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CRW300 Day 1 Blog

6 October 2017 Chain Reaction

We started the day with our rider briefing early out the front of our second home, Planet Cycles. I’m not sure how much sleep anyone had as there was clearly a nervous, excited buzz from those that showed up a good 15 minutes before our recommended arrival time – like kids on the first day of school, excited to get on with it. The new members to Chain Reaction were introduced to the Pro-Team truck where their bikes were neatly tucked away for the drive down to our starting location in Byron Bay. And unlike the 7 day rides, the shortened format meant we started the day with our first competition jersey presentation. It proved to be a touching moment for all as we gained insight as to why people are riding, their motivation behind it and the escapism that they chase.

Today’s jersey winners were:
White Jersey, for best new/young rider: Lara Anderson
Green Jersey, for quickest to embrace the Chain Reaction experience: Alison Chambers
Black Jersey, for best displaying the spirit of Chain Reaction: Mel Lourens
Yellow Jersey, awarded for highest fundraising so far, over $9,000: Brianna Keenan

There was a bit of learning to be had at how to properly put on a competition jersey (backwards of course) and this time around, we even had our own Yellow Jersey sponsor present the award – very professional indeed!

The road ahead to start the ride was smooth, curtesy of our bus ride featuring a slight detour to pick up our 48th member of the peloton who just happens to be a bronze and silver medallist at the recent World Championships in Norway. Having Katrin along has inspired the group and many will be drawing on the sheer guts and determination that she showed when riding to those medals.
Upon our arrival into Byron and the lovely Elements of Byron Resort, the reality of what was ahead started to set in and after months of early mornings and cold conditions it was time to strip off the layers, embrace the heat and form the peloton that will tackle the 2017 CRW Queensland ride.

Photo: crw300_2017_Day 10014

Today’s ride was a short and unexpectedly hot, humid loop around Byron Bay that took the peloton up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse where the group were put through the paces early having to make a short sharp climb to take in the views that awaited us at the top. A quick group photo opportunity was had before the group then headed down the coast to Lennox Head where they road inland and along the old highway on roads with little traffic, a great surface and fantastic scenery.

Prior to lunch was a good opportunity for the riders to free their legs and see who was keen to get some early sprint points, who had the legs for the climb (noting tomorrow’s category X climb) and who was quite content to sit in, have a chat and enjoy the beautiful scenery that surrounded them.
Our late lunch stop was at the lovely Bangalow Hotel before returning to Byron Bay and the first night’s presentations.

Having settled into the grove of riding as one group, it became evident from the stories told that there was a range of mixed emotions – some excited for what was to come, some absolutely petrified and questioning why they were indeed on the bike at this present time and some who preferred to remain oblivious as to what lay ahead. Regardless of each of the rider’s state of mind, what was evident was that this group of women had trained hard and had the gumption to do what they needed to in order to raise much needed funds for the charity partners, Hummingbird House and Youth Advocacy Centre.

And as the first day came to a close, the peloton retired to relax at their fabulous surroundings at Elements of Byron and prepared themselves for the mid-ride challenge. Day 2 is designed to be tough and the little pinch known as Tomewin has many a rider worried – although we are assured that the cars will wait and no man (or women in this case) will be left behind.