2016 Chain Reaction Challenge New South Wales Day 6 – Blog
19 May 2016 Chain Reaction
Cape Tribulation received its name when Cook ran the Endeavour aground on the nearby reef. Now part of the World Heritage listed Daintree Forest National Park, it is really is where the rainforest meets the reef. It’s also the starting point for the Queen Stage of this year’s ride.
Cape Trib, and the Daintree in general, remains pristine and wild. So pristine in fact that the airwaves are yet to be cluttered by mobile phone reception or an internet connection. For some this is a blessing, a rare break in activity in otherwise busy lives, for others (including this blog’s author) it’s an enforced frustration. But challenging oneself and stepping outside of the regular – the quotidian – is part of the appeal of a Chain Reaction, even if this means forgoing a post of two on Instagram.
It would be impossible to complete a Chain Reaction Challenge without a series of very talented and generous volunteers; the Support Crew. And it would be remiss of this blog not to acknowledge the role they play in making sure Chain Reaction runs smoothly.
Firstly; the massage therapists. It would be significantly harder to get back in the saddle each day without the dedicated team of massage therapists working tirelessly to iron out any niggles before they become injuries. In addition to kneading knots out of the peloton, the massage therapists fill the role of soigneurs in professional cycling and are responsible for setting up drink and lunch stops, and driving the support vehicles. To Karen, Dean, Hannah, Robbie, Lulu and George thank you for the daily massages and for enabling riders to make it through the week.
Jarryd Jones plays an important role as the ride mechanic, ensuring that riders’ bikes remain roadworthy throughout the ride. Outside of Chain Reaction, Jarryd is usually found on the tools for an international pro cycling team, and his know-how and experience ensure that every rider feels like a pro.
Belinda Drew is another member of the support crew who deserves recognition. In her role as off-bike director, Belinda arrives at each drink and lunch stop, and day’s end, well ahead of the riders, making sure everything is set up and ready to go for when the peloton arrives. That the ride runs as smoothly as it does is testament to her hard work each day. Although new to the role, Belinda is not new to Chain Reaction, having ridden in last year’s Women’s 300 ride.
However the most important person in the support crew, and the whole is event, is Ride Director Tim Chadd. In the lead up to the event, Tim designs the route, organises all the logistics and thoroughly prepares for nearly 1,000km of riding. Throughout the week he calls the shots, ensures riders have information they need and make it through the week safely. Tim is critical to Chain Reaction experience, and a huge thank you must be said for all his work prior to and throughout the ride.
Today’s riding started a little later than most days. A modest sleep in and a shorter day were appreciated by the peloton after yesterday’s day big stage.
As per tradition the competition jerseys led the peloton away from Cape Tribulation and out of the Daintree. Rob Desoisa wore the EY white jersey, Kel Davey was in the Dexus green jersey, Michael Hendrie sported the UBS polka dots and Brian Harris the Scentre Group yellow jersey.
The ride out through the forest was considerably drier than yesterday, the sun even poked through the canopy meaning that the only sealed road was dry. The mood among riders was a little bit more relaxed than previous days and the pace reflected this. A few strong riders still attacked up the hill, but today was more about appreciating the surroundings than winning points for the King of the Mountain.
After taking the barge back across the river, the peloton made its way south down to Mossman Gorge, also part of the Daintree National Park, for a bite to eat at lunch. The Gorge is a well organised eco-tourism development that is locally run and respects the heritage and culture and traditions of the traditional owners of the land. Cars cannot be driven to the swimming holes and cascades – shuttle service operates to ferry visitors to the area. However, today Chain Reaction riders received special dispensation and the peloton was allowed to ride all the way to the road’s end.
Tonight we reside in the recently renovated Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas, once the crowning-jewel in Christopher Skase’s property portfolio, the 5 resort is an entirely different proposition to the Daintree where the day began.
Distance ridden 92km
Metres climbed 650