Wow, what a day! It all started with all of us heading to Friars Cafe for a filling breakfast. Tim the owner was amazing giving the Red Ride a discount and donating the rest to the cause! So if you are in Shepparton and want a fabulous breakfast head there and see them. We then had the best reception at the Goulburn Valley Grammar School where the kids lined the entrance to welcome us. There was cheering and high fives as we rode up the driveway and headed into the tennis court area. Alex our Monjon Yellow Jersey winner was out in front (it is her home town and her kids go to the school!) for everyone to see.
The Mayor Jenny Houlihan was there to welcome us as well as the staff and students. I started out by thanking the students for the reception and talking a bit about what we were doing and why, then explaining what MS is. Bade then took over and told them about me being a gold medal Paralympian and I talked about London and let them know that it isn’t all about winning but doing the best that you can possibly do on the day. The medal was the icing on the cake. I then passed the medal around and the look on the kids faces was fantastic. I love seeing them so excited to be able to actually hold a gold medal.
We then headed out on the road, it was going to be a pretty big day 160km to Wangaratta and I was hoping to do 100km. Steve our MS Ambassador who is targeting 700km over the 7 days wasn’t sure how much he would do. It was going to be a hot one and both of us have a problem with the heat, so it was all about listening to our bodies and stop when we needed to.
By lunch we had made it to Yarrawonga and were sitting by the lake and we had covered 84km. The top temperature that my Garmin computer had read was 38.2 but we had a head wind the entire way so it kept the body temperature down. I don’t think I have ever gone through so much water. It was great that we had a photographer from the local paper show up to take a photo, thanks to Fiona, one of our riders contacting a friend who lived there. So at least we will get some publicity there!
I was feeling pretty good so decided that I was going to continue on with everyone. Steve was feeling great, so stayed on the bike as well. The pace picked up a bit and so did the heat as the wind died down a bit, so there were a few bottles of water dumped over my head as I rode along. We hit the 100km mark and I was really happy that I was stil feeling pretty good, so kept on going. At 109km I was starting to feel a little fatigued so asked when our next stop was and when I was told it was only 13km further decided that I was going to do it. That would mean a personal best distance as I have never ridden over 118km before. I must say though that by the time we hit 120km I was really looking forward to stopping as every muscle fibre in my body was aching, my toes were completely numb and my butt was killing me! But Steve was like a machine today and continued on.
Thank god I did stop though because not long after I got in the van (the follow van today) they started a 10km climb! Oh my god it looked tiring, not really steep but very long and nearing the end of a long day it was making it tough. I was so impressed with Alex and Kristene that they actually made it up that climb and amazed with Steve as he actually completed the entire 160km today! So I think we both hit some great goals today.
The best part of the day was seeing the “Welcome to Wangaratta” sign and as we held up traffic through the city, we finally made it to our hotel. It was a long day, but it’s not over yet as everyone got ready to head out to dinner. The good thought is that it is “hump” day which means it is all downhill from here (not literally as it only gets harder from here with a few massive climbs!), with 3 days to go we will be welcoming a few new riders. We have a celebrity rider joining us tomorrow, AFL legend Danny Frawley will be riding the next couple of days (boy he picked the hard rides!). We also have another school visit tomorrow, Wangaratta West Primary School and a meeting with the local Mayor.
Tonight we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and the daily awards were handed out. First the Monjon Yellow Jersey winner for today goes to “The man with 2 first names” or as I call him “Irish David”. And the muppet award goes to Greg today, although I must say there were a number of nominations!