Day 1 Wet, wet, wet!
The day started with 45 amazing women meeting at Victoria Park Golf Course. Spirits were high that was obvious not just of the women but for me, my two gorgeous kids who came along to see mummy off on her big bike ride. For all of us with families, have over the last 10wks our loved ones have had a little less mummy time but they have sensed mummy was doing something really important. At this point I would have to say thank you to my husband and parents who have stepped up to help me do what was really important to me….helping kids!
At breakfast, we were treated to the first of many on ride traditions in Chain Reaction - the competition jersey presentation. It works a bit like the pros - sponsorships are sold for one of five jerseys awarded each day in recognition of a rider’s achievements, not on the bike necessarily but in fundraising and supporting the group. The Day 1 jerseys went as follows:
- White, sponsored by Wintergarden, to Polly Leavold, on her first Chain Reaction ride
- Polka Dot, sponsored by Urbex to Ann Fordyce from the KordaMentha/Gowdie team
- Green, sponsored by Craggy Range winery, to Jamie Peipman, captain of the Hutchies team
- Black, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, to a fearless fundraiser, Kate Wright of team Sunkids
- Yellow, sponsored by BMD, to 2nd year rider and long time supporter of Chain Reaction, Jane Gowdie
As we rolled out by bus from Brisbane, north to Woodford we had hopes of the rain staying away and it wasn't until just as we clipped in to start our 300 km journey that the tiny drops began to gently fall.
The day soon turned to be one of the most challenging days in Chain Reaction history. We spent the day eating the grime of the road as it spun off the wheel in front, we shivered at the rest stops, when we stopped to look at the view all we saw was fog and mist, we had very slow descents that required so much concentration. It was definitely not a day you would CHOOSE to go for a ride and I was having one of those days which we all have on the bike…only 4 out 8 cylinders were firing. So it made me stop and think…..why are we here…to support kids!
The challenge of today for us was temporary but for families of children with autism, the challenges are every day and every night. We have over the course of our fundraising events heard from many families of children with Autism who have shared their challenges with us and also described the shining light that one of our fundraising beneficiaries AEIOU Foundation has been by providing intensive, early intervention for their children.
The women took the challenging weather in their stride and continued with an attitude of champions, smiles on faces, encouraging and supporting each other when the going got tough. I’d have to give a shout out to our fabulous coaches Kirsty Broun and Dave Shelberg along with Michael Byrom for equipping this group of women with skills to tackle such a ride like professionals. The support crew operated with precision throughout the whole ride - giving us the much needed support we needed on such a challenging day. The support was topped off by the towels brought to us as we rolled in to Twin Waters at 3:30 in the afternoon. Support is what gets you through challenges.
The day took a little longer than expected so we were all very happy to get clean, have a massage and a relaxing beverage with dinner. It was at dinner that we found out we were all part of some pretty special milestones for Chain Reaction. Firstly we have reached our $400 000 target - woohoo! We have taken the total fundraising mark for Chain Reaction to over $25 million - $1million of which has come from the women’s rides. Today was also the first time Milla, who was the reason Chain Reaction started, was able to come on a ride and see the incredible impact Chain Reaction has had on the charities it supports and the riders who have the immense satisfaction of being a part of this organisation.
We were also fortunate to hear from one of the families with a son attending the AEIOU Centre in Sippy Downs - the Centre this ride is directly supporting. Toni spoke of her experience as a mother watching her son grow up knowing something was just not quite right and then receiving the autism diagnosis. It is because of the incredibly life-changing work at AEIOU Foundation that her son Caelin will have the skills to attend mainstream primary school next year after 2 years of early learning therapy and intervention at Sippy Downs.
The final formality of the evening was the second jersey presentation of the day. The coveted award ceremony was filled with admiration and recognition of some women who have stood out in the peloton for various reasons. The white jersey went to Jess Edwards who has travelled up from Melbourne to join us. She has had to fly solo with her fundraising and training but has done a fantastic job. We had a second white jersey awarded to Bec White, the most lively, animated person in this peloton and who has graciously considered us all to be the “coolest group of women” she’s every met! The black jersey went to Lana Sherrie who has done a great job getting on corporate sponsorship. The polka dot jersey went to our pilates guru Jackie Ker who along with doing an impressive job with her personal donations, was also able to secure sponsorship and much needed supplies from the fabulous Craggy Range wine. The yellow jersey went our burpee extraordinaire Katie Byrom who as a student was not convinced she could raise funds as she didn’t have the networks some of the corporates on this ride. This did not stop her and she came up with creative ways to bring the cash in. Finally the green jersey was awarded to me, Nicole Haynes. It’s my first Chain Reaction ride and I was not convinced I would even be able to meet the minimum fundraising requirement so I have been absolutely blown away by the donations I have received as well as the corporate sponsorship I was able to secure from Rohrig Constructions for the YAC team.
So tomorrow….the forecast is rain - A LOT of rain, but the challenge will be temporary, we have an amazing support crew and we have each other…45 fabulous women doing what is important to them…helping kids in need!!