TourXOz 2017 - Day 2 & 3
KJR’s General Manager ACT, Andrew Hammond, is cycling 2,500km from Perth to Broome with TourXOz in support of the Black Dog Institute. For the second year running, KJR is sponsoring the event committed to raising awareness and much needed funds for research into mental illness and suicide prevention.
Day 2 - Geraldton to Monkey Mia
Day 2 started early in Geraldton with breakfast at 5:30am and onto the bus at 6.00am for a brief bus trip to Northhampton. I’ve had a feeling someone is watching over me and I'm sure they played a part in placing my bike right outside the bus door. (Thanks team!)
Today we were blessed with the wind behind us and as a result, we were literally flying and completed our 115kms in 3 hours and 36 minutes. We stopped off in the magical Kalbarri National Park after zooming down the hill and it was amazing to feel the power of the tail we’d enjoyed during the day's ride blowing us around as we descended. In our haste to see what was there, we all missed the sign that said “No Bikes” but luckily the ranger was watching and quickly corrected our oversight. The scenery was spectacular and in the distance, whales frolicked in the Indian Ocean.
It’s only Day 2 and our peloton is already riding like we’ve ridden together many times before. We’ve already seen special bonds forming between everyone and although we all love going fast and it's not a race, (we’ve been first to the finish point on both days!) we’ve all adopted the mantra “we all get there together” and helping one another out. It's important as all too often with depression and mental illness we don’t get the chance to help our friends or family that are suffering. While we’ve only been together for 8 odd hours on the bike, we can already start to pick up the signs of someone who’s doing it a bit tougher struggling up a hill and sometimes a few words of encouragement or a little push in the right direction is all that's required.
Day 3 - Monkey Mia to Hamelin pool
Today we started from the beautiful Monkey Mia Resort, one of only a handful of world heritage listed areas in the world that meets all four 'natural' criteria;
- to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
- to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
- to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals; and
- to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
We enjoyed a slight sleep-in this morning with breakfast at 6.30am to allow for feeding the dolphins at 7.45am. “Surprise” the dolphin joined at us at around 8.15am for her morning feed of fish before we set off on the day's ride.
The conditions weren’t looking ideal and we had many a conversation over a glass of red wine the night before as to how the winds were going to affect us, but in the end, we knew we couldn’t control the weather. It was a daunting 157kms with temperatures on the road reaching 43 degrees. Today was tough, really tough, and many of us said, “It's the toughest day riding I’ve ever done.” Ironically, for a few of us that have previously completed a TourXOz ride, it was up there with the toughest rides we’ve every done too. However, we all knew that the pain would subside, the feeling would return to our hands and feet, and our bright red faces would return to their normal colour after the intense heat cooled off. As a group we pulled through and although many struggled and needed a helping hand or a word, no one was left behind. We asked the lovely staff at the Overlander Road House if we could go into the cool room and were surprised when they said; “Yep, it’s over there, just pay for anything you drink while you're in there!"
Today our road captain, Jan Schaar, was awarded the KJR Yellow jersey and he wore it with pride. Jan is an inspiring lad and always knows when to push and when to just sit up.