The time is fast approaching for me to leave on my third solo endurance ride in 3 years – the previous two being Katoomba (Blue Mountains) to Port Douglas in Far North Queensland a distance of 3,100kms then Perth to Leura (Blue Mountains) a distance of 4,200 kms. Now we are getting ready to leave Darwin on Monday 15 May on a journey of 4,200 kms to Perth. The amount of organising for these rides is enormous – from the mobile home to social media to all the small stops for fuel etc etc etc. Because of the vast distances we need to plan food, water and fuel very carefully as it is not easy to find these essentials on the way. Communication is also vital and we need a satellite phone to ensure we can always communicate effectively wherever we are.
As well as all of the above I have had to do the necessary training for such a journey. I started my serious training in January and since then I have been doing 300k per week, building up to the end of March. I am now doing 500k per week with rides to Jenolan Caves, Lithgow and Windsor. Also I have travelled north and ridden around Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Bonville. In Sydney I have been training in Centennial Park and my old stomping ground Oatley Park where I used to race for St. George Cycling Club many years ago.
The next two week will see me doing 500k per week then I will ease back to 200k per week until we leave Leura on Thursday 11 May for what will be the toughest ride so far. People often ask me how and why I do such rides the immediate answer I give is ‘I can’ and I get amazing satisfaction raising funds for these two dreadful diseases MND and HD. Judith O’Brien (my cousin) passed away 2 years ago from MND and she was so brave and strong right to the end – her beautiful love for her family gave her the strength to carry on. Knowing there is no cure and knowing the pain sufferers go through helps me when I am going through tough times on my ride.
A mate of mine from Leura Golf Club, Mal Grant, contracted MND 2 1/2 years ago and with his wife Eileen moved from Hornsby to Sawtell when he was diagnosed. They had no idea what MND was and like HD it is a death sentence. Mal has lived 6 months longer than expected and he is just so positive – once again like Judith – just so brave. Eileen and Mal have 20 grandchildren between them. Mal was a fine sportsman playing off a 4 handicap in golf and a State tennis player.
These people and all other sufferers of Huntington’s and Motor Neurone Disease are my motivation. When I am riding through mountain ranges and heat and rain suffering my own pain – this pain goes out the door when I think of these people and their families.