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2017 Chain Reaction Challenge QLD – Day 6 Blog

5 May 2017 Chain Reaction

We crossed the border today, but unlike the advertising slogan, the weather didn’t turn beautiful straight away.

We stayed the night at a new resort just outside Byron Bay called Elements.  It was a particularly stylish venue, and it’s probably enough to communicate how well we were treated to say that a number of riders said that on their next visit, they’d like to be with their partners, rather than other cyclists.

The evening’s presentation by the McDonalds/Limitless team had an impact on us all with the team sharing personal stories and reflecting on their motivation for signing up to the CRQL2017 ride.

Jerseys were awarded as follows…

  • Yellow – to Tim ‘Crackers’ Keenan from KordaMentha
  • Polka Dot jersey to Simon di Michele
  • Red – to Paul Davis from Gowdie/PwC
  • Green – Darren Laarhoven from AEIOU
  • Black – Matt O’Keefe from Gowdie/PwC
  • White jerseys to – Tony ‘The Italian Stallion’ Scoglio from Hutchies and Stephen Buhmann from KordaMentha

With the night being a little more relaxed after a couple of days of hard riding, we didn’t set off until 8am this morning. We rode west, crossing the Pacific Highway and then turned north towards Mullumbimby. The rain had smashed down overnight, but the early morning had teased us with patches of blue sky, and we dared to think that we might have a day of fine weather.  Unfortunately, within an hour of leaving Byron, there were sharp squalls upon us.  We met up with the Tweed River and it was easy to see the impacts of the recent flooding with huge trees uprooted or bent over, high fences full of detritus and sections of rode simply washed away.

Photo: cr_qld_2017_day_6_o-nev-17054

We made our way to Murwillumbah where we had lunch at the local racetrack, whilst the local school conducted a cross-country carnival alongside us.  On a kinder day, we might have taken more pleasure in the long descents, but it was really hard going, and potholes, and petrol slicks, meant the riders could not afford to lose concentration.

All the same, after travelling for so long through country towns whose names we’d never heard spoken, it has been very heartening to see road signs with familiar labels on them.

After lunch, we climbed a stretch called Tomewin which basically rounded out the 1663 metres of climbing for the day.  It was slow and steady, with a couple of steep pinches, but we have come to realise that almost all the riders have become stronger as the week has progressed so, after the challenge of Dorrigo, everyone just got on with the business.

At the very top, there was a cattle grid, which was a little precarious to cross in the wet, and was situated right on the Queensland/New South Wales border.  Tim Chadd was there to remind us not to brake on the grid, and when we all re-grouped, Cori was very excited to inform the group that we had just passed the $1 million mark in fundraising.  The riders (to varying degrees), take the cycling and the training very seriously, but we are all conscious that its only ever a vehicle for finding money for kids in need, and there was considerable excitement and pride that the various fund raising efforts had gone so well.

The descent from the border into Currumbin was exhilarating; fast, cold and wet – judging bends, squeezing brakes, whilst the countryside swept past.  The Victorian chapter of Chain Reaction had ridden through here recently, experiencing more severe weather than we endured today. Although we had Tim and John on hand to tell us of the hazards, it doesn’t remove the challenge when you’re the one on the handlebars.

The sun broke through when we hit Currumbin, and suddenly, we were riding, rather majestically, along the Gold Coast highway. We rode into Mantra Sun City Resort, which has proved to be a fabulous place to feed, water and rest the peloton. Peter Burchard had organised cheese burgers and apple pies from the local McDonald’s for everyone which was a special treat given our work for the day.

Tomorrow is the final stretch into Brisbane. We are excited to see families and friends waiting at the peloton and to celebrate our amazing journey and achievements with our fellow riders.