2017 Chain Reaction Challenge NSW – Day 4 Blog
28 March 2017 Chain Reaction
“Open the door.” “Opening the door.” “Close the door.” “Door closed.” “Mechanical.” “What, Johnny?” “Flat. Keep going. He’ll get back on OK.” “Copy that.”
“[insert name here] double cramping. He looks totally cooked.” “Put him in the van.”
“Mud slip on the descent, roads wet, take it easy riders”
Whilst our objective on a Chain Reaction ride is to raise some serious dollars to help support kids in need, whilst pushing the physical boundaries, our priority is rider safety and welfare. This is only made possible by our outstanding crew, without them, we would just be a bunch of blokes and girls with fancy bikes standing around in colourful lycra wondering what to do next.
Today was a typical Chain day: 158 kms down the west coast from Pauanui to Tauranga, with about 2,000 vertical metres of climbing. That equates to about 7 hours on the road, and 6 hours riding the bike. For the riders, that means warming up for the first hour or so, keeping the peloton tight as it streams along the flats, tapping it up the hills (some doing it a lot easier than others), flying down the descents, keeping food and fluids up, staying upright, warding off the cramps, and pacing themselves so they don’t crack before the day’s ride is over. Despite the fact rider speeds vary from 8kmh to well over 80kmh over the course of the day, depending on the terrain, as a rider you try to keep things super steady, avoiding unnecessary exertion, knowing you’ll need all you’ve got in the tank for the rest of the day’s climbing or heat or rain or wind.
Around all of this controlled commotion, the crew moves in a myriad of mysterious ways, much more “stop, start” than the riders: blocking, corralling and marshalling the traffic to keep the riders safe; ensuring there is enough water, electrolyte, bananas, and sunscreen at the drinks stops; our massage therapists, physiotherapist and medic kneading and pulling at weary and tight legs, backs and necks, releasing knots here, dispensing medication there. There’s Johnny (our bike mechanic) truing wheels and tightening cables, while Tim (Ride Director) frets over road conditions, Gab (Off-Bike Director), ensuring the best wraps in town are ready to be swallowed and our bags are ready to go straight into our rooms as we roll in to town for the night. Cindy (medic) applies gauze and antiseptic to a recently gravelled knee or elbow, or hands out the Imodium and Nurofen to ease weary bodies.
At the end of each day, when we roll in to our accommodation for the night, the riders’ work for the day substantially done, the crew goes into turbo mode: the massage tables pop up, the riders’ dirty kit gets hauled to the laundry, the bike mechs get busy, Cori, Veeral and Ryan (Chain’s marketing, photographic and videographic brains trust) attend to media stuff and edit and upload the day’s pics and vids. The crew are last to bed and first up, well before the dawn, making sure the riders are ready for the day’s ride. So take a bow crew, it’s because of you that Chain Reaction is…. well Chain Reaction!
So to today’s ride.
We rolled out of Pauanui at 7.30 led by last night’s jersey winners;
- White – Warwick Gard when he is not in lycra is the senior partner in EY’s assurance business and it turns out that “Wazz” is also a gifted on tour weather forecaster.
- Green – Duncan Glendinning is one of our Clydesdales. He has to graft every meter on an incline but loves to sprint down the other side of a rise.
- Polka Dot – Ange Ritchie loves a chat in the bunch and is proving to be a fierce competitor in the hills
- Black Mercedes – Charles Moore is a typical domestique for the bunch
- Yellow – Victor Gaspar is a Chain Reaction stalwart and has facilitated the introduction of the Chifley Tower Highriders competition, which raises serious dollars and sponsors two riders to join the bunch – Chapeau Victor.
The route felt neither flat nor straight at any point today with rolling hills and winding roads through once again postcard country. The morning was characterized by thick rainforest and mist laden hilltops with the occasional ocean view before hit the coast to refuel on the beach at Waihi Beach.
Having already vanquished two climbs the bunch road steadily for an hour after lunch before our ride director once again moved the car ahead and the bunch was free to work at its own pace. Up and up just when you thought you had reached the summit over the next rise or corner it cruelly rose again. Fortunately, we were again in “Heidi” green hills to distract the brain and body from the emerging aches.
More rolling hills followed as we “warmed down” into Tauranga our home for tonight.
Hump day (the middle day of the stage ride) has been dealt with, bodies are getting weary and we are all thankful for our support crew.
Ride Time: 5hrs 58min