Canberra to Adaminaby. 178kms with 2105m of climbing. Today was our biggest climbing day so far. We met for breakfast at the Woolworths at the Canberra Airport, where Stephanie, Mum, Luke and Kirsty were all waiting for us. Woolies is a major sponsor for the Tour and without their continuing support, Tour de Cure would have to cover these costs from their own pocket.
We had to say good bye to our guest riders at breakfast and Sunrise cross with Mark Beretta. They have been with us for the first two days and it has been a pleasure to ride along side them. Hopefully we will see some of them coming back to do more with TdC in the future.
With three pelotons on the road today and no school visits, we were trying to get into our final destination for this afternoon a bit earlier so we might have a bit of down time. Things were going well in my peloton. We had a perfect run through to morning tea (about 60kms). A quick bite to eat, a coffee from Tom and Gerry and I was ready to go again.
It was about 50kms to our lunch stop and we were moving at a great pace! We hadnt had any mechanical problems or flat tyres all day and the weather was in our favour. There was definitely some chill in the air, but not too bad. Over the first two legs, we had a bit climbing. mostly very gradual grade roads that were "nice" on the legs. The group stayed together up and over the climbs with some of the stronger riders on the front setting and maintaining a really good pace for us. So good in fact, that we had to stop a couple of times on the side of the road to give the first peloton some space before we got too close to them.
The last 10kms before lunch were a bit testing. There were some sore bodies around and we were all ready for some food. We arrived at the lunch just as it stated to spit with rain. Nothing major, just a few spots. For lunch today, we had, pasta salad, cooked salmon, baked potatoes, baked ham in mustard sauce and all the usual sides and trimmings. Dessert was chocolate brownie, custard and ice-cream. Yummo!
After lunch there was another 70kms to go until we reached Adaminaby for the night. Not only was it out longest legs for the day, but there was also the longest climb so far for this tour. We were ready to go for it and get home for a nice warm shower. The three pelotons merged into two for the final leg and I got moved into the first group. A few easy kms to get the legs warmed up after stopping at lunch and we were ready to tackle the climb. The grade of the climb was not too bad, it was just long. The group muscled together and we egged each other on. The camaraderie of the Tour de Cure group is just amazing! No one gets left behind and everyone is willing to help someone whois hurting. We could see the top and we could see people cheering us on from ahead.
We crested the top of the climb together. Everyone had done such a great job riding and working together. It was a slow grind to the top, but its just a warm-up for whats in store for us in the coming days. as we rolled past the first "cheers squad", we heard music up ahead. Stephanie and Mum were standing on the side of the road shaking their pom-poms and pumpin tunes from the car stereo to get us pumped for the final 15 or so kms. As I rolled past I had my breathe taken away for a second. (not just because I had ridden to the top...) A tear came to my eye and my legs suddenly felt like I could take on Cavendish for stage finish. (If only!) I was kind of taken back for a moment and remembered that I wasnt here to worry about if I would make it over the mountains or not. I am here to raise awareness for cancer prevention and I have a lot of support in doing so. My family and my donators have been amazing and I cant thank them enough for the support they have a given and continue to give to me. So lets go out and smash these hills!!!
One of our photographers on tour this year has brought his camera copter. A very cool piece of machinery that is going to be filming us from above as we ride. I saw some snippets of footage back at the hotel this afternoon and I cant wait to see what Aaron can capture whilst he flies his toy around us!
Both pelotons arrived safely into Adaminaby with a small amount of time to do some stretching and recovery before dinner. There were a number of mechanical issues over the ride today for some riders, but hopefully as the weather starts to clear up, so do the number of problems we are having with bike maintenance. Dinner was held at the local pub and we had an awesome home cooked roast meal. Even better was dessert! Home cooked apple pie and ice-cream!
Dinner tonight was hosted by my fellow Queensland riders Darren and David. They both shared their stories and reasons for being on tour and part of the team. They are both very inspirational people and I am very glad to have known them through our training lead-up to tour this year.
Its now 10:09pm and I need to get some sleep! Luckily for me, my team gets to have a one hour sleep-in in the morning. So I will say good night and Ill talk to you tomorrow.