Impromptu Challenge. Life’s short

 TdC Fundraising Page

Less than 2 weeks ago I had the chance to get out on the bike and do a little ride to help support Tour de Cure TcD

// Why

Because CANCER SUCKS and I felt like I needed to get off my ass to do more. I lost my mum to cancer when I was 12 and more recently I have seen many family and friends go through their battles with some winning and some losing their fight. In some small way raising funds, awareness and providing a bit of inspiration is something I can do and considering I don’t do research and I am not a doctor, its the best I feel I can do to help to with cancer.

Long story short this was an ‘Impromptu Challenge’ .. I thought bubble for a few years but nothing really planned until the Fri before. I love the idea of experimenting and testing ideas. So with that in mind I thought how quickly can we take a simple idea of riding from Sydney to Melbourne and use it to raise awareness and funds for a great cause. Simple right????

Here’s a quick look at the trip
Let’s explain further

About a week before this I was taking to Peter Brain from Pitcher Partners about some of my thinking about how I might support TdC during the rest of 2017. Plenty of ideas but something discussed was how to use a few activities to build up to a peak. This Sydney ride then become the start of that build up.

// WHO & HOW

Enter Andrew Pike from Rapha Australia and I have to say this guy is someone I really enjoy connecting with as each time we have a discussion something good comes out of it. I love people who make things happen or who help make things happen.

Next up was Geoff Combes from TdC who quickly swung into gear to help support the trip. Obvious Geoff loved the idea of the ride but equally he was keen to make sure we were safe and thankfully he found a super support drivers Ian and Linc. Again I love people who make things happen and under no preparation time he and the TdC team surged to the lead to help us get through this adventurous draft plan.

Geoff Combes leading the bunch on Signature Tour Ride 2017

Huge thanks and special mentions to Ian Salmon, Link Kelly, Cora Zillich, Anastasia Sidiropoulos, Sally Heginbotham & Matt Clark.

Its said a picture tells a thousand words and even a movement tells a thousand more. TdC is a movements but also I have add the images and video’s from the trip.

Check out the route, SYD-MELB. #strava

To donate to the cause and this Impromptu Challenge:

// The Challenge (Impromptu)

The journey started once flights we booked by Pikey and once on the ground things become very real. The thing was given our short lead time it meant both of us hadn’t probably given it to much thought and this was a good and bad thing.

Screenshot 2017-05-22 16.59.12

We had a slight tail wind leaving the Rapha Club house in Sydney but this would soon change and for much of the daylight hours we pushed into a head wind.

Having not ridder the route before we had little idea of what was in store but early on it was just a beautiful stretch of road and coast line while the sun was out.

Each stop was a chance to reset and fuel up. Still smiling hear and honestly we had no idea what lay ahead. From here on in things got pretty ugly.

A post shared by Drew Ginn (@drewginn) on May 9, 2017 at 12:17am PDT

Having been up since 4am to get the flight from Melbourne made this first day very long and as the sunset I was already starting to feel the effects of it and the mind games were about to begin.

A post shared by Andy Pike (@pikey100) on May 9, 2017 at 2:50am PDT

Given the lack of preparation we figured we would just ride from stop to stop which would be food food and water really. Obviously service stations aren’t great food but they are pretty much all you have on long rides. So choc milks and anything from sausage rolls, to pies, cakes, other drinks and anything just to keep the calories in the body and hold off flat spots.

Into the darkness and the sleep monsters were beginning to chase us down. Having done a number of overnighters now I knew what I was in for but I can’t explain how back it got for me near Bega and the night was dark and bloody cold.

On any long ride everyone has ups and downs and prior to this moment of arriving in Eden which was after a horrible night which I struggled through and to have Pikey and Ian really did make it a team effort. During the long, slow, cold and delirious hours of the morning I had so many moments of wanting to stop and just make excuses for not going on. I haven’t been able to explain this but this is when you find yourself and the drive to continue runs from the front or your mind to the back of your mind bouncing inside little a scared or playful little dog. The slow franticness is bizarre and all I can say is thoughts of a meaning or reasons why get twisted up will the fight, the will, the struggle and the resignations. Its ongoing and permanent and never seems to let up but one thing I knew was those hours of suffering, tiredness were and are nothing compared to what family and friends have gone through with cancer.

Did I say CANCER SUCKS and having lost my mum to it and seeing other family member have their fights with it and now friends I can’t imagine fully but on occasions like this ride I sense a glimpse into the struggle and yet mine was a suede struggle because its a choice I was making to ride and push though. For this journey was about awareness, inspiration, reality checks and trying in a small way to make a difference.

