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RideWest 2024 - Day 7

Day 7

Augathella to Blackall

219km

 

Today the 25th of April 2024, we celebrate ANZAC day.  A particularly special one this year as we have two Ex-Servicemen in our peloton.  To be able to have heard their stories earlier this week and heard their very personal struggles and of those with whom they served, has given us all a new perspective and allowed us to participate in this morning’s dawn service with a new level of understanding and a deeper sense of gratitude and respect for those that serve this country.  It was an honour to be present as they lay a wreath on behalf of RideWest at the Augathella Memorial Hall Service, where 41 candles were lit in memory of the Augathella servicemen who lost their lives.


We heard today about the spirit of the ANZAC and the qualities they were known for, endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, and mateship.   Some of these values are also words we hear so commonly in the RideWest community:

·       Commraderie – no one would get there alone.

·       Endurance – it is a real test of the body and mind.

·       Mateship – the connections built on this ride last a lifetime.  


So as we road out of Augathella this morning for the start of day 7,  we ride inspired and motivated by the beautiful service we were able to share with the local community.   What a stunning morning it was.  A full moon to our left and a spectacular sunrise to our right, riding through the beautiful Mulga country.  No one can quite believe that we’ve been on a road for a whole week – how are we at day 7 already?   When you’ve trained so hard, put so many preparation hours in, and now it's almost done!   So we try and squeeze every bit out of every moment,  enjoying all the little things that make each day special.

 

There was noticeably more traffic this morning – and big traffic, frequently being passed by Road Trains, an experience no matter how well planned and practiced will always rattle the nerves.  But this morning our riders were unperturbed enjoying a dream run, with perfect conditions and a tailwind guiding them along.  We pumped out 75km before our first morning tea stop – the longest leg we’ve done in the trip yet!  At morning tea we enjoyed an ANZAC biscuit baked by Emma Wex.

 

We then had a quick 40km into Tambo for a delightful picnic under the Bottle Trees at Mary and Martha’s Coffee House.  Denae was the hostess with mostess, as she lay out picnic blankets in the shade for our riders to spend a moment reclining and enjoying a stretch out.  Everyone was happy to see Claudia the barista – serving great coffees.


After lunch, we pushed on into the afternoon heat.  Starting to feel the fatigue settle in,  our riders were finding this leg a little tougher than this morning, however, we had something to look forward to at our afternoon tea stop where we met a fellow long-distance cyclist – Tom!  Tom is a Scottish gentleman who landed in Adelaide on the 29th of December and started his journey cycling solo towards Darwin.  Today our paths crossed on the side of the highway, what a delight for Tom and what an inspiration for us (not sure why our lot whinge about 1,311km?! – just jokes guys).  Tom joined us for afternoon tea,  we gifted him with a RideWest shirt, we loaded him up with some of the best bits from the Golden Spoon Awards and our sweetheart mechanics, Marty and Sean even gave his bike a quick service!!  After a few quick snaps and some Zooper Doopers to help with the afternoon heat, it was time to get back on the bike for the final trek into Blackall.


This afternoon we saw a few more family members start to join the roadside celebrations and we were even treated to a drive-by, from Alumni rider Don Chandler – what a pleasure Don, so wonderful to see you and have you cheer us all on!

 

A little after 4:30 pm, we rolled past the iconic BLACKALL sign and into our stop for the evening.  We were joined at the Blackall Bowls Club with some special friends and local Blackall residents to share a delicious meal and for the highly anticipated vote and reveal of the 2024 Golden Spoon Winner.

 

Drum roll please….  The winner of the 2024 Golden Spoon Award goes to: Danny’s Italian Almond Cookies Paste di Mandorla

 

Congratulations Danny! A deserving winner and a beautiful tribute to your Mum and your special secret family recipe. We will definitely be taking you up on the offer to have you bake more of us.  Thanks to Emma Taylor and her beautiful family and friends to hosting us this evening.  It is always such a lovely night in Blackall – we feel truly welcome here.

 

Highlights:

  • Carmel – Ella’s sharing her story tonight on what RideWest means to her and why she got involved.

  • Ash – When Evan had his arm out the window trying to instruct a passing vehicle to overtake, but they wouldn’t go – Duge questioned what was happening and Evan’s response was, “I guess they just don’t understand arm language”.

  • Chris – when the Chairman of RideWest asked me to be his steady wheel for the last 20km into Blackall.

  • Kate – Meeting Tom!


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