02 Nov GREAT CYCLE CHALLENGE, OCTOBER 2019
I began October with a pretty big goal: to ride 1000km and raise $1000 as part of the Great Cycle Challenge Australia. Since its inception in 2013 the Great Cycle Challenge has grown into a colossal event, with riders from every state in Australia taking part to raise money for the Children’s Medical Research Institute. The CMRI works to improve the diagnosis, treatment and (hopefully) cure of childhood cancer, so it’s certainly a good reason to get on your bike and pedal (if you happen to need another one).
This was my third year of participation in the Challenge, having previously taken part in 2016 (completing 500km) and 2017 (completing 750km). I’d not signed up in 2018 as I was starting to feel awkward asking friends and colleagues to sponsor me again for simply riding my bike. Everyone who knows me appreciates that I really like to ride my bike, and I pondered whether asking for sponsorship to do this (however noble the cause) was proper. I wavered on this decision in 2018, and ultimately decided not to participate.
In 2019, however, I joined the Great Cycle Challenge with the caveat that it had to be a genuine challenge for me to complete. That’s not to say that my previous efforts hadn’t been, mind you! I set myself the new goal of riding 1000km in 31 days. It was further than I’d ridden before in any month and would be a difficult goal to achieve, necessitating commitment, organisation and significant support at home. The deciding factor in me signing up this year was the cancer diagnosis of one of my Year 7 students, necessitating at least a year off school and the family’s relocation from Stanthorpe to Brisbane for treatment. In a nutshell, cancer sucks – and a cancer diagnosis at 12 years old sucks even more. As for a cancer diagnosis when you live in a small country town, 3 hours from treatment – in short, that REALLY sucks. I may not have been able to help this one student directly, but through fundraising could help the collective cause and that was reason enough.
In 2019, however, I joined the Great Cycle Challenge with the caveat that it had to be a genuine challenge for me to complete
I began with gusto, riding 319.35km in my first week – possibly my biggest ever week on a bike. Being the final week of school holidays helped! Weeks two and three passed equally as successfully, completing 234.58km and 289.64km respectively, and my family, friends, colleagues and students rallied in their support of my efforts. I was touched and vowed to ride further and to ride harder. In Week 4, however, disaster struck when I was hit with a virus. Confined to bed for three days and the sofa for two, I struggled to ride 115.74km. My mood suffered too – bike riding keeps me sane! Finally feeling better by Week 5, I managed to finish the Challenge far more convincingly – riding 159.89km in the final 4 days of the month.
I finished the month proud of my efforts, particularly having been sick. I’d ridden a total of 1,119.21km over 28 rides: 366.94km on my mountain bike, 291.04km on my road bike and 461.23km on Zwift. I couldn’t have managed it, however, without Dylan’s assistance at home and his encouragement and company on so many of my rides – like so many things, this was a definite team effort. Initially tentative about asking for financial support, my doubts quickly subsided and I’m tremendously grateful for the financial support I’ve received during the Challenge: I smashed my $1000 fundraising target, raising a total of $1134.53 for CMRI’s fight against children’s cancer.
If you’re looking for something to do next October, why not join me in riding my bike to kick cancer’s butt? I don’t need many excuses to ride my bike – but this is as good as they get! Find out more about the Great Cycle Challenge and how it works at https://greatcyclechallenge.com.au/Pages/About