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Amy Gillett Foundation

Port Macquarie CC

Day 5 - Port Macquarie - Nambucca Heads

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 12, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

After what was a rest day for most of us, with exception for the 30 km Community ride and for...

Wednesday, December 7

After what was a rest day for most of us, with exception for the 30 km Community ride and for Cameron Hughes who backed up for the local Criterium (and won), we were back out on the road heading north. A couple of local riders joined the group for the 6:30am start and went through to the highway before we headed north along the Pacific Highway.

Luckily the humid start disappeared and we were left with a calm overcast day. We were joined by Allan Duthie and Stephen Minkinson from Macksville Cycling Club, who rode with us through to Nambucca Heads as well as made some very generous donations towards the foundation. Riders were greeted with a mixture of smooth roads and wide shoulders along the highway. People were pretty good on the roads today with a lot of waves and friendly beeps, probably inspired by our new support car driver Pete's Uncle - Ted Strong. Ted joined us last night and will travel back to his home in Grafton.

Lorian flew out of Port Macquarie yesterday to go to Canberra to join the rest of the girls from the German accident on the AIS National Women's Camp. The camp serves multiple functions including as a reunion for the girls, assessing their progress and an AIS scholarship testing camp for next year's program. Lorian will fly back to join us in Grafton on Thursday afternoon before our function in Market Place (Cnr Prince and Pound St, Grafton) at 5:30pm.

A short refuel of the near empty tanks in Macksville, 12km short of Nambucca Heads, was recommended by Hughesie at one of the cyclists best friends (a bakery) provided the opportunity for Pete to talk with some locals about the foundation, raising awareness as well as funds. Hughesie was quick to point out all the local roads along the way where a bulk of his training is done when home (Scott's Head) from overseas commitments. Finally, it was on to Nambucca Heads, another 120 km completed maintaining above 30km/h average. The competition continues between TP, Pete and Hughesie to see who can get the most kms up before Brisbane. Terry is pretty happy with himself as he has cracked the 500km mark today, leading the way - closely followed by the 'young bull' Pete.

We were welcomed to Nambucca at lunch with representatives from the Valla, Bowraville and Nambucca Heads Loins clubs and Rotary Macksville. The lunch was provided at the local RSL. After lunch there was a small presentation by Pete about the Foundation and the charity ride. Pete also presented a number of gifts to each club in appreciation for their clubs support to the Foundation and the charity ride.

Jersey auction!

Two once-off signed jerseys have been placed on E-Bay in the last 24hrs. These jerseys have been donated by a number of famous cyclists and will all be auctioned by the 19th December. The first jersey on auction is an AIS track jersey, donated by Anna Meares, and signed by the Australian Track squad that recently returned from Moscow. Many Olympic Medallists and World Champions have signed this jersey.

Auction details here: cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=8734495538

The second jersey for auction is an Australian women's road jersey signed by the five remaining members of the 2005 AIS program, and Kate Nichols - AIS Development Scholarship holder 2005 and survivor of the accident in Germany. There will be more jerseys available for auction through eBay over the remainder of our journey to Brisbane. All proceeds of the auction will go to the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Auction details here: cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=8734497050

Starting riders on the final day

Day 6: Nambucca Heads to Grafton - LONG!

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 15, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

There were very few words that could describe day 6 of our journey... Hot, lumpy, rough, narrow...

Thursday, December 8 to Tuesday, December 13

There were very few words that could describe day 6 of our journey... Hot, lumpy, rough, narrow roads, long, and did I mention HOT?! The temperature from the asphalt as we passed the house of Crowe (Russell Crowe) soared to 46 degrees. We were met by three members of the Coffs Harbour cycle club not far north of Nambucca, who joined us to well north of Coffs Harbour. I was concerned about some of the terrain we had in front of us today, though with local knowledge of our Coffs Harbour counterparts, we diverted through Hungry Head off the Pacific Highway. Pete came close and personal with the local 'Skippys' near Hungry Head, only to scare them into the shrub before a picture could be taken. With our local riding guests we were taken to the local café for some cinnamon toast, muffins and very good latte. After a few media commitments we were on our way over the range and up Orara Way toward Grafton. There was 76km of dead road and lumps and the temperature gauge continued to soar the closer we got to Grafton.

