The Ochre Jersey

In the tour de france, the winners jersey is the ‘maillot jaune’, the yellow jersey.

At the tour down under, instead, it is the ochre jersey, with a nice bright orange hue.

As part of the beat cancer tour, the organisers have arranged to award one rider each day with an ochre jersey. However it is not for the quickest rider, it is instead awarded to the rider that shows the most heart, supports other riders etc.

I am very humbled to have been awarded the first ochre jersey of the first ever beat cancer tour for the efforts put in fundraising and spreading Davids story.

I will wear the jersey tomorrow for stage 1, with pride for David Michael Hall.

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Up to lofty heights

Today we had our last easy ride before the official tour starts tomorrow.

We rolled up greenhill road to Mt Lofty where there are amazing views of adelaide. The climb is challenging, and took just under half an hour. It was interesting to test the legs, and I was a little concerned that the legs were a bit sore after what was only a 50km ride (harden up princess!).

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Mount lofty

We descended back down the mountain, to visit one of the major sponsors of the tour, bike society.

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Bike Society

A basic lunch, some free time, and then we all jumped in a minibus to go and visit the Cancer Council, as well as the lodges that the CC provide to house people and families receiving treatment like radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

It was great to see behind the scenes, and really remind us all that whilst we think our bike ride will be hard, it is truly nothing, and we are all lucky that we have our health.

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The team

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Cancer council lodge

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So tomorrow everything kicks off, with a 135km stage to Angaston. I am excited and intimidated, but cant wait to meet this challenge head on!

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Again, sincere thanks to all those people who have supported me and donated. I am still the highest fundraiser, and together we have made a real difference! 🙂

Happy Bday David

He would have been 56 years old today. Rest in peace David.

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Today was an easy warm-up for what is to come. Get to know team mates, and learn how things roll on the road.

There is much that happens behind the scenes to ensure that all 16 riders are safe. We have a lead car and a follow car, and within the bunch several support riders who do their best to keep us safe, the support staff are all connected via two way radios.

Today we had an easy flat 68km ride out to outer harbour, then back to Glenelg for lunch.  It was a great ride, very cruisey and social, getting the chance for a good chat with lots of other riders, many of which it seems have epic storys. Michael Long is recovering from a horrific accident where he was hit by a car riding at 70kph (breaking his back in four places, needing a halo and with bleeding on the brain), Fee who just over a year ago had uterine cancer requiring immediate surgery (and is now cancer free), Michael Owen who had cancer just over a year ago and is now flying on his bike (for the cyclists out there, 800-1000kms a week, and an ftp of 392!) who is working towards a goal of riding Mt Cootha in qld 50 times (20,000 vertical meters!), Macca who only recently discovered he had a benign brain tumour which causes seizures. The list goes on.

It just blows me away what many of these amazing people have been through, and to come out the otherside, stronger than before and with a new lease on life is testament to their strength and determination and a true source of inspiration. I dont have any epic stories to tellm and feel humbled to be involved with such a great group of people.

This evening the pros had a small intro race called the Cancer Council Classic, which is a short course race around the northern edge of the cbd, near the zoo on the banks of the river torrens. There was a mens and womens race.

To help get the message and awareness out about the beat cancer tour, we did a handful of laps of the course before the race. So we all kitted up in team uniform and rolled around, the crowd were very supportive which was great.

Tomorrow is a rest day for the pros. We will get our first taste of the hills, but the first real hard day will be tuesdsy.  In the afternoon we will visit the Cancer Council Lodge which houses people who have come for cancer treatment and need somewhere welcoming and supportive to stay.

Some pics of the day.

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First team ride!

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Support car on the road

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On the start of the Cancer Council Classic

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Some goss for the cycling fans.. The inside word is that the big gc contenders are going to smash the last climb (menglers hill) of stage 1, red lining before the climb and preventing a sprinter from wearing ochre. I wouldn’t have expected major digs stage one, but hold on to your hats.

I however, will be like a snail up that same hill, for me it is all about survival!

The journey begins

So I have flown in to adelaide, and met the team.

The whole idea with this challenge is to find out if a regular hack rider can endure a full pro tour race.. well I am about to find out!

Having put so much time in to fundraising and the blog, I feel like I am a long way down the road on this journey, whilst I am about to embark on the tour. For me the ride is a perfect way to punctuate what has been a very rewarding and cathartic process.

The trip has started very well, sharing a cab ride with a pro (Cam Wurf) to the hotel. We checked in and were given our team uniform, and had a briefing to explain how the days will roll, safety, proceedures, so on and so forth. It was a bit funny that many people seemed to know me, and congratulated me on the blog, the cancer council stafv were extremely warm and welcoming.  It was also great to get confirmation for me that my message about David has reached so many people.

This event, being directly connected to the tour down under required us to attend the team presentations this afternoon at victoria square in the middle of adelaide. A little embarrassing being introduced before all of the pros, with the public all sitting there, but it gives the event great coverage for what we are trying to achieve for the cancer council. The crowd gave as a huge cheer on the stage, which was really great.

Adelaide is absolutely buzzing, and as I write from my hotel room this I can hear the crowd cheering as more teams and riders are introduced down in the square below.

There is a big air of anticipation before we start the tour. I cannot wait to get out on the road to slog it out. It’ll be bloody hard, but I relish a challenge!

All the while, I have David in the front of my mind.

Tomorrow would have been his 56th birthday.

Bev, Nicole, Camille, Erinn, Jasmine and Ash will be releasing Davids ashes tomorrow. It seems so poignant that I start this journey on the very same day, it almost seems like this was all meant to be.

David, from me, happy birthday, I hope I do you proud.

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The view from my hotel room, there be the hills!

