesting on the final day. Most of the way across the country, we haven't had too many options. Now, coming back into built-up areas, there are multiple options, all with their pros and cons - shorter distance, less hills, less traffic, wider shoulder, etc. It's a challenge (that we accepted) to make the 'right' call. In the end, it was Andy who stuck the following into Google Maps:
From: current location
We started on this course, but it was not without it's drama - the 'fastest/shortest' route that it gave involved gravel roads (that we can't take the hire cars on) and bikepaths along creeks and under freeways (where we would struggle to keep the rider in-sight for directions). We were flying by the seat of our pants for a bit... but eventually got Reid and Andy (riding together) back into familiar Brisbane territory. On a side note, it's so much warmer here in Brisbane, it's nice to be home.
The riders decided to do the final 20km as a group - great to see. I'm not sure that Kelvin has ridden in a group before, but he picked it up very quickly. He's a super fast learner and takes the title of 'Most Improved Player' for the event.
Our entry into the grounds of Faith Lutheran College was celebrated by many, it was a special time reuniting with family and friends. Thank-you to the team who pulled this all together, you are wonderful.
On Sunday morning, the team and their families met for Breaky at Harvest, Victoria Point (thanks Mel!) before the final task of unloading and sorting all the gear. Phone cables, cycling kit, camping gear, sleeping bags, socks and undies... everywhere! I laughed at some of the things we unpacked:
6 x camping chairs... I think we used 1. It was generally too cold or windy to sit and wait outside the vehicles
1 x board game... down-time, what down-time
Box of fire-starters... camp fires would've been nice, but we didn't get a chance to sit around them
1 x Nespresso Machine... used once, we just got used to the roadhouse brew
I think my three most used lines on this trip were:
"Okay, change of plan..."
"Do you need a water refill?"
"Would you like a potato?"
It's been an amazing week, very challenging (physically, mentally, emotionally) for all involved, but this is the stuff we thrive on. You've got to be a bit un-hinged to do these types of events, so it's lots of fun to do them with like minded people.
I hope you've felt a part of our #fixinpoverty journey through these daily blogs. But, they've really only been my take on the week. If you want the bigger picture, please come along this Saturday night to the Celebration Dinner, and hear from the riders first-hand. Tickets can be purchased from our website, and RSVPs close this Tuesday (4/10/16).
Until next time (?)
I'll leave the deeper reflections to Reid...
I was asked by Nat to compare the ride around Australia with this current event. That is very hard to do. What I can say is I have enjoyed the company of the other cyclists and support crew in ways that I never had the opportunity to do while riding my bike by myself around Australia.
Before the ride I did not know Eloise, but I quickly found out she is one tough chick with a potty mouth when pushed. I like that. It makes me laugh. She wears socks saying "Do epic $@#%". Probably sums her up. Kelvin quickly adapted to the crews humour and has remained a constant inspiration. I am glad we are stopping soon however, as his riding has improved to the point whereby he would start to embarrass us. I know Andy very well. Many years of seeing each other in extremely difficult situations will do that. The banter never stops and never gets old. Andy listen to my advice just once!
Two takeaways from this trip for me:
1) I have a new appreciation for what the support team does on these events. They never really stop and always have our protection at the forefront of decisions. Legends!
2) I find these trips harder and harder to do because I miss my family a lot. My eldest Sierra (5 years old) did not want me to go on this trip. She pleaded with me as I was boarding the plane to Perth to stay. It was hard to leave. When she heard there was storm heading our way she wanted to know if I had any metal on me... As I considered possible future cycling events (while on my bike) that take a lot of my physical and mental energy I found it hard to find any peace or passion with any of the possibilities that are out there with brutal events. I want to do "epic stuff" per Eloise's socks to be an example to my kids that life is full of possibilities to use our gifts to help others. But I am becoming increasingly aware that spending my time, being with my family is precious.
When I am on my bike for long periods by myself it does give me opportunity to think, reflect and set the course for how I want to live my life. What is important to me.