2016 Chain Reaction Challenge New South Wales Day 5 – Blog
18 May 2016 Chain Reaction
CRNSW Blog Day 5 – Tinaroo to Cape Tribulation
Today the Chain Reaction peloton made its way gradually down through the tablelands to Cape Tribulation – a contrast from pastoral lands to a world heritage listed rainforest.
Riders left last night’s accommodation early this morning, led out by the competition jerseys. Victor Gaspah proudly wore the Scentre Group Yellow Jersey, Daryn Moore the EY White Jersey, with Alex Mufford in the UBS polka dots after yesterday’s heroic efforts on the bike and Warren Evans sported the Dexus Green Jersey.
Conscious of the 180km ahead, the bunch set a cracking pace across the tablelands, aided by a slightly downhill profile and a modest tailwind. Kudos to Kel Davey, who sat on the front at a consistent tempo. There is something magical about riding in well functioning bunch. It really feels like you’re flying along, skipping through the country side much faster and expending much less energy than you would on your own.
After five days riding together, the peloton is starting to feel feels like a well-oiled machine; every rider is pulling together and enjoying each other’s company.
Coming down off the Tablelands was billed as a highlight by Tim Chadd, and while there was a little traffic on the road, it was an enjoyable descent through a series of climates. The road pitch was perfect, and the surface flawless, there were enough bends to make riders think about their line through the corner, without having to brake too heavily.
After a quick bite to eat on the beach at Wonga Beach, it was time to take the barge across the Daintree River and into the world heritage listed National Park.
The Daintree isn’t the end of the earth, there are enough people around and plenty of tourism, but once you step off the barge it does very feel foreign – a land beyond reliable mobile phone coverage.
The peloton wasn’t sure what to expect, riders knew there was a hill or two, and given it is a rainforest, it was reasonable to think that it would lush. But it’s fair to say everyone was surprised by the riding on offer. Writing about it after the fact, does not do justice to the experience, but imagine cycling along a quiet road through a misty forest, with lush green hues broken up by the vistas of the most serene beaches. It does feel untouched and the tagline; where the rainforest meets the reef, as cliché as it sounds, is a fitting description.
As if often the case in the Australian wilderness, the wildlife does potentially pose a threat. The rainforest is filled with poisonous snakes and spiders, and rivers overflow with crocodiles, however the real danger to riders is posed by seemingly benign flightless bird, the cassowary.
Throughout the week in any rain forested section there have been signs warning riders of cassowaries wandering out on to the road, and you can just imagine an oblivious 5ft tall bird stepping out in front of a passing peloton of 34 cyclists. And today, the deeper into the Daintree we headed, the more likely such an outcome seemed. However their shy nature has meant that that despite the threat, the peloton so far has escaped any cassowary-caused incidents.
While the riders on the peloton dictate the pace and determine hard it is the rest of the bunch, those towards the rear have important job to do as well. Throughout they’ve worked together, encouraged each other and made sure no one is left behind. This is the spirit of Chain Reaction, and today after riding together and supporting each other, it was felt by all members of the group.
After five days together, the past four of which have been particularly demanding, there is a sense of accomplishment starting to creep through the peloton. The hardest part of the ride is now behind everyone, and with only a two comparatively modest days to come, riders are feeling confident about making it through the ride.
Metres climbed 950