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2017 Chain Reaction Challenge Victoria – Day 2 Blog

12 March 2017 Chain Reaction

Hot Hot Hot, that was the word for today around the dinner table. Prospect of rain gave way to expectations of a 32-degree day. Our ride Director, Tim Chadd has meticulously planned the course for this trip. It appears each day will present just a little bit more each day, until the hardest day, the “hump” day, Day 4. Then the distances ease off, as tired bodies and niggles need some relief towards the end of the week. Was that why there was a grand total of 7 people, and only 3 riders left at dinner at 9.00pm last night?

A nervous peloton had experienced a demanding 1st day. In fact, Day 1 had been one of the longer and harder first days for many years, many were noticing it in their legs, and so were eager to ensure well presented bodies – mentally and physically for Day 2.

So it was essential that after our first day, our wonderful massage therapists commenced their magic. Chain Reaction could not function, and riders could not experience the “Pro Tour” feeling without the services of our volunteer massage therapists. They give up a week of their various jobs to join us “on tour.” Kelly Wilson has provided her expert skills to twitching rider legs and backs for 15 Chain Reactions. Johnny “the Swanny” Wurtz and Joe Davis return once again, whilst Caterina Di Gennero, Robbie Allan and Physio, Julia Allan, all join us for the first time. Renewal and regeneration occurs in all aspects of Chain Reaction. Our thanks to these life-savers is immeasurable.

With bodies tweaked, we eagerly dove into our fish, pasta and veggie meal, before commencing our first night of presentations and banter. Team Marshall White was the first team to conduct the presentations – “Non-playing” Captain Andrew Hayne, who is also chairman of the Victorian committee of Chain Reaction, opened proceedings with a summary of our fund-raising efforts, – over $700,000 and climbing, and reminded us of who we were raising funds for: Starlight Children’s Foundation and Very Special Kids. They are represented on our jerseys and on our minds for every pedal stroke of the ride.

As many of you will be aware, we present 4…..wait, now 5 jerseys each night. Unlike the Tour de France, they are not for the best performers on the bike, but rather acknowledge outstanding efforts in fund-raising or special efforts during the lead-up to and during the ride. They are sponsored by 5 organisations that have provided material financial support to the ride. Kaine Lanyon stepped up to present the jerseys as follows:

  • The Mercedes Black jersey – to 10 year rider, who has raised over $10k –Rob Hinton
  • The White jersey, to “newbie” rider who has also raised over $12k, the Jellis Craig CEO, Nick Dowling
  • The MonJon Security Green jersey, to Chain Reaction stalwart and favourite, Marcus Ryan who has raised $11k
  • The Arrow Constructions Polka Dot jersey to another “newbie” rider, who has joined the Marshall White team, Damien Brookes and sits at over $12k funding raising
  • and finally and most importantly…….The KordaMentha Yellow jersey to 8 time veteran, Josh Slattery, who has raised a phenomenal $49,750, as at the dinner, and has since blown through the $50k mark. That’s 3 years in a row Josh has raised over $50,000!  Josh was quizzed about HOW he does it!! The personal touch seemed to be his over-riding philosophy.

Photo: peloton downhill web

NOW to the day’s ride. To enhance the rider’s experience, we again embarked on a bus trip. This time an early morning start required us to be in the bus, with our “steeds” securely tucked in the Chain Reaction Pro-team truck, at 7.00pm for a transfer to our starting point in the showgrounds of East Gresford. Don’t worry, you won’t have been there before, but it was the perfect place to start our second day –quiet, serene, and perfect for a masochist, like Tim Chadd, –as he had us riding up a 5 km climb after a miserly 12 km warm-up! With 8-11 % Garmin readings, and dead roads, we were awake by the 18 km mark! With the major climb of the day out of the way, there was a palpable sense of relief. But Chain Reaction rides always provide surprises. Surprises like lots and lots of little “burgs” as we rose and descended into and out of iridescent green paddocks with lush grass supporting cows and horses, and presumably some NSW farmers. The quiet “very” country roads, think potholes repaired time and again, think potholes NOT repaired, think a patchwork of different types of asphalt, think cracked edges, think arms, wrists, and heads bouncing around like one of those Elvis Presley dolls on the front dash of a Commodore!!

We are safety conscious on a Chain ride – we call the holes and cracks – until, today, our voices were hoarse.

So after passing through Dungog with views of Barrington Tops, we reached our lunch venue, Bulahdelah Showgrounds, (after passing the Bowls Club – we all hoped to meet the locals and have a burger and chips –but alas, another miss like yesterday)!

This was the hot hot hot part of the day, we set off with 60 kms to go and the gauge at 34 degrees. But after crossing the Pacific Highway, and just a few more climbs, we reached the coastal area, and the temperature dropped to 27. We were all delighted to see the sea, well the inlets, as we turned north towards Forster. When you are near the sea, you hope that the climbing will diminish. Our hopes were answered, as after a short refreshment stop (think Coke and other quick energy boosts to get us to Forster – 30 kms away), we battled slight headwinds, but enjoyed a flat run-in, which given we were approaching 160kms for the day, was a relief to some,…and a new challenge for others!

The Island Palms Motor Inn is our home for the night, stressed bodies eagerly sought out their masseurs, the pool and thanks to our “swannys”, some excellent chips and perhaps a recovery beverage. Day two conquered……all riders accounted for!

Distance covered: 156Km

Metres climbed: 1903 m

Time on the bike: 5 hrs 41 mins