I come to you from inside what is known as the Tour De Cure “bubble”…. an intense multi-day experience which cannot fail to have an impact on the way you see life and especially other human beings.
For starters, the logistics are nothing short of astonishing – more than 140 riders, numerous support crew, 2 overnight stops, food, laundry, bike storage – and that’s before you’ve got everyone from A to B via a route of over 100kms per day. Someone has thought of everything, all we have to do is follow the schedule.
Then there’s the riding – there will not be a person on this ride, however experienced, who won’t be challenged at some point by hills, descents, rain, wind, debris on the road, mechanical issues…. I’ve dug deeper in 2 days than I have for a very long time, physically and mentally. I expected this to be hard work but there are so many things you can’t control, such as a flat tyre or a closed road, that can throw you off course and invite you to quit.
So what has kept us going? And why have so many people given up their time to not only train and ride but to act as support crew pouring drinks, moving bags, navigating the peloton cars. Everyone has a story behind why they are participating, and while we are in the bubble, these stories start to come out and make sense. Add in the stories from local cancer charities we are donating to, such as last night’s speech from the founder of Quest for Life Petrea King, and not only are we frequently reaching for the tissues but really understanding that what we are doing is making a difference.
Today we made our first school visit, to deliver the Tour de Cure “Be Fit Be Healthy Be Happy” message – and we learnt about Flipman and his nemesis Pitman – I won’t steal their thunder here but it’s worth looking them up on the Tour De Cure School Program page. I remember many years ago how great it was when a special event happened at school – you got to miss classes and enjoy a break in the routine – it was really special to see the excitement on the kids faces, to hear them understanding the messages that a healthy lifestyle and looking after each other can make a difference in preventing many cancers. And great to see how they embraces us as riders and we’re full of interesting questions… I was quizzed at length about my shoes and the pockets in the back of my cycling top!!
Looking forward to tonight’s dinner and our final day tomorrow which will both be filled with emotion, I have two things I will take away with me in addition to knowing we have raised funds and awareness to help prevent and cure cancer.
Firstly, I have reminded myself that I am capable of so much more than I think. The night before the ride I received an inspiring message from my parents re-telling the story of when I first learnt to ride a bike when I was around 4 years old. I actually still remember setting off without the training wheels along the pavement and chanting out loudly “I WILL DO IT”. I have been riding a road bike for 12 weeks and tomorrow I will complete 300kms in 3 days riding in esteemed Tour De Cure company, raising over $12,000. I must continue to set myself goals and test my ability to be the best I can.
Secondly, I have been reminded over and over again how amazing human beings can be. If you open a newspaper or turn on the TV it’s easy to forget this. We have formed a Tour 200 team with a cross section of both Westpac and sponsor employees of all levels, but when the peloton rolls out everyone is there for each other. We know we’ve formed both useful relationships and deep bonds, but as we leave the TDC bubble I will take away the mantra that generosity of spirit is the most important trait I can tap into at both work and home.
If you’ve read a few additions of EyesUp Rolling you’ll know I’ve mentioned several of the people I have been training and riding for. They have all sat on my shoulder when things got tough in the past two days, and I know they’ll be there tomorrow too. I have heard their voices and seen their faces, and continued to draw the inspiration to take just one more pedal stroke.
I’ll be keeping my EyesUp in the mighty Peloton 3 for one more day – the Westpac Tour 200 will come to an end tomorrow. But the Tour De Cure bubble won’t be bursting, it will continue to growand float higher.
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