Riders on arrival to Grafton headed directly to the Crown Hotel for a Bistro meal and six jugs of liquid to replenish the dehydrated bodies. As the day did not seem long enough for TP, Pete and Hughesie, a decision was made to visit the bike store for some replacement parts and complete a regular loop up the Summerland Highway from Grafton. Well, the heat was for something: as the riders left for the bitumen, the skies opened in a heavy downpour. Once the storm had passed, Pete headed back to the Motel to reunite with Lorian, and TP and Hughesie headed out the Gwyder highway for extra kms. Many will be familiar with the Gwyder as it forms the start of the Grafton to Inverell race of torture. Nick, Craig and Dave all headed directly to the motel, getting drenched by the heavy downpour.

As the skies cleared and preparations for tomorrow's ride were made, riders found themselves heading to the Market Square function prepared by the Lions Club of Grafton and attended by Kerry Lloyd of Clarence Valley Council. The afternoon storm seemed to deter some locals from making it to the square. But with some local juniors and acquaintances we met on route to Grafton, funds were still collected in our daily raffle and more interest in the foundation was attained.

Day 7: Grafton to Ballina - 140km

By Pete Forbes

Our core cyclists were joined today by seven riders from the Sunshine Coast, that will help our riders back to Brisbane on Monday 12th December. As well as the additional riders from North of the border, Grafton raised its hand in support of the foundation by providing a further eight riders all the way to Ballina and more joining us out of Grafton. With over 20 riders en route to Ballina across some fairly ordinary shoulders, a decision was made to divert the riders through the more quiet back roads of the Far North Coast. Our first town we passed was Laurence, where many riders turned back to Grafton as they had work commitments.

Yours truly had a slight issue in crossing a plank bridge, hurting his pride as his new bike wedged itself between some timber and bucking him off. Some quick repairs of the bent dropout, and we were on our way to our first ferry ride of the day, this time to cross the Clarence River. A second plank bridge was crossed without a hitch as we found a coffee shop in Maclean. An opportunity was taken to visit the local school and address the assembly about the Amy Gillett Foundation and safe riding and driving. Our response from the school was very positive as we finished on the note of the importance of recognising a car as a lethal weapon as opposed to a toy.

Day 8: Ballina to Surfers Paradise - 130km

By Pete Forbes

Our heat-drained cyclists were joined by a number of local triathletes from Ballina along the scenic roads between Ballina and Byron Bay. Our ever growing group was led out today by Henk Vogels, and once again our team driver, Cameron Hughes. After passing through a very narrow stretch of road with multiple road works, James Victor (QAS Head Cycling Coach) included the sojourn to Surfers as part of the training program for some of his up and coming male cyclists. The pace was steady and wound up as the smooth roads of the Yelgun to Chinderah bypass offered low resistance to riders. A short rest at Tugun, and our scheduled arrival to Surfers was on target.

Terry Peters, in communication with the USM-organised riding with the stars, lifted the pace with Henk Vogels through Cooloongatta to meet with the south bound riders at Southport. The South bound riders were joined by the CEO of our major sponsor, Michael Toohey from Australian Financial Solutions. Toohey flew the flag high for the Amy Gillett Foundation by wearing the striking kit made for this charity ride.

The increased pace from the 'old bull' (Peters) almost got the Amy Gillett Foundation Charity riders to Southport - short by 500m - only to pass the cyclists' groups on the Southport Bridge. A quick U-turn off the main road and our riders met with the large group that came from the north in Cavill Mall. Those riders that grabbed a bite to eat in the mall were swarmed upon by our conversant riders that had pedaled from the Mining and Wining district of the Upper Hunter.

Two riders today cracked the 1000km within a week. First to make the grand mileage was Terry Peters (TP), closely followed by Pete Forbes. TP denied all claims of the use of multiple magnets or spinning his front wheel at night before retiring. For many of the riders, it was a return to their home state from the NSW roads. Unfortunately, coming to the Sunshine State where the weather treats cyclists all year round, motorists didn't show the same courtesy. A selection of motorists seemed to be less patient and more aggressive toward our two wheeled vehicles.

