If you had a chance to catch the nightly news you likely heard that shares in Pharmaceutical companies have sky rocketed today.  Apparently a dozen middle aged many riding through Gippsland in Victoria have cleaned out every chemist from Bairnsdale to Morwell.

I commented at our lunch break that we were all in danger of becoming drug addicts.  You name it, it's likely been consumed by one of the M3 Riders at some stage today.  Panadol, Panadiene, Nurofen, Voltaren Tablets, Voltaren Cream, insect repellant, sun cream, Deep Heat, Sorbolene, Vaseline, Butt Cream, knee bandages, and the list goes on and on.  The way that some of the boys were behaving in the front pack makes me think that perhaps at lunch some other drugs that you can't buy over the counter at your local pharmacy may have been consumed as well! (I'll leave it up to you to guess who among us would be likely to misbehave - but check out YouTube there's likely to be a video go up later this evening that could go viral among M3 supporters).

We awoke to a beautiful morning in Bairnsdale.  The sun was shining and it was quite mild.  Easily the warmest morning we've experienced to date. It would seem however that our Saturday morning winter training rides and the previous days of this trip have conditioned us to the fact that you must start your ride with about 14 layers of clothing.  It wasn't long before one by one like scheduled Pit Stops the M3 boys started to pull over to the side of the road and remove their clothing layer by layer.  There were also lots of toilet stops.  It seemed that every time we passed a tree someone would stop to relieve himself!  Terry must have stopped about five times within the first two hours. Each time another layer of clothing would come off and another tree would be marked as his territory.  Think maybe he was inventing a new game called Strip Cycling or something. Perhaps it was that the Peleton (which is the French word used to describe the main pack of riders.  Hereafter referred to as 'The Mob') was moving too slow for Terry so he decided to fall back and practice his sprinting to catch us up all them time.

Well this went on for a couple of hours until everyone was basically wearing their OCF jerseys and a pair of cycling knicks. (in some cases two pairs - apparently this helps if you have a sore bum.  Think I'll be giving it a go tomorrow)  Graeme and Sam in Support Car 2 must have a huge pile of sweaty clothes in there somewhere.  Would have been a smelly drive for them today I'd say.

Once we all settled down into a rhythm I remarked to Ian how 'mundane' things seemed to be in comparison to previous days of riding.  Instead of the majestic foothills of the lower NSW and Victorian Snowy Mountains we were looking out over seemingly endless miles of paddocks.  I likened it to a picture of life.  Sometimes the wind is blowing, sometimes the scenery's magnificent, sometimes you on the mountain top, sometimes you're in the valley and sometimes life is just mundane but you've gotta keep plodding along during those times that seem a bit of a trudge.  If you stay faithful in what you're doing and keep doing it day in day out you'll eventually reach you goal.  The scenery reminded me of Jill's home town Goolgowi out west of Griffith NSW.  The only difference was that here the dirt was brown, not red.  We made steady progress at about 23-24 km/hr along the 'flat as a pancake' roads and arrived at our half way point at Maffra (not Mafia, some of the boys misread the sign) by about 11.45am.  Things were fairly relaxed and everyone was in a good mood.  Come to think of it, that may have been from the amount of pain killing drugs that the boys had consumed during those Pit Stops I spoke of above.  After a relaxing hour's break where the boys consumed all manner of foods not generally recommended as part of a staple diet for long distance cyclists we set off again. I saw arrayed on the our dining tables hamburgers, battered fish, egg and bacon rolls, meat pies, sausage rolls and what seemed like the equivalent of a sack of spuds worth of chips.

After lunch things started to change.  Instead of the relatively smooth ride we experienced in the morning the effects of the heat started to set in.  As you know Pastor Fred has been putting in a mammoth performance each day and today was no different.  Previously he'd struggled with malnutrition, today it was the heat...

