Its a bit late I know... Sorry.
Sleep in for our final morning on tour! Yipeee!
Breakfast was at 7am with my group rolling out at 8am. The last day on tour is always a special one. Everyones legs are hurting and bodies are tired, but our faces don't show an ounce of pain. We all know that our journey will be over in 150kms time and that is both good and bad.
It means we don't have to kit up at 4:30am and pedal on a bike the next day, but it also means that we have to go back to our desk jobs and leave the "Tour Bubble" as its called. Its a nice place to be, full of amazing people doing amazing things. Its always sad to leave.
We also know that our family and friends will be waiting to greet us at Albert Park in Melbourne and also back home, and I personally could not wait to see them!
With our blue commemorative jerseys on, we rolled out of breakfast in Geelong and pedalled our way towards Melbourne. We rode 40kms to get to the Ferry so we could cross the Bay to Sorrento. Its always a pretty cool feeling when we do something out of the ordinary, like roll onto a ferry with 120 cyclists! :)
After a 30min ferry ride, we had 53kms to get to out lunch stop. We were also turning into the wind... This was something we had gotten used on this years trip. We made great time and pushed through the pain knowing that there was going to be some awesome Canadian Kitchen's food waiting for us. This would also be the final meal of tour from our tour caterers. Kris and his team do an amazing job and its hard to believe he can cater for so many people whilst on the road. Kris's food is always a highlight of tour! And, hes a Queenslander!!!
After lunch, we were on the home run. 43kms to our meeting point with the whole team before we roll into the finish as one big peloton. This last section for the day is a great time to look back on the past 9 days and reflect on what we have achieved as a team and why we are out here pushing ourselves to exhaustion. We have visited thousands of kids and adults through 13 school visits and the different communities along our route. The 2015 Signature Tour has managed to raise over 2 MILLION DOLLARS for Tour de Cure and to date Tour de Cure have raised over 4.2 MILLION DOLLARS for this financial year! That is an amazing amount of money in such a short time and I am so proud and honoured to be part of such an incredible organisation.
The day had just flown by at this point. There was a lot of chatter in the group and we all could not wait to see that finish line! All the hard work had been done!
We re-group and waited for Channel Seven to set up for the final bit of filming with Mark Beretta for the tour. At this point we have about 120 riders together in one massive peloton. We are sorted out into the years we have been on tour starting up the front of the group with people with the most years. I take a look behind me at the long line of cyclists. I am number 32 in the group. It looks so good seeing everyone together for the final run home.
Its hard to describe the feeling of crossing the finish line after 9 days and over 1400kms in the saddle. The emotional journey we have taken part in and the highs and lows of being on tour is all coming to a close.
As we see the crowd lining the street ahead of us, we look for those familiar faces. We are home!
When I arrived at the finish line, I got to meet a very special lady. I had been speaking with Marie-Louise Pawsey while on tour after she emailed me in response to my tour dedication for her Mum and Brother. (Click here to read)
Marie-Louise lives in Melbourne and we had rolled across the line on the 11th anniversary of her Mum's passing.
It was fantastic to meat another member of the Pawsey family and a real reminder as to why I continue to support Tour de Cure with their fight against cancer. It was so nice of her to take the time to come and greet the team as we arrived in Melbourne. These moments are very special.
There may have been another highlight of this tour that I had failed to mention so far... On this years team, we had a very special riding member. Jens Voigt is a former German Pro cyclist and one of the biggest names in the cycling world. He has worn the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, won the Criterium International 5 times and in 2014 he set a new hour record to name a few of his achievements.
Im not sure that Tour de Cure could have partnered with a better person to help represent the organisation. After spending 10 days on and off the bike with Jens getting to know him, I have an even bigger appreciation for the man he is. He is a down to earth family man who genuinely loves life and the people around him. I cant think of a time I saw him without a smile on his face. He turned up to tour with an amazing attitude and rode with the team for all the right reasons. He made us all laugh and never put himself above anyone in the team.
He told me that he cant wait to come back and do it all again with TdC, and I really hope he means it!
All in all, the Tour de Cure 2015 Signature Tour was a great success!!!
We battled the elements, heard some inspiring stories, met some amazing people, made memories that will last a lifetime and raised a fantastic amount of money to help find a cure for cancer.
I need to say a massive THANK YOU to all my supporters, followers, donators, friends and family. Without all of you, I would not be able to support Tour de Cure in the way I have over the past 3-4 years.
My 2015 Signature Tour may be over, but the fight is not. Together we can find a cure for cancer!