Ever since Reid Anderton set the new World Record for Cycling around Australia, my desire has been to continue Challenge for Change’s consistency for being recognised as a group that is fair dinkum about doing challenging events to raise funds and awareness for children that live in poverty in Zambia.
What could I do?? A 46 year old father, who typically at this age is battling the elements when it comes to doing anything physically incredible.
A bit of research one night on the cycling records on the Guinness World Records website and the idea was born ... Riding backwards.
“I can do that”. I could do it for 20 meters when I was 16 to impress anyone who might be watching.
I announced bravely to my fellow CFC members that I wanted to have a crack at the World Record, almost apologizing to Reid as if to say “I hope this does not bring any disrespect to your Aussie Record”.
My fellow CFC members didn’t react too much as conversations around our meetings are usually kept interesting with the constant outlandish, stupid suggestions for events such as kayaking in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, run to the South Pole, a Tele-tubby walk to Sydney, etc. The consensus was, “Andrew do some research and we will consider it”.
After that, things started happening quickly. First, I approached the ‘The Holden driving Centre’ I got permission to train and attempt to break the record there. Next was getting a suitable bicycle. I recognised that a standard racing bike would not be suitable so I borrowed a smaller sized Hybrid from a local mate. I then took the bike out to the track and went out for my maiden ride.
On my first trip to the track I was intercepted by a manager as I pushed my bicycle across to the track. “Ya right mate? Can I help you?” I answered in a nervous voice and even gave the guy permission to laugh. “Arh… I’m here to do some backwards cycling. I’m gunna have an attempt at breaking a world record later in the year”. The guy was a little stunned and amused as I fumbled through names of the people who had given me permission to use the track. That first ride I rode 16km backwards at an average of about 15km/h. I rode off the track numerous times but when I finished I was confident that I could mount an assault on the 180k required in 24hrs.
It’s almost three months down the track since that first ride and I can confidently say I’m a much better backward cyclist. Two weeks ago I completed 100km backwards in two rides on one day. I averaged just less than 24km in an hour. Backwards cycling is harder than forward cycling. It is uncomfortable sitting on the handlebars and my bum does suffer. I still wobble and give my self a scare often but still have only had one moderate mishap; the time I rode off a pier at Cleveland. - OUCH!!!
It’s now 13 days to go until the attempt and I’m excited, nervous and a thousand other emotions.
The day will be a success if a number of things happen. The weather is reasonable, people show support by coming to the track, awareness and funds are raised for some of the most venerable children in the world in Zambia, I have fun and of course I crack the record.
Thank you for your support; hope to see you on the day.
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