I write this upon completing one of the most physically and mentally gruelling 7 days of my life. We knew we had to ride long, we knew we had to ride hard, and we knew it was for a good cause close to all our hearts. We didn't know how a week spent battling the elements, suffering in our saddles, to complete over 1000 kilometres traversing Victoria would result in the ultimate bonding of 50+ individuals into a single team of mateship.
In the week gone by, we have together experienced the highs of 200km days and the lows of exhaustion and self-doubt, all the while surrounded by the backdrop of the visually stunning but harsh rural Victorian landscape. We experienced wildlife moments in wombat crossings and baby kangaroo accompaniment and our share of visual splendour of Marysville's tree-lined avenues and stunning vineyards of the Yarra Valley.
The final day took us out of Marysville and onto the route home with 110 kilometres left of our 1000 kilometre trek. Chain Reaction is one of just a handful of cycling events allowed to use the Black Spur, and we sure did make the most of the challenge and the experience.
For the final stretch, we worked our way down the Mount Dandenong descent and weaved our way through the green wedge of Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs.
The finish took on a Paris Roubaix theme as we soaked up the atmosphere of a hometown finish with a well-deserved victory lap of the Hawthorn Velodrome surrounded by the cheers of supporters and loved ones.
It was a sensational 7 days across 1000 kilometres to fundraise for our Melbourne Charity Partners, Starlight Children's Foundation and Very Special Kids. We are thrilled to have broken the Melbourne Chain Reaction fundraising record. Over $1.2 million has been raised, which is extraordinary!
Over the week, we ate together, we drank together, we laughed at the well-rehearsed pantomime that was the official nightly presentations and jersey awards, whilst all the time remembering why we were here. We were here this week to cycle as one group to raise money to support kids in need. We were fortunate to be supported by a volunteer group of happy tireless helpers who catered to all our needs in order to enable us to focus on raising much-needed funds for families and children less fortunate than ourselves.
We are the Cameron/Simonds team within the 2021 Melbourne Challenge, and together, we have all contributed to an incredible week of absolute accomplishment for all involved, for which we are grateful. Thank you!