What a day! My team had a sleep in because we had such a hard day in the saddle yesterday. The extra hour was awesome! I left the hotel with my 5 other team mates and met everyone at Marks sunrise cross at the Bendigo primary school. Another team did the school presentation before we made a move to complete our 180km day to Benalla. We saw some really amazing country side today and some really pretty country towns. We also had a few guest riders, that will be with us tomorrow also. Paul beretta has also joined us for a couple of days and I think it has given Mark a bit of a lift. We left Bendigo, with the sunrise crew and Mark for some more filming whilst we rode. I was put in the "engine room" for the first section, but I'm not sure now that it was a good idea... The "engine room" is a turn used for the lead six riders who rotate amounts themselves on the front of the peloton to drag to the group along at a consistent pace. It was also team time trial day today. We did about 70kms to the start point, for a 16km time trial. On our team we have five guys and one girl rider. We lined up on the start line for the count down. On leaving the line, our female rider rubbed wheels with the rider in front and "hit the deck". She was fine but a bit shaken... She normally competes in triathlons and was already worried about the time trial being out of her comfort zone. We re-grouped ourselves and lined for a second crack. A clean start was had by all and we were off. Our pace was up and down, but we pulled together and did a great job. Results haven't been released to us yet, but I'm pretty sure we will be at the lower end of the times. It was just for a bit of fun anyway.
Morning tea was served and we refilled our water bottles and left for our lunch destination. It was already after 12:00 and some of the guys were feeling the power draining without having eaten a proper meal in a while... We battled a huge cross wind which saw us taking turns on each side of the peloton to give the rider next to us a chance to recover a bit while you battled end wind, before changing swapping places again.
Lunch as always was awesome! Rice, chicken stir fry, beef and black bean, crunchy salad, roast vegetables, etc. orange cake, ice scream and chocolate sauce for desert.
By this stage it was getting into late afternoon and there were many sore bodies around. We had a quick stretch before heading out to our destination of Benalla. Still battling winds and hitting a few small climbs on the way, my motor was running on near empty. It had been another very long day in the saddle.
I did however get a chance to meet and ride with some new people, which was great. One person I rode with today, Nathan Jones (a guest rider) will be in my memory for ever. This man has a terminal form of cancer and he shared with me some of the treatments and things he has been through to try and stop this disease. He is a father of 3 young girls. This man is riding for his life at the moment, in hope that the money we raise will help the brainy people find a cure for disease. When I was riding next to Nathan and sharing each others stories, it really hit home about why I am here and pushing through all my muscle pain and tiredness. I am riding for him! I am riding for people in Nathan's position, who are normal, ordinary people who want to spend time with their families and live a normal life disease free. Nathan is on drugs for the rest of his life until a cure can be found. He gave me a boost of motivation to help me make it through the next 4 days I have on tour. When we arrived in Benalla, I shook Nathan's hand, gave him a hug and told him how much of a pleasure it was to ride beside today.
It has been a had day on the bike for everyone. Probably my hardest day on tour so far. Over 400kms in 2 days has really taken its toll on us. We had a fantastic community dinner at the local bowls club tonight. TdC gave $5000 to the Camp quality charity organisation. I met Jans family who live pretty locally and came to see her tonight before she arrives in Canberra. So that was nice way to end the day after having a bit of a crash.
Have also been doing some custom mods to my bike...
My Garmin broke early into tour and it has been very annoying not being able to see what speed we are doing and how far we have to go for the day. So I have had to tape in on each day... Pretty pro!!!
Well off to bed now. Should be a pretty nice day tomorrow. A lazy 130kms in the saddle!