#S2B2018: Prologue

Sydney to Brisbane 2018 1000KM Cycle Challenge for suicide prevention charity RUOK?

I landed in Sydney on Thursday evening, tired and emotional after a fight with Etihad Airlines which I, so far, have lost. As we came in to land the sunshine welcomed me from the bleak northern hemisphere winter, into an inviting southern hemisphere summer, and a likely +20C swing.

By the time I'd disembarked the aircraft, cleared security and retrieved my bike and kit from the baggage carousel, the sun had slipped beyond the horizon and darkness engulfed this famous city. I stepped outside of the terminal and immediately noticed all the plants seemed to be wet. Oh, how cool is that, the airport water the plants each evening. Then I realised it wasn't some elaborate watering system, it was absolutely hammering down with rain. Am I in the right place?

I ordered an uber over the free airport wifi and "Dan" arrived within a couple of minutes. We stuffed my bike bag on the back seat, my kit in the boot and me in the passenger seat, and headed off towards the Eastern Suburbs, to rendezvous with an old school friend and his family, none of whom I'd seen for a couple of years. After a brief catch-up, a beer and a cup of Yorkshire Tea, I headed to bed for an early night, exhausted from the stressful journey.

Next morning I enjoyed a lively breakfast, catching up with my goddaughter and her sister before they headed off to school and I headed off to the backyard to build my bike. I have to say, if you travel with a bike, do yourself a favour if you have not already, and get yourself the Scicon Aerocomfort Travel Bag. I love this bag, it's such a step-up in class from my old bag, and it makes packing your bike as simple as taking off the wheels and clipping the frame into the bag.  No need to take off the saddle or pedals, or turn the handlebars. Leave your set-up exactly as you ride. 

 

Setting-up the bike took no time at all and we soon headed out in the direction of Bondi for a bit of a leg-loosener and to shake off the jetlag of about 30 hours on the move and a 04:00 start to get the early flight. We had a nice gentle hour down to the beach and cruising around the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, amongst the millionaire mansions.  Not a flat yard, nearly 500 m ascent in 25 km! Here's the ride on Strava.

 

My FiftyOne appears to have survived the travel in good shape, and I made it back to base with minimal tweaks to the setup. I'm looking forward to seeing how it shapes up over the course of the next week or so. I've barely dared to venture out on this magnificent machine during the harsh northern European winter, he definitely seems to enjoy the Aussie sunshine. The evening involved a great catch-up with my schoolfriend and family over a few beers. And some wine. And some whisky.

Saturday morning didn't really happen. We slept in and had a lazy late lunch. We finally ventured out to Centennial Park for another light spin mid-afternoon. We were accompanied this time by my mate's daughter, who rode out with us and did laps of the kids track while we cycled around the main loop. I don't think I've ever seen so much Rapha in one place at the same time!  Here's our ride on Strava

By Saturday evening my brother and team had arrived in Sydney, having driven the support vehicle down from Brisbane over two days, and we met up for some carb loading in Manly. We found an intriguingly named Italian Restaurant just off the front. Somehow Cafe Fiasco seemed like an appropriate name. A bucket of pasta and a couple of cheeky beers were hastily sunk, while last minute plans for the morning were confirmed.

 

We embark at 06:30 in the morning. We will be joined by a representative from the suicide prevention charity RUOK?, who we have been raising funds for, to get some publicity photos done, then we will be on our way - 1,000+ KM along the Gold Coast to Brisbane. Bags are packed, kit is laid out ready, porridge is on the kitchen counter waiting to be devoured at 05:00 in the morning. I will try to update this blog each night with news of the day and a few photos of the ride. Wish us luck!

 

Please help us reach our fundraising target of $10,000 by donating at our Everyday Hero page. Thank you.

 In loving memory of our lost friend Ed Skuza.


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