Day 9: Surfers Paradise - criterium

By Pete Forbes

With the support of USM Events and the exciting racing of the Surfers Paradise Criterium, our Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Riders were given the opportunity to expose the crowds to what the Amy Gillett Foundation is. Lorian took the microphone a number of times announcing the aims of the foundation and what our ride is trying to achieve, our raffle draw was also well plugged throughout the day. Some of the charity riders were given the opportunity to roll on the criterium circuit mixing it with the pro-cyclists in preparation for the elite criterium. Our many riders then dispersed themselves amongst the crowd selling books of raffle tickets for the Major Prize Draw. Cleats were substituted for sandals today as a long day in the sun was endured promoting the foundation at the criterium.

A huge thank you goes to Geoff Myer at USM and all of his team for their support of the Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride from Maitland to Brisbane. Once again the striking jersey of the ride was flown, this time by Cameron Hughes in the elite race. Cameron, after a long week in the saddle on our ride, finished well, but lacked the leg speed to get him into the money positions. Great sacrifice for the week of riding Hughesie, your support for Lorian and the Amy Gillett Foundation is well recognised.

Day 10: Surfers Paradise to Brisbane 90km

The final leg!

By Pete Forbes

The morning began with clear skies and the promise of wind at our tails. Just like the beginning of our ride, Amy was truly with us - fair weather and a tail wind. Our eager riders for the final day rolled leisurely to the meeting point on the Esplanade in Surfer's Paradise. They were joined by many riders, almost 40, including Robbie McEwen, Nick Gates, Matt Hayman and Duncan Armstrong. Of particular note on our last day was the new rider at the front of the bunch, as we were joined by Amy's husband Simon Gillett. The true rower (come cyclist) showed his form, setting a firm pace all the way to Brisbane. Also joining us on the final day was the CEO of our major sponsoring company - Michael Toohey, Australian Financial Solutions. A number of A-Grade riders from Brisbane also made the return trip to Brisbane after coming to Surfers by train. Many media were on hand to film, interview, and capture the finale of our 10 day fund raising and promotional tour.

Loretta Harrop joined by Stephen Hackett accompanied the riders from Labrador to Brisbane. Loretta's support for the Amy Gillett Foundation is of particular importance after she tragically lost her brother in 2002 when he was struck by a car whilst training on the Gold Coast. We do not have to look too far to see that we have lost too many of our cycling friends, not only abroad, but at home. Through the aims of the Amy Gillett Foundation and the way in which we ride on our roads, we can not only save our own lives but those of our cycling friends.

There was a lot of spirit and satisfaction amongst the group on the final day as the final kilometres grew near. Our riders were fortunate to be met by a three-bike police escort from Logan to the Brisbane CBD, a distance of 18km. The striking white and red cycling group attracted a lot of attention from the passing motorists, and hopefully reached into their subconscious for the next time they encounter a cyclist on the road. An emotional and heartfelt message was extended to the welcoming party at King George Square by Lorian as she summed up the organisation and duration of the ride, as well as the tragic circumstances by which the foundation was formed. Lorian always inspires me by her courage and determination for not just herself, but for always putting others first.

Finally, I would like to thank all those involved in making this ride a reality.

Fellow organisers

Nick Gallo
Kirsten Richards
Desley Graham
Darren Rostron
My workplace - Runge Ltd for allowing me to dedicate so much time towards a charity event.
Lions Clubs from Maitland to Ballina

Our riders

Cameron Hughes
Terry Peters
Craig Sorensen
Dave Thomson
Mike Forbes

Our generous sponsors

Queensland Government; Australian Financial Solutions; Insurance Australia Group; Quest Newspapers; Schwalbe Tires; Foxsports; Cannondale Australia; Safe Drive Training; Best Western; Shimano; ZIPP; Netti; MET Helmets; Sundog; Oakley; Jaggad; Manly Hotel; Roofracks Galore; Richlands Party Hire; EGA Print Pty Ltd; Powerbar; Gatorade; Healthworld - Endura; De Grandi Cycle and Sports; River City Cycles; Pearl Izumi; Cravin' Coffee Cruiser

Our Major Raffle Winners are:

All raffle winners will be contacted shortly regarding delivery of their prizes.

Lorian Graham (centre)

Day 2 Maitland to Forster - 163km

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 06, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

After a good night sleep and a reasonably chilly start for our northern acclimatised riders, we set...