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The team queuing up for team presentation

Raffle Draw

Tonight at Bike Gallery, the draw was held for the promise to pedal raffle.

After the shocking weather we have been having in Melbourne I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up, but was very pleasantly surprised with a solid turnout!

There were a mixed bag of winners, some who had bought many tickets, and others who had bought few. The draw was undertaken at random, by drawing tickets out of a box, all 126 tickets being of equal size, Lincoln of BG lending a hand to draw out the lucky winners.

Winners of the major prizes were:

Simon Gerrans Jersey – David Gearing

O’Nev Print – Michael Andrews

Lisa Coutts Artwork – David Gearing (thats right, two major prizes!!)

Winners of the minor prizes were:

Winners Nutrition Bars (6 X 6 bars) – Angus Thomson, Timothy Scarborough, Scott Hunter, Jeremy Newland, Ryan Cannon, Martyn Taylor.

Winners Nutrition Gels (4 X 4) Tracey Maney, Jeremy Newland, Ginetta Chiodo, Brett Jarvis.

CPJCo Juice Cleanses (2) – Brett Jarvis, Scott Hunter.

Fiasco Ciclismo Socks (3) – Ben Keating, Ryan Cannon, Ernesto Arriagada.

Travelo Hire (1) – Ben Keating

A’qto T-Shirts (2) – Ernesto Arrigada, Tracey Maney.

I will arrange delivery of prizes on my return from South Australia.

Again, HUGE thanks for all sponsors for the raffle.

Special thanks to two sponsors, Lisa Coutts & Anna Thomson (Travelo) for coming out of the draw. Check out Lisa’s artwork and buy some! If you are a cyclist intending to travel, checkout Annas website where you can hire good quality bike bags for travel.

Sincere thanks to Lincoln and Cam from Bike Gallery who not only hosted, but at the end of the draw decided to throw in a bonus prize of a new kask helmet for those who made the effort to attend the draw. That prize going to Ernie Arriagada.

Finally, thanks to all those who made the effort to come out for the draw & for the well wishes. Now to finish packing my bags! (I fly out to Adelaide tomorrow!)

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Update on all fronts – Furnace Melburn

Well, today it is Wednesday 15th January 2014, and I fly out this Saturday 18th January.

The final raffle tickets have been dispatched, and I am excited to announce that the ‘promise to pedal raffle’ has raised $2,000!! Once I arrange for the funds transfer, this will take total funds raised to $15,608. I know there are still a couple of donations coming through, so it is looking like I will hopefully crack the magical $16,000.00 raised on behalf of David, for the Cancer Council.

I am drawing the raffle this Friday night, on the eve of my departure for Adelaide. Good luck to all those who have entered, and once again, a very sincere thank you for your support.

What an absolutely amazing result and huge success. I feel proud and elated with what has been achieved from a fundraising perspective, but I need to remind myself that there is a huge physical challenge around the corner.

The ride is going to be extremely challenging, and a good test of my gumption and personality.  I am very excited about tackling the full Tour Down Under course, backing up huge rides, day after day will be interesting, as I have never really completed endurance riding before. Im preparing myself for sore muscles, cramps, and saddle sores. Constant media reports are telling us that this years TDU course will be the hardest in the events history, and I cant help but be daunted by this.

At the same time, I know that I have the support of so many amazing people, some who know me well, and some who do not, all the while with David encouraging me up every hill on the horizon. Yes it will be bloody hard, but I can do this.

For those interested to see how I am going, I will be doing my best to put up a post every day to report-in on how the ride is going.

Anyone reading from the southern parts of Australia will know how absolutely horrific the current weather is, I am just glad the event is not this week. Honestly I can push my body hard, but riding every day with temps of 42 – 45 would put many people in hospital! There is a cool change forecast for Saturday morning, which should see the temps stabilize to a more reasonably 25 – 35,

Here we go!

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Almost there!

Hi All

Thank you for checking back in.

For the last three weeks I have been pouring all of my available time in to the raffle which I am running as another way to fundraise for the beat cancer tour.

The generosity has been overwhelming, with support from various companies and individuals donating prizes (some of a very high caliber, read, value!), many of which do not know me from a bar of soap.  Also sincere thanks for the many people who have bought tickets, some of which I know, and other which I do not.

The raffle has been very successful, raising (as at today) another $1,533.00, which takes my fundraising total to something in the vicinity of $14,600.00. An absolutely stellar effort that would not be possible without the people who have been reading this blog.

So it has now reached a point where I can start to count down the days until the ride starts, with my flight out of Melbourne next Saturday, 8 days away (eek!).

I have been able to string a couple of very solid riding weeks together, with around 450kms a week for two weeks. Now that it is so close to “go time”, it is time for me to peel back the volume, and try and freshen up in time for the tour. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten far more training in, but there are only so many hours in the day.

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One of the many roads I have ridden as part of my training for the Beat Cancer Tour.

I have never attempted a fundraiser before, but I have found it both challenging, and extremely rewarding. I know I have said it before, but I hope that David is looking down, proud of what has been achieved. I wish I could have had the opportunity to sit down with him some time in the next week, have a cup of tea, and have a chat about the journey I am about to embark on. Whilst he cannot be with me, he will be in my thoughts when I am slogging my guts out through the South Australian country side, and I am sure he will have his hand on my back giving me a gentle push up the many hills that I need to ride.

If time would have allowed, I am sure that David would have joined me on a ride, and would have been a good cyclist in his own right, as proven in the below photo when he was younger, he had a set of legs many cyclists would be jealous of!

Young David

Fingers crossed the Adelaide weather is kind to me, and stays away from the big 4-0.

Thank you for reading.