2017 CRW300 Final Day – Blog
9 October 2017 Chain Reaction
There was a distinct buzz in the dining room at breakfast today, the riders were clearly still floating on cloud nine after the previous days’ achievements both on and off the bike. It may have also had something to do with our special guest Robbie McEwen (an ambassador of Goldsky, our yellow jersey sponsor) who joined us for dinner the night before to congratulate us on what we as a group had achieved and present the final jersey recipients for CRW300 2017. The recipients of the jerseys would not only get to roll out at the front, but also have the privilege to bring the peloton back into Brisbane on the final day. We had two ladies taking the Green Jersey, Kym Warner and Vicky Papachristos, Jane Gowdie in Black, Sally Duncombe in Yellow and Kath Daly in White.
We rolled out of our fantastic accommodation at The Island, looking sharp and riding as one beautiful group through the back of Surfers Paradise and out to the first quick stop of the day at the Nerang Criterion Track. The Velodrome allowed the riders to have hit and spin their legs in preparation for the 972m of climbing and +100km ahead. It was great to see our mechanic JJ jump on one of the ladies bikes for a quick spin, showing just how fast these bikes can go.
From there it was time to take on the first lumpy section of the ride as we passed the Gold Coast amusement parks. There were some cheap thrills to be had on the down hill, and it was great to see the riders gaining more confidence descending with each hill passed. After a few minor mechanicals the peloton rolled into their second stop for the day for lunch. The riders were feeling surprisingly okay, and the emotion of what had been achieved was starting to settle in with a few tears shed. It was also a moment to stop and thank our wonderful coach Dave for all he had done, with the riders gathering around him to say the one word that sums up the way they feel about our fearless leader – their safety net who motivates, inspires and is just an all-round genuine and great bloke.
After lunch it was a quick jump to get the peloton out towards the last hills of the day. The ladies did an amazing job navigating the many roundabouts, traffic lights and heavy traffic flow. You could see that they could taste the finish line and the police escort that awaits just 20kms up the road, but they had one last big climb to tackle in Mount Cotton before getting there. What has been the most amazing aspect of the ride is the way that the riders all help each other to get up the hills, whether it be a little push, a brief tow or just the comfort of someone sitting beside another providing words of encouragement. The ambassador team must be mentioned, as without their support, there would be a number of ladies still trying to make it up Tomewin Mountain.
The peloton pulled into Anna Mears Stadium to meet the police escort for the final stretch home. After a few photos and a moment for all the riders to embrace, it was time to mount the bike one last time – the sound of relief here was audible. The police escort lead the way as the peloton conquered the final few hills. Cheers of complete glee filled the air as the ladies rushed down the hills and made their way for a rockstar spin over the Story Bridge, through the valley and finally to be welcomed home by the warmest embrace of all of those who have supported each and every rider along the way. Many tears were shed in what proved to be a very emotional moment, the realisation that they had achieved something momentous. There was a promise from all to keep riding, to keep looking for the next challenge that will bring this group of fierce females together once again, perhaps the Chain Reaction 7 day ride early 2018…
As we draw a close of what had been an amazing journey, not just over the past three days, but over the past 8 weeks of training, it’s important to thank the crew who supported the riders throughout. To the coaching staff who prepared the ladies for the conditions of the ride, thank you – there is no way all the riders would have gotten there with out your guidance, dedication and support. To the crew from Chain Reaction and the amazing volunteers who supported the riders over the three days, thank you – thank you for giving the riders everything they needed to get through the ride, for keeping them hydrated, washing their kits, giving sunscreen, changing tires, cheering them on, capturing the perfect moment to remember this weekend forever and when occasionally needed, a little push up the hills. You kept everyone safe and happy and breathed the Chain Reaction spirit into everything you did. Finally to all of the friends and family at home, your love and support was everywhere throughout the journey, it was as if each of the 48 riders had their family sitting on their handlebars telling them to keep going and be strong for the kids.
2017 CRW300 – over $420K raised and a new record set. Just wait to see what this group can do in 2018…