After a good night sleep and a reasonably chilly start for our northern acclimatised riders, we set off running 10 minutes late after some extraordinary 'jigsaw' packing of the Safe Drive Training support vehicle. Our destination today was 160km towards the Queensland border, Forster/Tuncurry. Seemingly, Amy had joined us on our ride once again with a glorious day provided and a healthy tail wind. Members of the Hunter Valley Cycling clubs joined us for the journey to Hexham as they departed for their regular Sunday morning races. Heading north from Hexham, we enjoyed some smooth roads with large shoulders.

For many of our riders it was the first time riding with a support vehicle. Being supported by Lorian in a follow vehicle, cyclists enjoyed vehicles passing at lower speeds at wider berths. However, with a certain driver of a blue Falcon under-passing another motorist whilst passing our cyclists, we realised our true vulnerability on some good roads. On the other hand our vulnerability was exposed once more on departing from the shoulders of Pacific Highway to the narrow, pot-hole infested roads of the Great Lakes area. It was a day that really demonstrated how the Amy Gillett Foundation may help improve the safety of cyclists on our roads - driver training and roads that cater for cyclists.

As the cyclists tired, some solid driving from yours truly and a riding guest - Bill Clinch, President Manning Valley Cycling Club - our cyclists arrived in Forster 20 minutes behind schedule.

Our arrival coincided with a motorcycle charity event, and Dave Thomson took the opportunity to sell some raffle tickets to the motor cycle enthusiasts. It was commented by the motor cyclists how they too are vulnerable road users. Unfortunately few people turned up to the planned Forster function, consequently our daily raffle prizes were donated to Bill Clinch and will be raffled at Manning Valley Cycling Club's next race with funds raised going towards the foundation.

The Amy Gillett Foundation ride team

Day 3 Forster to Port Macquarie - 123km

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 06, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

Riders moved into more of a routine on Day 3, both on and off the bike. An early start was declared...

Riders moved into more of a routine on Day 3, both on and off the bike. An early start was declared as the mercury was due to tip well over 30 degrees. A photo opportunity with our team beckoned before departure. Departing at 6:30am our riders made solid progress out of the Forster region toward Taree. After some 'cycle dancing' pointing to the many holes in the road back to the highway, riders were greeted with a moderate head wind on entry to the highway. The tempo was set high after the riders regained their legs from Day 1. Each town en-route was ticked off quickly as the riders made their way to Kew. After a short nature and water stop, the riders continued on their way to Port Macquarie, enjoying varied road conditions and on the whole motorists showing their appreciation by way of kind 'tooting' gestures.

One of our riders, Mike Forbes, reluctantly departed today back to work and family commitments in Melbourne. Though we have now been joined by Cameron Hughes (Team Subway) who has made the trip down after finishing 9th in the South Bank Criterium at the weekend.

Riders enjoyed a rest afternoon, with the gear up for the Port Macquarie Community ride commencing at 6 am in the morning. We anticipate a great turn out, as Annie Morton and Graham Seers from Port Macquarie Cycling Club have engaged the Hastings River Cycling community in conducting two separate rides catering for riders of all abilities.

One very bike-friendly cafe

Day 4 - Port Macquarie Community Ride

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 06, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

Our riders were greeted by a cast of well over 100 Port Macquarie cycling enthusiasts this morning...

Our riders were greeted by a cast of well over 100 Port Macquarie cycling enthusiasts this morning to take part in the Community Ride organised by Graham Seers and Annie Morton from the Port Macquarie Cycling club. Two rides were organised, a 30km ride for experienced bunch riders, as well as a recreational 7km ride. The aim of today's ride was to reach out to the Port Macquarie community to promote safe cycling in a large bunch. Issues addressed were riding two abreast at all times in a bunch, and making sure that even on a bunch ride motorists a catered for at intersections.

Following the small formalities a few cups of coffee and a Rotary bbq, some of the riders chose to do some extra kilometres with the Port Macquarie juniors led by Graham Seers. An extra 60km was completed and added to the riders gauges in what seems to be a new challenge of reaching 1000km well before Brisbane. A couple of riders now have 400km plus on their dials since beginning on Saturday.

