TourXOz 2017 - Day 4 & 5

  • Andrew Hammond
  • 21 September 2017

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 4 - Carnavon to Coral Bay

For those following along for a few blogs, my Mum was discharged from Royal Perth Hospital on Tuesday with strict observation every two days. She caught a plane to Exmouth and has now rejoined the TourXOz supporters crew!

Day 4 started from our overnight stop in Carnavon and we headed inland for a flat and fast day. It was also hot (damn hot!) and this combination started to impact several of our team however, working together, we are stronger physically and mentally too. We were in high spirits and looking to put in a solid performance for the day, crossing the line first and with the fastest time...not that it's a race!

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Today’s Yellow Jersey wearers included Josh, who battled through physical sickness (an upset tummy to put it lightly) to make it the full 157kms the day before. To ride 157kms on any one day is a great achievement but doing it with a roll of toilet paper in the jersey's back pocket just in case you have a “Dumoulin Toilet-gate” moment is worthy of recognition. The other Yellow jersey was also worn by Tanja, awarded for her stellar effort as part of the 'Scoobydoo' team on Day 2.

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We started a bit earlier today and that proved to be a great choice. Noone likes to hear that breakfast is at 5.30am but I’ve been rationalising it based on Western Australia being 2 hours behind Eastern Australia at the moment, so really, it’s more of a 7:30am breakfast! Spirits were high and the element of competition had crept into our peleton which is now known as 'Pluto', named so after the Disney character. The other two groups on the ride are 'Snoopy' and 'Scooby Doo'!

Team Pluto monstered the day’s ride, smashing out 144kms in 4 hours and 2 minutes. Running like a finely tuned machine, Team Pluto have taken an early lead, finishing fastest on the first four days and throwing down a challenge to 'Scooby Doo', challenging them to at least draw with us given there's only four days left on the tour! 

To close out Day 4, the Yellow Jersey was awarded to David Piggot, Jabra’s group leader and CEO. The Yellow Jersey was awarded to Dave for a stand out effort on Day 4, leading the peleton strongly from the front and for his commitment to the TourXOz cause; it will be great to see him in yellow tomorrow! 

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Video Highlights from Day 4 of TourXOz
Day 5 - Coral Bay to Karratha

Day 5 started with an early call to my daughter, Mahlia. It’s her 14th birthday today and it’s the first of my childrens' birthdays I’ve not been home for. When I spoke to her she was her usual bubbly self and had a great start to the day. The roads seemed longer and the end further away today but knowing we’re over the half way point and I'll get to see her again in a few days makes it bearable.

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We got away early again this morning, rolling out at 6.30am, and it was a challenging day, both mentally and physically. We rode out of Coral Bay expecting a tough day as the clouds overhead were flying past, but luckily for us, we turned shortly after departure and the wind was at our tail. We sped along at 45kms an hour for the first 60kms before reaching 'WTF corner'! The tail that was at our backs was now squarely in front of us and even though we’d been expecting it, it took us by surprise and slowed our progress significantly. Our speed reduced from 45 km per hour to 28 kms per hour and our heart rates rose dramatically. I channeled the pain of missing Mahlia’s birthday and headed for the front of the Peleton. We’ve been riding with the 'six horsemen' at the front, rotating around in a carefully choreographed sequence and with the arrival of the wind our Road Caption, Jan, switched into boss mode and put all the riders into position, protecting those who needed it and spreading us out into a 'three up formation'. I rode in the horsemen for the final 60kms of the day, drawing strength from my Mahli-moo to push on. I was in the hurt locker for the final 13kms but I knew that there were others in the peleton in more pain than me so we just needed to get the job done. Big thanks to Justin, Jan, Dave, Matt and Steve who helped us get to lunch in a solid 4 hours, 30 minutess in the wind. Also, thanks to the morning shift horsemen; Warren, Jan, Adam, Lawrence, Marcus and Hugh! As we head north to our overnight accommodation in Karratha, we’ve hit mining country. The dirt is extra red and the trucks are getting bigger. 

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The truck driver I was speaking to at the road house said his rig is 51.5m long and has a hotel room on the back of it, in which he stays for 12 nights out of 14 when he’s working. All of a sudden I thought my office job wasn’t so bad being able to sleep in my own bed at night!

On the bus this afternoon I’ve noticed, for the first time, the distinct pain of not being connected. I recall a colleague of mine saying that access to WiFi is a basic human necessity and after being starved of internet for some three hours, I can totally agree. We’re in the middle of nowhere now and unfortunately my mobile carrier doesn’t have much service between towns. Note to self: whenever the next trip is, (and if I’m participating) I need to get a Telstra SIM! I’ve also noted that my iPhone’s music capacity was an illusion as, without mobile service, I’ve got 16 songs to listen to. Fortunately for me, there’s quite a bit of variety...

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