Victorian Country Tour - Day Two

Maryborough to Dunkeld - Total riding: 170km, ascent 970m

It was a nice early start with a 4:45am wakeup call from the trusty alarm for a 5:15am breakfast. Darkness waited greet me as I stepped out of the door and there was a cold chill in the air of about 13 degrees. The riders where in high spirits after their big first day on the bike. 

“5 minutes until we roll out” was the call over the team radios... Time to jump in the car and get ready for the first leg of our day. A 56km run on the Pyrenees Highway until we reached the beautiful town of Elmhurst. We stopped beside the local golf course for some morning tea, a coffee and a short rest of the legs. Backing up after a big first day was can be hard on the body and there was still a long way to go.

Chris was my lead car navigator today and we had a fantastic day controlling things from the front. We made zero wrong turns and there were no hic-ups today.

Chris is a great guy and we had a lot of fun keeping each other occupied on the long stretches of road. Its actually harder than it sounds to drive at 20-30kms per hour over a 170km route whilst watching for traffic and making sure the riders are safe on the road... Today we resorted to reading the Lexus's user manual and playing with all the cool features that this car is equipped with, such as a heated steering wheel for those extra cold mornings. I look forward to the next 2 days of car shenanigans with my new lead car buddy.

After riding together as a peloton for one day, the riders are now really starting to get into a rhythm. The conversations in the group were flowing freely and the kilometres were being soaked up with ease. Its a wonderful feeling to ride and be a part of such an organised and fantastic bunch of like minded individuals.

From here we had 36km ahead of us to our first school visit at St Mary’s Ararat Primary. My team, Team Lexus presented our prevention message of “Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy”. As always the kids treated us like rock stars. This is an awesome part tour!

We kicked a soccer ball with the kids on the oval and chatted with them about where we have ridden while we had our lunch in the school grounds. It was very important to make sure the riders fuelled up with enough food to get them through the second half of the day ahead.

After lunch we had 77km, but during this had a stop over at Willaura Primary School to have a quick high five with the 32 kids that attend this country school.  The support crew had already done the presentation while we were on the road, so they were very excited to greet the riders when we turned up.

Dunkeld was our final destination for the day. We had one more school presentation at Dunkeld Consolidated School, of which the support crew presented the first part and Paul Fitzgerald finished off the final bits. These small schools are so much fun when we visit. The kids are always super excited to meet and greet us when we arrive.

Dinner tonight in Dunkeld, was hosted by Paul Fitzgerald and was provided by the local Bowling Club. Paul and Phil spoke about their personal journeys with cancer and the reason why they ride and support Tour de Cure. These new stories that I hear really hit home every time. It becomes an emotional time for everyone. For me, it lifts me to keep supporting and helping TdC in anyway I can.

Tonight I had the great pleasure of passing on my yellow jersey to a very special trio on tour. The catering crew do an amazing job every minute of the day. If they arent chopping and preparing for a meal in advance, they are on the road travelling to the next pit stop location to setup. These guys are the first ones out of bed in the morning to have breakfast ready and the last ones to be after making sure the truck is ready to tackle another big day. Congrats to all our very deserving jersey winners tonight who were:

Pink (inspiration) Steve Young - Yellow (attitude) Gayle Roberts, Sue Richards & Chris Cosh (The catering team) - Green (awareness) John Morton

The $5,000 cheque was presented to the Cancer Council. This money is going to help provide information and support services to the Dunkeld community. This includes access helpline, local support groups and financial assistance programs.

Today was a great day and milestone in terms of fundraising for TdC.. This Tour has almost hit $100,000, and Tour de Cure have just gone over the $1 million mark for this financial year to date.  What an incredible effort by all involved!!!

After dinner the president of the bowls club kindly offered up their bowling greens for a fierce Tour de Cure “Battle on the Greens”. The TdC team had an absolute ball and there was plenty of rivalry amounst friends.

Photo above: Chris - Jim - Phil & Paul ready to battle it out.

Tomorrow we travel up Mt William to the highest point in the Grampians. Its going to be another tough day in the saddle for the riders. Sleep is needed and its now 11:45pm with a 5:45am bag drop-off in the morning...

Talk to you tomorrow. Nighy night.