The Great Bike Ride

Sunday, August 15, 2010

7 days, 700 kms later....

Well, after months of preparation, and expectation, it’s all over now – I’m not quite sure what to do with myself! Back to my golf game?!

I’m proud to say that I completed the entire ride without major incident(!), and had an absolute ball doing so! It was an amazing experience… we met some terrific people, enjoyed wonderful American hospitality (pork chops & all!), faced some interesting challenges (including heavy rain & lightening!) and loved every minute of it.

Quite happy that Flora & Fauna International were able to benefit as much as I did from the ride. I’m delighted to have raised more than $70,000 for FFI (over target!) – all thanks to your support and generosity. Thank you.

And so, goodbye! This will be my final blog entry…. Until next time…?!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day Seven: Manchester to Dubuque

76kms, 2,591ft. All done! 7 days, 700kms. A few challenges along the way, but mainly had a ball!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day Six: Waterloo to Manchester

100kms, 2,340ft. Rained heavily today. A few tactical skills helped avoid the lightening and the potential chaos from tumbling riders!! Quite a slog riding to Manchester.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day Five: Charles City to Waterloo

132kms, 2,635ft. With only 20km to go for the day, I took much pleasure in taking a pit stop at the local pub with Doug, fellow rider and good friend. Can't remember the last time I was served beverages in red plastic cups...

Day Four: Clear Lake to Charles City

83kms, 1,180ft. Camped at Clear Lake last night (yes, I camped). Great little town. Interestingly, the towns compete to have RAGRAI's 10,000 riders come through - just like the Olympics!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day Three: Algona to Clear Lake

Glad for the shorter day today - 110kms, 1,068ft climb. It's hard to ride past the best pork chops you've ever tasted! "Mr Pork Chop" is a RAGBRAI legend, who has been serving inch-and-a-half thick Iowa chops to the riders for 25 years.

Day Two: Storm Lake to Algona

135kms, flat and lo-ong. My feet started to hurt but at least it was a welcome distraction from the other aching part of my body...!

Day One: Sioux City to Storm Lake

115km, 3,500ft climb, 4.5hrs. An amazing ride! Soy beans and corn as far as the eye can see... Lovely rolling hills and interesting towns. The numerous food stops along the way helped keep the energy levels up. So far, so good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wish me luck!

Well, this is it - I fly out tomorrow to Iowa to embark on my 700km ride! My first stop will be to visit the folks at Great Western Bank, which I am very much looking forward to. Then the event kicks off on Sunday - Day One demands 68.5 miles at quite an elevated gradient! A harsh introduction to the 7 day expedition....

Thank you to all of you who have kindly sponsored me - I have raised just over $60k with your generous contributions and pledges! I am still hoping to close the gap to my $70k target.

Look forward to giving you a full account of our adventures upon my return.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The countdown begins!

Only a week to go now and watching the Tour de France has me quite motivated for my cycling adventure! Although I must say, seeing Armstrong's two crashes, torn shorts and blood soaked hands has made me wonder what I've gotten myself into! My mantra has become "it's a ride, not a race!" Which is what RAGBRAI say on their website...

I've done another couple of big rides since I last wrote. On Saturday the Luna Park riders and I ventured to Patterson River. If you cast your mind back, Saturday was a day of huge winds and it was my turn up front so I got in some serious resistance training. Ready for anything the cyclones of Iowa can throw at me now!

I'm also feeling much better - the pneumonia is loosening it's grip and I'm back up to 95% normality. I've really noticed the difference - even though Saturday was a tough ride I recovered much more quickly than I had a couple of weeks back. This will be my penultimate blog before I depart on July 22nd! Wish me luck for my final days of training...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Not too long to go....

First, for the good news. In this short space of time, I'm already half way to reaching my $70,000 target for FFI. Thanks to all of you who have navigated the web site and made a contribution.

Now, for the bad news. With only 3 weeks to go, somehow I've managed to contract a mild dose of pneumonia - not exactly what I need as I try to build up my endurance and my lung capacity. Nevertheless, I have persevered with the training, just less regularly than I would like. Since I last wrote I've managed to get in a few rides to and from Frankston with the Luna Park Riders (care of Simon Moore and other NAB colleagues), during which time I've developed a new dislike of head winds! Despite the pneumonia, each time I am recovering a little better and a little quicker than the previous ride. Doesn't make the first day in Iowa (63 miles) any less daunting.

There has also been a development in my co-riders. Tim, my son, was training even less than me and so has officially been substituted by his mother, who has been cycling more than both of us! This fact alone should help reignite my competitive spirit.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let the training begin...

True to my word, now that I'm back and located in one place for longer than a couple of days, my training has begun in earnest!

I spent part of the long weekend getting back into my riding - making my way from Melbourne to Frankston... and back again on Sunday. A grand total of 85km, only about 20km short of the average daily distance I'll be covering in Iowa. Which is a good thing - it was a tough 85km and it took me a couple of days to recover!

But I have quite a few more rides planned so I'm confident that it will get easier. This is just the beginning - by the time I get to the States I'll be doing double the distance with ease (I hope!). Of course the odd massage to aid my recovery can only help (mandatory, in fact - I'm treating myself to one today!).

For those of you bike enthusiasts out there, just thought I'd let you know that my vehicle of choice is a 2009 Time. Although I'm eyeing off the 2010 model at the moment - very sharp!

I am also delighted to let you know that my tally so far stands at over $25,000. Thanks to all of you for your support... emotional, physical and financial!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Only seven weeks to go....

... And my training isn't quite what I'd hoped it to be! I have been travelling around the world with work which hasn't left me much time for training. I'm back at home this weekend and have planned a tough training regimen to make up for lost time - don't want to let down all my loyal supporters! FFI have been keeping me in the loop and thanks to your support I've already raised over $5,000! That's a brilliant start and I'm determined to keep that tally moving up. I was also highly amused to see that I rated a mention in AFR's Rear Window - my 15 minutes of fame! And for the record, the state troopers are the least of my concerns.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Welcome to my first ever blog!

I've been persuaded to take up blogging as a way of keeping everyone up to date about my 'great bike ride' plans - this blog will be my way of sharing the highs and lows (hopefully not too many of the latter!) of my RAGBRAI experience with everyone, from training to the ride itself.

For those of you who don't yet know what I'm talking about, here's a bit of background...

Late last year I developed a bit of an obsession for cycling. More recently, given my interest in environmental sustainability, I became a Founders’ Board member with Flora & Fauna International (FFI), the world’s first international conservation.

So how are these two seemingly separate passions connected? I’ve set myself the challenge of raising $70,000 for FFI by joining 9,999 other cyclists, including my son, Tim, in RAGBRAI, a 700km ride across Iowa - the world’s oldest, largest and longest bike touring event.

I am a strong advocate of initiatives that help create a sustainable future for our planet, so I'm proud to be supporting and promoting FFI. FFI works in 40 countries and have achieved many successes for both the planet and its inhabitants, by pulling numerous species back from extinction, working to redress climate change and helping people find a sustainable and ecologically sound way of living.

While it will certainly be a test of my physical endurance, I’m looking forward to the ride and all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences it will bring – seeing new sights, meeting participants from around the world, and doing it all in the name of a great cause.

And now here comes the appeal!

If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation, please visit

I'll be updating this blog on a regular basis, so stay tuned for more!