Yesterday (Saturday) saw us having a tasty roadside dinner of Spag Bol in Ravensthorpe. For about 20 mins, all 11 of us were in the one spot. With the constant moving and switching of riders, crew and bikes in and out of the different vehicles, I'm surprised we haven't left anyone on the side of the road (though it's only Day 2)! On that, a few of us have been guilty of leaving a blanket, pillow, hoodie or cycling shoes in the wrong place. I think we'll have ourselves sorted in a week.
By 2am Sunday morning, all 4 riders had done 2 x shifts each. El and Kelvin headed out after dinner, punching through the night to join the newly relocated base camp in Dalyup. The night rides are tough, lonely and quite different to how you would normally ride at home or train for an event. I hope our offers of chocolates, bananas, home baked goodies (thanks Jill!) and boiled eggs on the side of the road, are a welcome sight to the riders.
Last night was my first stint in home-base. After the dinner, El and Kelvin went riding, supported by Laith, Sarah and Hedgy. That left the 'media crew' Sammy and Alex along with Dan, Reid, Andy and I to wash-up, pack-up, load the vehicles and drive 150km up the road to Dalyup. We found a road-side pull in bay and quickly unpacked the camp at about 10pm. We opted for stretcher beds under the gazebos. It was a clear (and cold) sky, offering magnificent views of the starry blanket above.
When the riders hit camp at 2am, we woke up, had a quick 'breaky' (if that's what you call a meal at 2am) of leftover mince jaffles and got Reid moving for the pre-dawn shift this Sunday morning. Andy took the mid morning shift binging us into Norseman. We regrouped at the Norseman roadhouse for showers, food, internet and sleep (in shifts).
I think each stage of the ride has it's positives and negatives, day rides suit most, though some enjoy the nights to clear the head. I was chatting to Reid over lunch, his 2-6am ride this morning was tough. He tweeted:
"Seriously considered giving up #cycling this morning! #fixies + #hills + #headwinds = dumb idea"
I think he's in a better place now, after a shower, coffee and time to sleep, but he looked pretty done-in when he hoped off the bike this morning.
After the luxury of a hot shower (I feel human again), we shot off east from Norseman, to catch up with El who pumped out a snappy 100km. She had a decent tailwind/crosswind, and was going strong. El handed the GPS tracker over to Kelvin, along with some tips about bike control in the pull of the big trucks.
What I find inspiring is that although Reid felt like giving up on cycling this morning, he fronted up some 10 hours later, to take his next turn and commit to the team goal. In a similar theme to yesterday's blog, there's a a strong sense of shared community and sharing the burden to achieve the goal. Unfortunately as people, we are often inherently selfish... What would be best for me? What do I deserve? How can I maximise my comfort...? A true team spirit develops when we put aside our wants and needs to focus on the bigger picture and give generously of ourselves, for the sake of others. I trust that we will witness examples of this not just among the crew and riders over the week, but also in our families, workplaces and wider networks.
If you're new to the Eagles Wings family (as I like to call it), let me expand on the three key words that define our vision - hope, generosity, adventure. In reverse order...
ADVENTURE is a big part of what this week's event is about. Big, challenging events (particularly cycling) have been a part of EW's style of fundraising and engagement for many years.
GENEROSITY refers to a heart attitude, that we want to see grow in Australia. We believe that being generous is a good thing. With our time, our money, our resources, etc.
HOPE is what we aim to grow in the students and wider community in Zambia. The hope of a brighter future through education and further opportunities.
Will you join us in our vision?
HOPE | GENEROSITY | ADVENTURE