Day 9 – Shepparton to Bendigo – Nearly there
Route: Shepparton to Bendigo
Total Distance So Far: 1244km
Total Ascent so far 11316m
This morning was shaping up as a great day. 120km of flat country, a Sunday morning coffee ride, a walk in the park for the Tour riders and guests that we had joining us today, but……. add the wind to that and it adds a little extra that wasn’t expected.
We had a relatively late start at 7.00am rollout and we travelled down to the local Shepparton Harvey Norman who has raised many thousands of dollars for the Tour this year.
The channel seven boys were on the job early and had setup for the one and only Saturday morning cross of the day.
The guest riders were milling around the breakfast table and you could tell that they were a bit excited at the prospect of riding with us on one of our final legs of 2011.
The day was looking like a great one, everybody was scrambling to put on some sun screen to make sure that we didn’t get sunburnt as there have been a few red patches on some people in the last week.
We rolled out in three pelotons today as we were joined by a number of guest riders some of whom had done an earlier guest rider day as well. As we left there was chatter around the group that perhaps we would get a nice tail wind today to make us smile.
We were privileged to have a special guest rider along with us today. It was the newly crowned keirin world champion Shane Perkins. He was kept very busy with questions and photos and all the riders were especially impressed by his huge thighs. Shane did let us know that riding 120km though was not on his training agenda and confessed that the longest that he had ridden was 80km in the lead up the world championships. This made us feel a lot less pressure and the guys were joking that he was only good for 800 meters anyway so we should be able to take him at the 100km mark!
The first stint was beautiful, a calm day, no wind to speak of and straight straight roads. We took it out gently to warm up and to get the guest riders into the grove of riding with us. The miles seemed to fall away and as we neared our first stop we pushed the speed up a bit to around 40km/h to get the blood running! Soon we were having come coffee and muffins at our first stop.
As we got going into the second section of the day the wind decided to have rare its ugly head!
Not only was it strong but it was coming directly into our side which meant that you had to really concentrate not to get blown sideways as we were travelling along. We changed to single file for a while to make sure that we were not being blown into each other.
As we were travelling along a really funny thing happened. The whole road was turning and turning as millions of tumble weeds were being blown across in front of us. It was interesting to see whole drifts of tumbleweed against the fences and to get attached by these soft rolling masses trying to shoot across in front of us.
With persistence and a little help from some of the stronger riders on the front we finally made it to Bendigo.
The turnout in Bendigo was great, not only was there lots of supporters and families but they had decorated the foot path with encouragement drawn with chalk.
I could not believe that day nine was over. That we were on the edge of completing a dream. Something that we had focused on and trained for had nearly finished. As we ate our lunch our thoughts were turning to tomorrow, about getting to the MCG and then finally to Federation Square.
But there is one day to go and as I type this the rain is pouring down.
Tour de Cure was founded on a dream to cure cancer and in 2011 we have ridden with that dream in our hearts. If there is rain tomorrow so be it. People with cancer don’t get a choice, people that have lost loved ones don’t get a choice and people with dreams press on in rain, hail or sleet until their dream is completed.
We are so looking forward to reaching Melbourne tomorrow and look forward to seeing all our loved ones there to support us.
We have rode with a dream of curing cancer and to do that we had a dream to ride from Sydney to Melbourne.
Here is todays video
Here is todays Garmin readout
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