2021 Sydney Challenge Day 3 - Coffs Harbour to Port Macquaire

26 Apr 2021

Monday is normally a day when we set off for a new working week with escapes of the weekend behind us.

Today was a Monday which saw 50 weary riders rise for a 6 am breakfast with bags packed and cycling kit ready for our 7 am rollout. Our focus was the day ahead which would see another challenging day in the saddle with an expected 150km plus day punctuated with numerous climbs and undulations framed by the scenic New South Wales mid-North Coast.

It was with a degree of confidence and heavy legs, having completed the previous Day 2 Dorrigo Mountain challenge, that we rolled out from our Coffs Harbour base camp, setting our sights south towards our next home for the coming days of Port Macquarie.

The coastal town of Urunga was our first target, which saw the bunch chatter with banter aplenty as we rolled through back roads and river plains in an organised 2 x 2 peloton.

Our pre-event training of bunch riding, skills and fitness were coming to the fore, and today was a day that was shaping as one which would require a team approach. The call to "lift the temp" was a stark reminder we had kilometres to do and challenges ahead of us.

The Old Pacific Highway and linking back roads through Nambucca and onwards to Macksville saw the peloton make its way through forest and farming lands. Arriving in high spirits at the refuelling stop to replenish supplies. We pressed on, determined to get km's behind us.

The route was another classic Chain Reaction section from the Tim Chadd archives, winding our way from Macksville to Grassy Head. The elevation meter was now ticking and counting through the rise and fall of local hills, and challenging pitches riders legs were now being tested from the previous days climbing.

From Grassy Head, the peloton reformed and steeled itself to push for lunch. The forecast headwinds were kinder than predicted, although still enough to cause the bunch to resolve in its efforts. Pair up and bunch together, 2 by 2 was the call.

The historic heritage Gladstone Hotel saw the bunch devour a well-earned lunch with talk of the afternoon ahead. With 120 km now behind us, we set off for the final push. Now only 35km to go !!!! How hard could it be?

Forming in teams, we rolled through the countryside straddled by the river and coastal forest, forging our way toward Crescent Head. This session saw the spirit of Chain Reaction emerge amongst the riders, with tired; legs and weary bodies. The teams offered support for their comrades swapping roles to combat wind and lead out roles setting the pace, appreciated by all with the day now close to behind us as we think of the days ahead.

We finish the day at spectacular beach seating of Crescent Head and the welcome sight of the transport transfer to our next home, and the knowledge that we made another days difference, not just as a team but individually in our funds raising as we push positively toward our target of $600,000.00

At dinner on day 3, the following Competition Jerseys were awarded.

  • Orange 'Leader's jersey', sponsored by Pure Storage, went to Warrick Gard of the KordaMentha Team.
  • White 'Young/New riders jersey', sponsored by Dynamic Projects, went to James Marsden of the BaptistCare HopeStreet Team.
  • Green 'Sprinter's jersey', sponsored by Domain, went to Richard Lewis of the Aliro Team.
  • Black ‘Spirit of Chain Reaction Jersey, sponsored by LSH Auto went to Katie Uther of the 121 Castlereagh Team

Blog written by, Stewart Matthews of the 121 Castlereagh Team