Obviously this had some family and friends worried but safety was important and having Ian Salmon driving a support car and getting us through that first night was critical. That’s before we realised this ride was actually going to end up taking two nights and two days of riding to complete.

To this point things had been a whole lot slower due to the head winds the day before and the amount of elevation gain. The road just kept going up then down, then up and down. Never was it overly flat from just south of Wollongong, NSW to Eden. Even after this the rolling country side just kept serving it up until Traralgon, Victoria which was 170km out of Melbourne.

A post shared by Andy Pike (@pikey100) on May 9, 2017 at 5:27pm PDT

How good is sunlight? It was amazing to be back and feeling the warmth and to be zipping along the road again with Pikey was a real joy. Still day two greeted us with headwinds but this was ok given we were warm again and the sense of covering distance had returned.

Between Ian Salmon and Linc Kelly who join us to help Ian with support and as a Bairnsdale local he was able to arrange a meal at the local pub for us late at night.

Still smiling and having a laugh. Bairnsdale stop for a meal, a chat and a snooze which we over did considering last thing I remember was saying we’ll just have a 30min power nap. Having a riding buddy was great. Pikey was ridding really well and in particular on that second day he was strong and tapping out an awesome tempo. One thing you don’t see hear but we mentioned was the local ridder Daniel who appear on the road with about 45km to go to Bairnsdale. He asked what the protocol was and Pikey said, mate sit on the front if you want and give us a tow. Daniel then proceeded to put us into quiet a spot of bother. How blood cool though to be whipping along at night on the country roads behind our own personal moto. Daniel was riding like 10 men and it really put some life back into us plus a fair amount of residual fatigue which would haunt us later on.

Admittedly this was awesome and so needed. Parma and a beer before a little snooze which was so helpful but so hard to restart from. Great to be around wonderful people supporting us and yet the scary thing was once back awake we would have a night of riding ahead and through flat, dead and fog consuming roads from Bairnsdale to Trafalgar.

The wheels had really come off as they say. The temperatures in the low lying farm land of Gippsland had us freezing as low single digits bit hard. The fog made us wet and so the chill from even going at 25kmh was bone aching. My hands and wrists were shot and some many little parts of my body hurt and the stop in Traralgon was a strange feeling of being almost through the second night but still a long way to go given the halting speeds which would only be over come by daylight and warmth.

Being put to sleep in the car for some 50min in Trafalgar was important. The main road even at 5am was busy and the fog really made for a strained visual and combines with the accumulating fatigue it didn’t take much to accept to offer or a power nap.

The last stage from Trafalgar was solo as Pikey opted to end his ride there. The start after a snooze was jarring but once the fog lifted and warmth returned I was actually feeling pretty good again.

This moment was great I final reach Beach Rd again and its was smooth and welcoming. Great to see familiar faces and so know I was only 30min from the end was uplifting.

Here are the two strava files. They are in two parts due to a fail with my Garmin.

From Bega to Eden is missing. Probably a good thing as my lights pretty much went out. Not literally but it was a very dark period as I crawled up each hill and many of them just seemed to go on and on. So thats the missing 50km and 1000m between the two files. Plus interesting on the Garmin before I needed to pull over I had been averaging about 270watts so it was by no means an easy cruise down to Bega.

In the wrap up and reflections I have to say having a strong enough reason made a difference in completing this ride. Having a partner to ride with was amazing. Add to this having support people like Ian and Linc kept us safe and guided us when needed. Personally I am keen on my riding adventures and challenges so its all learning and all of it the highs and lows are what make an experience like this so rewarding.

You can’t know night with out day, or day with out night. You can’t know happiness with out sadness, joy with out suffering, pleasure with out pain. These are the many conditions of life. And like any journey it has a beginning and end. We can’t know all these things until we experience them and that is why life is so precious and such a wonderful gift. We experience all these things and the contrasting moments provide the richness and reward that is at the heart of this gift. We learn about ourselves and about each other. We learn that life matters but what matters most is how we live and not just that we are alive.

Drew Ginn

To donate to the cause and this Impromptu Challenge:

Post ride press release for TdC

One thought on “Impromptu Challenge. Life’s short

  1. Great post Drew.

    I shouldn’t be surprised but once again you have achieved an amazing thing. Huge kudos for the ride and the raising of funds & awareness for such an important cause.


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