Charity Trust Bike Ride 2009
The 2009 Charity Bike Ride was an ambitious endeavour by anyone’s reckoning. The plan was to pedal from Hobart to Burnie via the Great Lake, a distance of 410kms with a little hill in the middle. All proceeds raised from this years ride were going to benefit Ronald McDonald House in Hobart.
During the ride $4,260 would be spent in supporting local communities on the way and at the completion – a total of $32,000 would be raised for Ronald McDonald House.
The 2009 Bike Ride commenced at the start of the Cycleway at the Domain, where (due to last minute injuries), 39 riders and 8 support crew were gathered. The support crew were running around completing last minute jobs, and the riders were lying to each other about how much training they had or hadn’t done.
The group rolled out at 8.30 am on Friday the 27th of November with Acting Commissioner Hine who was joining the bunch for the first stage of the ride. Our first stage would take us along the Derwent River through New Norfolk eventually pulling away from the river and heading into the hills to start the climbing. At the 50km mark the first hill appeared and they didn’t stop until another 50kms had been ridden into Bothwell.
A magnificent country lunch was provided by the Bothwell District School Parents and Friends as a fundraiser for their organisation, and the riders appreciated every mouthful.
The weather looked threatening but the riders mounted their bikes and headed off as a bunch into the hills again to start the long 60km leg to Miena. The climbing was intense and riders needed to keep their energy levels up, but as one rider grabbed at an energy gel another rider appeared to make an attack, so to stop it the first rider threw their body over the handlebars and caused our first crash. Thankfully there were no injuries and the attack was reeled in.
The fog settled in as we climbed through the Steppes which created a very eerie scene as the riders rolled up out of the mist, and it also made it impossible to see the top of a climb.
At the end of a long 160km (100 miles for our older readers) day all riders arrived at The Great Lake Hotel at Miena having risen from sea level to an elevation of 1200 metres. That was the little hill mentioned earlier. The Miena Community Centre catered for tea that night and plates were seen to be stacked high with carbohydrates, and everybody seemed pleased with what had been achieved over the day.
It rained a lot Friday night and some of us thought it might have rained itself out. We were wrong. Saturday morning saw dark clouds over head so we rolled out and headed towards Arthurs Lake when the rain started.
The best thing about the weather was that when the lightning flashed it improved visibility enough to see through the rain. Riders were met at the top of the long descent by the support vehicle to don rain jackets and warm clothing in preparation for the ride down past Poatina and into Cressy.
It was pouring and little rivers were flowing down the road, at one stage a river had actually overflowed and was flowing across the road causing riders to be submerged up to their pedals in dirty brown water. These charity rides are never dull.
The riders pulled into the Cressy District School and were fed by the Parents and Friends Association as another fundraiser. The overhead heaters were a popular gathering point for saturated, shivering riders who were getting out dry clothing for the afternoon stage to Deloraine.
The best thing about the weather in Tasmania is how quickly it changes. Riders took off in light drizzle and 10 minutes later were in need of sun block. Saturday saw a distance of 150kms covered in the worst and the best of conditions.
All the ride participants had a BBQ dinner provided by Down Syndrome Tasmania on Saturday night, and the food was out of this world. Even the weight conscious riders partook of the cheesecakes and meringues.
Sunday awoke to clear skies, a tail wind and 100kms to go to the finish at Burnie. The bunch rolled out of Deloraine, and turned off the Bass Highway at Elizabeth Town to head towards Railton.
The pace was on, but one rider suffered a broken seat clamp 2kms out of Railton and had to pedal standing. A spare seat was organised and was finally fitted 30kms later at Devonport. The rider was very happy to finally sit down, which was surprising after all that time in the saddle.
The final kilometres into Burnie were at a cracking pace and everybody grouped up for the final roll to the Burnie Surf Club. At the end of it all, 39 riders and 8 support crew arrived at Burnie to be welcomed by friends and family and a BBQ provided by the Burnie Surf Lifesaving Club.
A successful ride complete. $32,000 in total was raised to assist Ronald McDonald House who have since advised that these funds were utilised to install a new kitchen and replace carpet in the hallways of all three levels of the House. The Charity Trust recognises that Ronald McDonald House provides vital community support by looking after approximately 400 families each year. The Tasmania Police Charity Trust look forward to assisting Ronald McDonald House at future events.
(27-29 November 2009)