(An aside - These boys complain about everything, it's too cold, it's too windy, I don't like dirt roads, my bum hurts, my knees hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts, I've got a headache, I've got heartburn, I've got sunburn, these mozzies are a menace, I can't hear you I have my headphones in (Terry) and now today they took to complaining that it's too hot!  Seriously you'd think they were on a 1000km ride or something. As Kenny put it so aptly on Facebook yesterday, "Every cloud has a silver lining.  Sometimes the pain in my knee takes my mind off the pain in my butt.  And sometimes the pain in my butt is so intense it takes my mind of the pain in my knee." Hahaha.  Incidentally if you're not a friend of Kenny on Facebook I'd suggest you request to become one.  He is one witty man and has an uncanny ability to sum up the everyday events of life in pithy statements.  I'm sure if you just mentioned in your request that you've been following the blog he'd be happy to accept your friend request. His Facebook address is http://www.facebook.com/ozonnell and his Twitter address is http://twitter.com/ozonnell)

Well back to Fred.  When it became clear that he was going to struggle to keep up with Mob 2 (Mob 1 abandoned us after lunch in search of greener pastures) I took it upon myself to push Fred most of the second half of the day.  I was ably assisted by Neil late in the day and the rest of the boys in Mob 2 that took turns at the front of the Mob to provide some wind resistance.  Now before you think that's cheating, you need to know that Pastor Fred rode his bike the entire way.  We just provided him with a bit more oomph for each rotation of the pedal.  Not really any different to having people ride in front of you in the Mob.  This wasn't my idea, I saw Sebastian do it for a few kilometres earlier in the day and it gave me the idea to try it once he .  Didn't think I'd be pushing him along for 77km though.  (Not sure if I'm allowed to award myself a prize but hey it's my blog so I can do what I want.  "I hereby award myself the Bear Grylls Award for Day 6.) Anyway I really enjoyed it.  Gave me a chance for a good workout and the flat terrain is more suited to my slender, handsome and fully muscular physique anyway!

(Speaking of physical attractiveness that leads me to another aside.  Last night over dinner Craig tells us that he doesn't really need Vicki around any more because his smooth, tanned and shapely legs are a turn on.  He said he looks at them in the morning, gives them a stroke and says "Hey Trautchy, you're a bit of all right." Too funny!)

Be right back.  I've been summoned to come and eat some of Mario's spaghetti Alfredo or Carbonara or whatever it is...

Right then, back again but about 2 1/2 hours after I thought I'd be.  We've just had the opportunity to hear from Charles about his own personal battle with aggressive bowel cancer five years ago in which he was given a 50/50 chance of survival. He went on to explain how he became involved with OCF as their Sales and Marketing Director.  Truly an inspiring story in so many ways and once again confirmed to us that what we are involved with on this ride is very significant.  There's far too much to write in my blog but I've had a couple of people suggest we write a book about our trip.  Suffice for now to say that the money you guys have donated to OCF is having significant impact on finding a cure for childhood cancers and as a bi-product of their funded research we may be on the way to curing Melanoma, one of Australia's most deadly cancers.

We've briefly discussed tonight the prospect of the book and are thinking of using my blog as the basis for and e-Book, include all the pictures, social networking comments and perhaps a chapter from each rider telling the story of from their own perspective.  I asked Charles to include a chapter covering the story that he's just told us and he said he'd love to. Very exciting. Watch this space.  As the ride has progressed we've seen that what seemed relatively menial, a dozen guys going on a cycling trip has become increasingly significant to many people and are now thinking big.  Who knows?  God willing we may be able to expand the concept of a charity ride across all the C3 churches in the country.  Pray that if it's the Lord's will that he would open the doors for us in the coming years.

Anyway it's getting pretty late and we're going to be riding out at 6.00am tomorrow morning to ensure that we have time to shower and show up for church at C3 Bayside by 6pm.  We've decided to alter our route in order to assume we all make it on time and are now going to follow the Princes Freeway all the way to Melbourne.  We've checked it out and it will cut about 35km off our trip and has far less hills. Truth is it looks like it will be even flatter than today.  You little ripper!  We've just been checking out the new route on Google Maps street view and it's a safe road with a shoulder wide enough to fit our support vehicles the whole way.  On top of that it should be relatively quiet being a Saturday.

Before I go to catch some zzzzzs...

The Day 6 Roadkill report. Very tame in comparison to our previous days.
  • New to the list
    • Fox (2)
    • Turtle (2)
  • Previously on the list
    • Snake (2)
I may not have a chance to bring you the final day's blog until I'm en route back to Sydney in the bus on Sunday.  I'll do my best to publish it tomorrow night but given the hectic day I may not have a chance.

Enjoy your Saturday, speak soon,



Anonymous said...

If your dog starts biking with you when still young, it will quickly learn that bikes stay on the trail, so it needs to get OFF the trail when a bike is approaching or overtaking it. If your dog doesn't "get it," you'll need to do some training. Have a second biker come with you. Dog Trailers in Melbourne

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