As the peloton gathered out the front of our motel in Forster to start day six, there were a number of eyes gleaming with anticipation for the day ahead. The excitement was no doubt due to a few key factors – the two new faces in our ranks (Simon Gerrans and David McKenzie, arguably two of Australia's greatest cyclists), and the upcoming three climbs our Ride Director, Tim Chadd had acted out with three of our taller riders at dinner the night before, or even that we were riding through the beautiful mid-north coast for another glorious day. Any which way, we set out with spirits high for 153km and 2000 meters of climbing.
I had the great privilege of wearing the Dynamic Projects White jersey for a new member of the peloton, a very humbling and special moment for me which also entailed riding on the front of our bunch through to the first break at Smith's Lake. As I rode out, I had appropriated the lyrics to a famous Billy Idol song… It was a nice day for a white jersey, a nice day to pedal again!
Following the glorious Lakes Way back inland following our first break, we hit the first climb of the day, which presented the week's first chance for the fast riders to test themselves against the pros in our midst… I was a long way behind by this chance but by all accounts, a good time was had by all.
Our next stop was at Bulahdelah and another example of how lucky we have been to have an incredible group of Soigneurs – we have wanted for nothing all week, our bodies have been kept in top order, and we've been off the nose given their late night kit washing exploits! Thank you so much to all!
The following section was where it really got serious – a 40km long free play through to lunch at Stroud. While our focus and motivation for our ride has been raising funds for our amazing charity partners, the beauty of this section was a glorious treat and welcome distraction from the barking legs through some of the climbs.
After lunch and two slices of the best passionfruit slice in the state, we had another 50km to finish our day. We headed through more rolling hills to Dungog and a drink stop, then a short blast of additional free play to Charters Tower. Given that we are now six days in, the camaraderie at each stop is truly splendid, and the banter is certainly hitting its peak!
A bus transfer into Newcastle allowed more stories to be shared from the group ahead of our last night together and a downhill, wind-assisted run into our finish and waiting for families. A wonderful day as part of such a wonderful week.
At dinner on Day 6, the following Competition Jerseys were awarded.
- Leader's jersey', sponsored by Pure Storage, went to Neil Hayward of the KordaMentha Team.
- White 'Young/New riders jersey', sponsored by Dynamic Projects, went to Colin Meade of the Aliro Team.
- Green 'Sprinter's jersey', sponsored by Domain, went to Mark Davison of the BaptistCare HopeStreet Team.
- Black ‘Spirit of Chain Reaction Jersey, sponsored by LSH Auto went to Stephanie Schaefer of the KPMG Team.
Blog written by, Brendon McKeon of the 121 Castlereagh Team.