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2016 Chain Reaction Challenge New South Wales Day 1 – Blog

14 May 2016 Chain Reaction

#CRNSW Blog Day 1 – The Prologue

This year marks the 5th Chain Reaction Challenge New South Wales, and before we start it seems appropriate to mention just why a bunch of cyclists and a support crew have taken a week out of their busy schedules to fly to ride a push bike around Far North Queensland.

It is significant that since that first ride in 2012, Chain Reaction NSW riders have raised over $3million to fund the Chain Reaction Program in Congenital Heart Disease at the Victor Change Cardiac Research Institute. In this time the program, under the guidance of the Professor Sally Dunwoodie, has already identified a number of genes that cause heart defects in newborns however still in approximately 80 per cent of cases the causes remain a mystery.

Before a single pedal is turned we must also thank everyone who has donated so far to this year’s ride. Donations are open right through the ride, so if haven’t yet done so, or would like to do so again, please dig deep and donate so that the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute can continue its research in to finding a cure for heart disease in new born children.

The next six days on the bike should be fantastic. We’re just on the change of seasons, gone is the wet and ahead the dry. At this time of year anything is possible with the weather, but importantly for us the week ahead looks like it should stay around 30 degree days with a maybe a passing shower, but nothing threatening enough to dampen riders’ spirits.

With a cracking course through a unique and spectacular part of the country, the whole peloton is chomping at the bit to get out and ride – a few even got out for an early ride this morning to test the legs. Some days will be long, and the collective fatigue will be felt as the week progresses, however the mood on the start line this afternoon was a mixture of apprehension, enthusiasm and excitement for the cycling to come.

Before we head off on the road for the week we have to single out a couple of Chain Reaction institutions. Firstly; Brian Harris. Brian is gearing up for his tenth Chain Reaction event, having ridden every kilometre of the first five Victorian rides and then every NSW ride to date. Brian has been a key part in establishing Chain Reaction in New South Wales and it is a privilege to have him on the start line once again.

Another familiar face, albeit in an unfamiliar role, is Mike “Lakey” Lake. In past rides Lakey has been a key member of the support crew, providing mechanical support and his own special brand of encouragement on 13 previous Chain Reaction Challenges. After a year out, Lakey has been welcomed back to the Chain Reaction fold although this time on the bike rather than the tools.


Today’s ride was about warming the legs up, getting used to the surroundings and each other. The peloton covered a straight forward 42 kilometres without any real climbs.  Leaving the hotel in the early afternoon, we headed west of Cairns to Crystal Cascades, a picnic spot and waterfall nestled in the edge of the rainforest and a good spot to turn around.

Although only a short day, everyone in the bunch came together and rode cohesively, functioning well as a single unit – by far the smoothest and most together opening day on any of this year’s Chain Reaction Challenges, according to Wardy.

In fact, the peloton was riding so smoothly that, on the way out to the half way point, we managed to pass a series of tourists riding e-bikes. Who needs a motor when you’ve got a good bunch working together!

Tomorrow should be more of a test as we head south west of Cairns and up onto the tablelands before finishing the day in Innisfail. Although, going on today’s form everyone looks like they should be fine through the 160 odd kms in store tomorrow.

Distance: 40.6 km

Metres climbed: 300m

You can see all more of today’s photos on Facebook and Flickr.