Swansea to Hobart - 143kms with 1530m of climbing. Its the final leg of the tour and there is no letting up on the difficulty of the ridding. Although its the final day of riding, we still had a good amount of climbing to complete before we crossed the finish line.
The morning started as normal with breakfast from the Canadian Kitchen truck. Bacon and egg rolls with sides of fruit, cereal, toast, porridge, etc. There was something special in the air that morning. Last day on tour has a nice feel to it, most of the hard work is done and we have all worked very hard to get to this day. The chatter is high over breakfast as we fuel up for the riding ahead. We gather around for our morning team briefing. Geoff (our on bike lead) gives us the run-down on the terrain and what to expect over the course of the day. We rolled out as 2 pelotons for the morning and headed towards the east coast of Tasmania.
Little did we know what was in store for us after breakfast. The coastline road was amazing. As we snaked our way around the coast we got lost in the scenery. Every corner we took gave us a better view of the coast that was better than the last. We also had a helicopter follow us for the morning along the edge of the water. They were getting some footage for the documentary that will go to air on channel 7 on new years day. I cant wait to see what the crew from channel 7 do this time around! Here is a link to a sneak peak video.
The climbing for the day was definitely not something to take lightly. Although it wasnt the most we had climbed in a day so far, our bodies were pretty sore and worn out. Keeping the chit chat high in the group is key to making sure that everyone gets over the line with no worries. The views at the top also helped as a nice reward for our efforts.
Our climbing was also made easier by the support that we had on the side of the road. The call on the radios would come to us before we rounded a corner that the Morris cheer squad was up ahead. There was a small cheer from within the peloton. We could hear music coming from up the road in the mountains. Loud beats from Stephanie's car and familiar voices were heard as we approached Stephanie and Mums position on the road. Our spirits were lifted every time we rode past the cheer squad. The last "pinches" of every climb became easier, knowing we had support with us the whole way. There were many thankful riders for their dedication to helping us make it through some very tough times on the bike. This is why Stephanie and Mum received their well deserved Yellow Attitude Jerseys.
As we got closer to Hobart, the emotions and adrenalin was running high. There were mixed feelings about finishing. On one hand it was sad to have to leave the "tour bubble". A routine that we had gotten used to over the last 10 days and some great memories that will last a lifetime. But we also couldnt wait to cross the line, see our loved ones and take a break from punishing our bodies day after day on the bike. About 5-10kms out from our final destination in Hobart, the whole tour team re-grouped and shuffled ourselves into the number of Signature Tours we had completed, before having a Police escort through the City and across the line. This was now my second Signature Tour and I look forward to moving up the peloton as time goes on. I have shared this journey with some amazing and very inspirational people during this tour and I cant wait to ride with them again soon.
Along with sharing this trip with return and new riders this year, I also had the privilege of sharing it with my family. Having Dad and Zac on tour was very special. You cant understand what truly happens on tour unless you are there to experience it first hand. The work that goes on behind the scenes is incredible and it amazes me how it all comes together. Dad and Zac were part of the team this year that helped make tour run so smoothly.
When I crossed the line in Hobart, there was yet another surprise for me.. My Sister (Jacinta) was waiting for me! Wow, what a great surprise. She was the only one missing from my family along this trip and I didnt think that she was able to make it with work commitments etc. This topped tour off very nicely.
After crossing the finish line, the emotions were at their peek! Hugs all round and many congratulations were given. We had made it! Sydney to Hobart in 10 days was complete. A total of 1,642kms over 3 states and a territory and 20,323m of climbing including the Kosciuszko national park mountains and the Tasmanian hills. A massive effort by all involved!
Our final dinner took place that night by the harbour in Hobart. Our hosts for the evening ran through a few highlights from tour, the wrap-up video from the Sunrise crew and announced that Tour de Cure had raised over 2.5 million dollars to date for 2014. They are well and tryuly on their way to reaching their goal of 3 million dollars for 2014.
The final category jerseys were also given out after dinner. These jerseys are for the overall winners from tour. The recipients of the jerseys on the final night have really showed the true tour values. I am honoured to have ridden and take part along side these amazing people. They are truly deserving of their win.
Signature Tour for 2014 is now complete. I have personally raised over $14,000 dollars for this tour and I will continue to support and raise money in the future. If I can make the smallest difference to a persons battle, then my hard work is very worth while. Through the tours I have participated in so far, I have "banked" more and more reasons to continue being a part of the Tour de Cure family and helping to find a cure for cancer. I have ridden with and met some amazing and very inspirational people along the way and I see no reason for me to stop riding with Tour de Cure and creating the awareness and raising the funds needed to put cancer in the past.
Its been an emotional journey for me so far, but a very rewarding and worthwhile one to say the least.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support me. I cant thank you enough for your generosity, time and money that you have given me over my last 3 tours with TdC.
Stay tuned for a full 2014 tour wrap-up to come. There are plenty of photos, videos and memories to share from my trip.