State of Origin Tour - Day 2 – Boonah to Kilarney – 86.5km

This morning we got up, had breakfast and then rolled out. We had a
10km ride as warm-up before we reached the start of our team time
trials. This was a 5km stretch where each team was timed from start to
finish. This was a good bit of fun. The riders in my team were Cory,
Alex and myself. It gave us a chance to push ourselves a little and
roll with some good pace. In the time trial we overtook the CommBank
team. It was a great feeling and definitely got our competitive side
going.

As we were heading towards the bottom of our big climb for the day we
had to ride through two floodway crossings. The first one we rolled
through was fine, but I was unlucky enough to be one of three riders
to hit the deck going through the second one. There was a moss build
up in this crossing, which made it very slippery. Thankfully no one
was badly hurt, just a couple of grazes. This also resulted in the
first scratches on my four-month-old bike, which was a little sad.

Throughout tour it is likely that a lot of the riders will have one
day where they struggle. Today was hands down the hardest day I have
ever had on the bike. We had two 3km climbs that were absolutely
brutal. Everyone took them at their own pace. It was in these climbs
that I began to hurt and it got my heart racing. There were a couple
of times that I had to stop and catch my breath before hopping back on
the bike, trying to ride up the next section of the climb. However, I
was very determined that no matter what, I was going to make it to the
top holding my bike. This did involve me walking some of the steepest
bits. I am proud to say that I did make it. I also have to say that
the whole TdC team are one big family when we are away on tours and it
is in sections of the ride like we had today that you really get to
see this. Throughout the climb everyone was encouraging each other and
trying to help everyone get through those tough bits. I also had my
brother Cory sit with me for a bit while I was hurting and he helped
to keep me going. The main thing that did push me to get through the
climbs though was our amazing mechanic Alex Malone. This did involve
him literally pushing me a couple of times so that I could get a start
on some of the hills after I had taken a breather. He also sat with me
giving me the words of encouragement I needed to hear to get me
through. On the second climb he rode up it at the front of the group
then rode back down to where there were a few of us at the back
struggling, to encourage us to keep pushing. There was no blood today
but there was plenty of sweat and tears. There were also plenty of
hugs from family and friends when I eventually made it to the top of
both climbs.

Top of first ascent

Top of first ascent

Despite the tough climbs, the scenery was just magical. At the top of
the two climbs was our lunch stop. Everyone was glad to have a bit of
a break from the bike and dig into some food. From lunch we had a 30km
stretch to a school presentation and our endpoint for the day.
Thankfully this was pretty much all downhill. We had our stretching
session and then had a little bit of downtime before the community
dinner for the night. Tonight my sister Jacinta and I were hosting the
dinner. This meant that we got to share with everyone how and why we
became involved with TdC. This was very emotional for me as our family
has a very strong connection with cancer. I did my best to try and get
through what I had to say. Once again I was given great support from
the rest of the TdC team. After dinner we enjoyed some time around the
fire and heard some great poems. That’s it for another day. I’m tired
and sore and have an early morning. Time to get to bed.

Alex and Zac at the top of the ascent

Alex and Zac at the top of the ascent