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RideWest 2024 - Day 4

Day 4

Roma to Mitchel



Oh what a glorious sight this morning to see clear blue skies – thank you to all of those who prayed for a break in the rain, today our team had optimum cycling conditions, blue sky, warm sun (not too hot) and a lovely tailwind guiding them all the way from Roma to Mitchell.


A luxurious sleep-in till 6:30 this morning, before indulging in another pro-barista-made coffee from Gravity Espresso.  A short trip into the heart of town to stop off at Pumps & Solar for a BBQ breakfast.  Thanks to Tim, Juliette and Rhonda for hosting us and putting on such a spread.  A quick photo in front of the iconic windmill and then on the road for our 90 km into Mitchell.


Now, as the writer of this blog, I could choose to omit one of the funniest elements of today’s ride in the interest of self-preservation … but I’m sure it will come up in the rider highlights anyway so here goes – while standing roadside in the support crew, cheering on the team – I decided it might give the peloton a laugh if I pretend to run alongside them for a bit, Tour De France style,  my very poor decision making did not take into account the prior two days rain and the conditions on the side of the road – slippery grass, uneven footings and a lovely little ditch perfect for rolling into… and so about 5 steps into my little jaunt, over I went, inspecting the great red dirt of Western Queensland very closely!   I achieved my goal of bringing a laugh to the peloton…and have learned my lesson, running is very dangerous! Don’t ever run again!


One of our favourite little roadside stops is our morning tea stop at Muckadilla where we pull up opposite the blue tree stumps. Blue Tree Project's mission is to help build a mentally healthy future, whilst kicking the stigma of mental health, a mission closely aligned to our own.  A few photos of the crew – some more Golden Spoon Award tastings and we were off on the final leg into Mitchell.


Each day we stop and interact with the local communities in which we pass through, meeting beautiful people and sharing stories. Today’s locals were of a tiny size, the beautiful children of Mitchell EEC.  We shared bike stories, Spiderman helmets and lots of new drink bottles!


After a Hamburger lunch in the Major Mitchell Caravan Park, we had the afternoon off to relax and unwind after a massive few days.  There was a visit to the Great Artesian Spa to soak in the hot springs, there was a stretching and Pilates session run by our very own Keely (Pilates Box – Wilston) and then there was some casual beer and chats around the ‘campfire’ (otherwise known as the RideWest esky) as the sun went down.


A highlight in Mitchell is the dinner at the Hotel Richards, where Ally and her team provided a hearty home-style meal, a winning combination of Spag Bol and Potato Bake! Sitting under the stars in long communal tables, we shared laughs and stories.  Each night at dinner we get a couple of members of the RideWest crew to stand up and share a bit about their story and what brought them to be on RideWest or what it is that keeps them coming back year after year.  This evening we were blessed to hear from two new riders on the crew, Saga and John B.


Saga shared so eloquently his views on what it means to be a part of this unique experience. That it isn’t just being on a bike ride, but about the connections made with each and every person we meet along the journey.  From the love that is put into making perfect sandwiches for our afternoon teas, to the encouragement from the locals willing us on at Kogan “Go hard or go home!”.  It is every interaction which makes RideWest as a whole.  Saga is from South Africa where they have a saying Ubuntu – I am, because we are.  So beautiful expressed, and a true testament to the spirit of all those that touch RideWest.


Next up we had John, who so bravely and courageously shared with us the very personal story of his Father.  A man who loved cycling, was passionate about his work, loved his family and was committed to service. But a man who lived with a hidden secret – his mental health battles.  John’s father eventually took his own life, a tragedy that no one saw coming.  We are absolutely honoured that John entrusted us all with his story. His willingness to share this very personal experience, with how mental health can impact an individual, a family, colleagues, communities and eventually the story is shared by so many online that its starts to infiltrate and inspire others to speak about their own challenges.  Inspires others to have a conversation and share their own stories.  Maybe just maybe, this one story about one human, will have an impact that will save another's life. 

This is what RideWest is about.. yes the fundraising is important and the donations contribute to vital wellbeing services, but it the the awareness raising and breaking the stigma about talking about mental health will have just as much impact.  Thank you John,  we hope that we can all honour your fathers memory and do our bit in sharing the story.


Highlights from today:

  • Tim – Visiting the kids at the kindy.  Also it was really special to be back in Roma, after leaving in 1971,  I really enjoyed breakfast at Pumps & Solar.

  • Jo – The sunny sky, the wind on our backs, the chillax afternoon at the spa – just the whole day!

  • Ashleigh – Tanya’s face plant.

  • Slowy – PC “having a fall” and Nabby’s ‘sincere’ apologies.

  • John B – Just having great conditions after two tough days. Having that tailwind push us along.

  • Kathryn – having dinner at Hotel Richards, under the moonlight, laughing and enjoying each others company.


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