By day 4 the riders have settled into a steady rhythm: rise early, prepare for the ride ahead with a good breakfast, final equipment check and then an early roll out. Day 4 is the hump day. More than half way through our 7 day/1000km challenge. There is collective self-belief that we can complete what we have set out to achieve and can dare to dream of exceeding our fundraising totals.
Last night's jersey awards were very well chosen by the committee and richly deserved by the recipients:
* Western Patterson wears the Pure Storage orange jersey for his tireless fundraising contributions and his spirit on and off the bike
* Brandon Parke wears the white "new riders" jersey for his strong contributions in personal and corporate fundraising, in particular the generous corporate support of GPS
* Charles Moore wears the CBRE polka dot jersey for overcoming great personal challenges in his recovery from injury and even making the starting line and still being able to wear the badge of team captain on and off the bike
* Alex Pascoe wears the black LSH Auto "Spirit of Chain Reaction" jersey - Alex is saddling up for his 12th Chain Reaction Challenge - he has always been one of the strongest riders in the group but, more importantly, chooses to expend his efforts helping and coaching less strong riders to get through each day.
Last night, the weather report for the day was looking decidedly sketchy. Rain was expected late in the ride and the morning dawned with damp roads from rain overnight, but dry skies, at least for the morning.
On paper, we had a distance and ride profile well suited to the hump day. Long enough and with enough altitude to present a challenge but short enough to be respectful to what really are very tired legs after the 3 solid preceding days.
The pace was fast and steady from the start and we were able to tick off the first 45kms in good time, thanks to some solid time on the front from some experienced yellow band riders. A shout out to Dave Costa for his help for the final 30 seconds to the break point.
The group then winded along the coast along Bruce Bay and inland to Lake Moeraki. We regularly popped in and out of pine lined corridors opening to farmland valleys surrounded by cloud crested mountain ranges.
The peloton is fortunate to have some extremely humble and generous riders. Whether that be through their fundraising efforts, banter or the ability to turn around and bring back a struggling rider to the group. A Chinese Sage, Lao-Tse wrote “The reason why (New Zealand) rivers and seas receive homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them”. So whilst they may be leaders of their firms, industry or field, we are all equal, just turning those pedals one revolution at a time for great causes.
Our second stop was at 90kms- again completed at a decent clip at the picturesque Knights Point Lookout. Lots of happy snaps of the group by the rugged NZ coastline. Spirits were high and we were looking at arriving at our final destination in record time. Then came the rain which progressively got heavier and heavier.
Whilst the group completed the last 20 km in the pouring rain, spirits remained high and nothing appears to be able to break the bond of this group. Arriving at our destination like drowned rats, there were no complaints from anyone. Just high fives and quick de-robing for a towel off.
“The best way to build willpower is to voluntarily put yourself into conditions of discomfort” – Robin Sharma. There has certainly been some strengthening scenarios over the last few days.
Average speed: 30km/h