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RideWest 2024 - Day 3

Day 3

Chinchilla – Roma



This morning’s outlook was beyond bleak. Soul crushing.  Waking to find the skies still grey – the water still pouring down – the temperature still struggling to get just out of single figures.  What made it more challenging today was the knowledge of what was ahead, but today our cyclists were a little more prepared for the weather… all the wet weather kits were on, some more inventive than others, and the garbage bag couture game was on point! So with determination, courage and a ‘real’ coffee under our belts thanks to Silver Sponsor Gravity Espresso, and their mater barrister Paul coming out to serve fresh hot coffees this morning the team was ready to get on the road a little after 6am.


The operational team wanted to be sure the conditions were safe enough to get the peloton on the road, so sent some cars ahead to survey the roads. Potholes were assessed, water depths were tested (by support crew volunteering to walk through each decent puddle!) and radars were closely monitored.  The call was made it was safe to proceed and so the team hit the road knowing it was likely that the rain would follow us all the way to Roma – some 220km (11+ hours away).


Today’s saviours were the locals from Condamine, both the Condamine Bell Campdraft and rugby Club families came down to the Condamine Cods Clubhouse and showed us some of the kindest hospitality we’ve seen on RideWest. Over 50 towels were brought down to dry off and warm up our cyclists.  Chub and Hen bringing every available towel from their home!  The undercover area of the clubhouse was such a welcome reprieve if only for 30 mins.

The Cods also opened up their merchandise store to help the riders with extra dry clothing to keep warm.  We ended up clearing out almost a whole season’s worth of rain jackets and beanies. Our new unofficial sponsor of RideWest as there was more of the Condamine Cods Green in our peloton than the RideWest orange today. But what a blessing – several riders commented they wouldn’t have made it through the cold today without their new Condamine rain jackets.


Unfortunately after our stop at Condamine – there would be no more cover for the rest of the day, with only roadside stops available on the way into Roma.  Lunch was hosted under a couple of gazebos, and we were grateful that the weather broke temporarily – allowing us to eat almost in the dry.  What was a challenge at lunch, was the monster mosquitos – we are talking almost 10c piece in size!!  What became another first on this ride, was the need to swap out the sunscreen application for the mosquito repellent as if there weren’t enough challenges for our riders to face.


Lunch did provide another opportunity for our second round of Golden Spoon Award entries to be sampled.  Today the audible appreciation for Danny’s Italian Almond Cookies Paste di Mandorla, put him in serious contention for the spoon – some claiming they rivalled the “Straddie Bars” from St Ruth's yesterday.

Throughout the final couple of legs into Roma, we were rallied on by the supporters who came out roadside to show their appreciation and love for our riders.  Frazer had a visit from his mother and sister,  Elyse’s family who has been following us since Day 1 stood roadside in the rain to cheer her on. We had our first emu spotting – a few roos and wallabies – noticeably getting more rural with each hour that passes.

At the 199km mark – the team were really trying hard to hold it together – relying on each other, supporting each other and making it all the way into Roma, past the iconic bottle trees and safely to our final stop for the evening.

What an incredible achievement, to get 36 cyclists through some of the toughest conditions we have seen in 14 years of RideWest safely across 220km.  The riders didn’t get into the motel until after 5:30 almost 12 hours after departing Chinchilla.

But tonight we celebrated – as Rob (Ride Captain) shared this was his best day on the bike ever.  He was so incredibly proud of the teamwork that took place and the care that each and every person in in team showed.  It is through the most adverse conditions that the strongest bonds are formed.  Tonight we are all a little bit closer, a little bit dearer and a little bit more loved.  

We are all feeling incredibly privileged to be a part of something so special. Never losing sight of why we are doing this  - driven by the need to make a difference. To be a part of the solution in getting more mental health support services to regional and remote areas of Queensland.


Together with all those who achieved a PB yesterday and have advanced on that again today, we had two new riders today who reached their new PB:

·       John Bryant

·       Sagadevan Mundree

Congratulations to these gents and all of the team for surviving today –  cheers to being able to see the stars in Roma tonight – may the skies remain clear until morn!


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