It was an epic day today! It started out with another school vist, this time to Wangaratta West Primary School. Along with us today was a celebrity rider AFL Legend Danny Frawley. He and a friend of his Steffan had been driven up to take part in the ride today and tomorrow and he was on hand to have a chat with the kids. We had 280 children gathered at the school and doing the same things as the last schools. Talking about MS, why we were doing the ride, the Paralympics and bicycle safety. We then had a bike to give to one lucky student which was supplied by our sponsor Hampton Cycles. The winner had taken part in the colouring contest of the bike safety message I had sent to the school a couple of weeks ago and Danny along with Hampton Cycles owner Daimo presented the young lady with her new bike. I think from the picture you can see how excited she was! Even the local Mayor attended and had a few kind words to say to us as they all sent us on our way.
I had decided that I would start the ride but finish at morning tea which was about 50km away. It was a flat 52km eventually stopping in Whitfield to refuel the bodies. The next part of the ride was up over the mountain from Whitfield to Mansfield, definitely not an easy climb! It was decided that there would be a 10km race up the start of the mountain, so Greg the boss from MS Events was sent ahead to put the MS flag at the 10km finish. The race then started with Bally our lead driver and myself ahead of the riders. Funny enough we got to 7km and saw the MS flag! Certainly not the 10km the riders were looking for. When questioned Greg told us he couldn’t find the 10km spot (we think he had sunstroke because all he had to do was look at his odometer!) Some of the guys weren’t impressed as they had just got into a rythm and suddenly it was over and they still then had to do the rest of the climb!
We finally made it into Mansfield, albeit about 1 1/2 hours late for lunch. But the chef at the Mansfield Hotel was kind enough to wait for us. The Mayor of the Shire of Mansfield Russ Bate was waiting for us with one of the other Councillors as well as a photographer from the local paper. So it was great that they had waited for us. The Mayors son lives with MS so he was very interested in what we were doing. We still had another 26km to travel to our hotel for the night, so after an hour of lunch it was off again. I decided that I would ride the last 26km because I thought it was flat! I was wrong. We had some rolling hills and I was lucky enough to have Steffan riding beside me and he gave me a bit of a push up some of the hills, that is until we got to the Pinnacle Valley Resort and the driveway into it had to be about 18% gradient. For some reason my gears wouldn’t stay in the easy end and kept slipping. So Bally our lead driver (who was out of the van), ran up to the backend of my trike and literally ran up behind me and pushed me all the way up the hill! I think it just about killed him.
After having massages, dips in the pool and a change of attire we all headed to dinner where we heard from Danny Frawley and also heard from one of our riders Andrew about why he was doing the ride and his journey to this point, it was time to announce the winner of the Monjon Yellow Jersey for the day and the Muppet award. Stewart won the yellow jersey for assisting the ladies up those mountains all day and for the first time ever Greg won the Muppet award for the 2nd day running for not knowing what 10km looks like on the odometer.
Tomorrow is the biggest day yet for the ride a total of 187km, so it is an early start of 7am on the road. I am having a day off, but am looking forward to writing about how the riders cope.