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2017 Chain Reaction Challenge Victoria – Day 6 Blog

17 March 2017 Chain Reaction

CR17 Day 6

Our venue in Byron Bay was the new Elements on Byron. It’s a bit out of town. The brilliant logistics planning by the Chain Reaction organising team includes making sure that some of our more exuberant riders (insert just about any name) are kept under the watchful eye of Tim and John. Tim Chadd is our ride Director, he had a horrific day of organising yesterday, avoiding floods was not in his job description, but he managed to cobble together an enjoyable ride, navigate us safely back to the Sunseeker Hotel for lunch, then left us in the hands of an equally adept organiser, our Off-road Director, Kristi Ingrilli. She had to assist us in getting all to our “eco-lodges” spread over a 2 kilometre area! The rain poured down, but she managed to organise our laundry, luggage, and our bodies into the right places.

Dinner was back at the Sunseeker, if ever there was a misnomer this was it. It poured relentlessly all evening and into the night. In fact, it poured so much that the clouds were completely empty by morning rise. But more of that later.

Dinner time is a time of reflection on the day’s activities, hence the jerseys. It also gives us an opportunity for thanks. Thanks to people like Tim Chadd and his team, and also “Wardy”, Chain Reaction’s CEO. He has elected not to ride this year. We don’t know all the reasons he’s not riding, but perhaps it’s the brand new Mercedes vehicles provided for the ride.

Mercedes –Thank you!!

Chain Reaction is always keeping an eye out for appropriate corporate partners. This year Mercedes have come on board. They are providing us with 6 (yes, 6) vehicles including 2 vans, to provide the Pro-rider experience and to transport our support crew from A to B. They also have provided the new 5th “recognition” jersey, the “Mercedes Black.” But their contribution goes even further. When a vehicle had a tyre issue, not only were they ready with a solution, they had a back-up solution, a further new car! Their instant assistance will ensure our media team can stay on the road, and make us, the riders look good!

Thank you Mercedes!

Back to presentations. It was the KordaMentha/ABL team’s turn to present the jerseys.

  • White ( was awarded to Kaine Lanyon –nicknamed Radar for his ability to get lost on no fewer than 3 training rides, but who’s fund-raising has been laser-precision at over $12k;
  • PolkaDot (ArrowConstructions) to Anthony Coxon, a first year rider, a chiropractor, and excellent rider and fund-raiser;
  • Green (MonJon) to Charlie Gardiner of ArnoldBlochLiebler, an ex-AFL footballer, now lawyer and fund-raiser;
  • Black (Mercedes) to Jamie Meed – he epitomises the Chain Reaction spirit of comradeship. He smiles in the face of adversity, like when Nick made a slightly wrong left-turn… when there was no left-turn…. and gave Jamie a nice hip and shoulder. He stayed on his bike and smiled (just).
  • Yellow (KordaMentha) to Peter (Rex) Hunt, he’s a 2nd year rider, and has reeled in over $20k in donations. Even a bit of food-poisoning on Day 2 couldn’t stop Rex resuming the next day. He epitomises Chain values of battling through adversity to get to the finish line.

Chain Reaction is now about more than its founder Berrick Wilson, but when he attends our dinner, we are all ears. He reiterated what Chain Reaction is all about, and then presented 10 year veterans, Michael Knoff and Rob Hinton with mementos of their contribution to the Victorian Chain Reaction rides since 2008.

You may not know, so I’ll tell you, that each of our charity partners provides a support person to our ride. This year Kelly Lavender has done an outstanding job representing Starlight Children’s Foundation, and Kristi Ingrilli, brilliant in representing Very Special Kids.

Very Special Kids
We were then introduced to Luke. Luke and his wife, Mel, were like any other excited expecting parents, when their daughter, Ellie was born. Their world was ripped apart when they received the devastating news that Ellie had been born with a rare genetic syndrome known as Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome. Genetic gaps in Ellie’s “make-up” causes regular seizures and complications –many life-threatening to her. Now 8, Ellie needs full time care from her family, which also includes young Cooper, 4 and ½ years old. Ellie visits the hospice at VSK, Malvern, to provide her parents and Cooper with a break from their demanding routine. VSK provides a real benefit to Ellie, who loves visiting, and her family an opportunity to explore some of life’s opportunities that are denied them due to Ellie’s demanding condition. Interestingly, in the Peloton today, some of the riders reflected on how emotional they were about seeing their own young children at the finish in Brisbane.

Having heard Luke’s story, and with the heavens opening up over us, it was appropriate that we gave the Chain riders the opportunity to raise further funds for our ride by purchasing a few items generously donated for the purpose by some of the riders. So it was that Andrew McMillan and Anthony Woodley lifted a few dollars from various (un-named) rider’s wallets as some framed photos (thank you Veeral “Cipo” Patel), a Simon Gerrans jersey (thanks Duncan Smith), two Factor bike frames (care of Kel MacCulloch) and Feather Light wheels (Greg McDonald) raised over $23k! We ride, we give!

Photo: cr_vic_2017_day_6_o-nev-5134

Today’s ride
“Rain, rain go away” Yep, that’s what happened! We woke to a landscape recovering from a pounding. But the day was to be a cracker. High cloud, with the sun occasionally tickling our backs, a light Zephyr of a breeze (generally on our backs), and drying roads enabled us to confidently rollout of Byron with an optimistic smile on our faces and 135 kms to ride.

We were treated to a “Chadd special” he once again found ways to take us off the main roads and onto the “roads less-travelled.” It’s weird how the landscape changes over a week of Chain. The rolling open fields of mid-NSW has morphed into the rainforest shrouded hills of Northern NSW. We have traversed bio-spheres! The route took us along roads that have long been abandoned as transit roads. They are “local” roads, and in some cases appear to have also been abandoned by local councils. But as we moved closer to the Queensland border, the roads improved, we reached 88 kms (2/3 of the days kms) and lunch at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds.

Lunch has changed over the years for a Chain ride. We used to pull into towns and be left to our own devices to gorge on pies and sausage rolls. Now we find a “community” area, (read oval) and indulge in chicken, ham and veggie wraps. It means we are in and out of lunch much quicker, and John Ward and Tim can keep an eye on us!

The big challenge of the day was the 5 km climb to the NSW/Queensland border. With an average gradient of 8-9% we had to push hard throughout the ascent, and once again youth won through with young Tommy Hayne knocking off Dave McKenzie. That made 2 summits for Tom, who also knocked off Sam Grindal in the Dorrigo Mountain stage.

Everything that goes up, goes down a lot faster. The border was the heights, we thought we had a “happy” downhill all the way to Gold Coast. Not so! Tim has been “surveying” this area for years. You’re travelling down a normal road and then suddenly- “turn left” and we are presented with a “little wall.” Gearing is tortured as we drop to the “spiniest” extremes and up we go for a short 19% climb. We are not happy when Tim takes us on these little excursions. But we are ecstatic when we conquer them, as we have done with every challenge this week.

Finally, we reached the flat main roads of Burleigh Heads and rolled through the traffic to the Mantra, our accommodation for the night.

Crossing the Queensland border meant we put our clocks back an hour. It gave the blogger an extra hour for the blog. Sorry……

Our final day tomorrow. We are in the Gold Coast. Enough said.

Distance covered: 135.2 kms
Metres climbed: 1495 m
Hours in the saddle: 5 hrs 1 min 
Rain Millimetres: Nil
Rain Millimetres Wednesday (including evening): 160 mils +!!