Riders enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, while preparing to head to the Port Macquarie Club criterium to sell more raffle tickets for both the daily raffle and our major prize. Riders continue to raise the awareness of the Amy Gillett Foundation through appearing at the local club meeting. All riders took the opportunity to get attention to some stiff muscles, and crooked backs by some massage therapy courtesy of Jamie Bennett.

News flash!

Our one-off signed jersey auctions will be extended to people outside of the Charity Ride communities. More on this in the next installment of the Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride Diaries…

Lorian Graham at the launch

The launch

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 05, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:30 BST

Dramatically, the ride began with a necessary diversion in itinerary as the New England Highway was...

Day 1 - Saturday, December 3: Community ride from Singleton to Wyndham Winery Estate

Dramatically, the ride began with a necessary diversion in itinerary as the New England Highway was blocked with a serious and tragic accident between Singleton and Branxton. Our condolences go to the families involved in the tragic accident near Singleton. In unfortunate circumstances, it continues to highlight the need for motorists to exercise caution on our roads.

Fortunately, Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly) was on hand in his home town to re-map the route for organisers, Pete Forbes and Nick Gallo, so that the group of around thirty riders from the local clubs of Muswellbrook and Singleton could still make their way to the Wyndham Estate Winery. Muswellbrook Cycling Club showed their presence with four father and son teams. Amongst our riders was a keen cyclist getting back on the bike after a knee replacement and a pacemaker that was not two months old. Our local riders were joined by the core group that will be making the adventure to Brisbane (Nick Gallo - Maitland, Pete Forbes - Brisbane, Craig Sorensen - Maitland, Terry Peters - Brisbane, Dave Thomson - Brisbane and Pete's brother Michael - Melbourne). Our special guest Matthew White together with Ben Brooks led the riders through the more scenic regions of the Hunter Valley to rejoin the New England highway at Branxton.

Amy was truly with us today, providing us with a ride in fair weather and a tailwind. With a massive tailwind blowing at their backs, the riders made good pace to complete the ride and gather at the picturesque Wyndham Estate Winery (at least the finish location was appropriate for a few wine buffs!). A well deserved BBQ lunch was provided for the riders, well sponsored by Bakers Delight and Muffin Break, as well as the Cravin' Coffee Cruiser. The uniquely pimped Landcruiser able to produce superb coffee will be travelling with the team through to Ballina. Our riders do travel with a touch of class!

At the Estate, the Amy Gillette Safe Foundation Ride was officially launched and in Pete Forbes' address to the supporters of the ride, he emphasised how safe driving and riding were the foremost aims of the foundation and that this morning's accident only served as an extreme reminder of what the foundation is promoting: the importance of safe driving.

At this gathering, supporters were able to contribute to the Foundation through the daily raffle as well as purchase tickets in the progressive raffle to be promoted at each of the venues along the 900 kilometre course. The major prize draw for the progressive raffle is a Cannondale Six13 bike kitted with Shimano Dura-Ace components. A tidy sum of $1500 was raised today which included a contribution of $100 from the Singleton Council.

A progressive silent auction for various memorabilia including signed cycling jerseys was also initiated. Our jerseys include a signed world championship long sleeve track jersey donated by Anna Meares, signed by the Australian Track Team that recently returned from Moscow; those same signatures also find themselves on another AIS jersey with the all-too-familiar world champion bands on the colour and sleeves; Amy's surviving team-mates donated a skinsuit and road jersey with all of their signatures; Stuart O'Grady from his overseas base has donated a signed Cofidis jersey; our two-time World Cup champion Oenone Wood has donated one of her Nürnberger jerseys. Lorian was also invited to address a group assembled at the winery and they took the opportunity make donations to the cause. She was overwhelmed with the support shown.

After our auction today, we are fetching a starting price for Anna's World Track Jersey of $350. This is sure to increase as we pass through our northern coastline of NSW. Tomorrow, our riders kick off early for the Pacific Highway Bitumen between Maitland and Forster a distance of 160km. And the next function will be in Tuncurry at John Wright Park commencing at 2pm, Sunday, December 4.

Our riders will be staying with Best Western Motels at each town in a sponsorship arrangement. Corporate sponsors Australian Financial Solutions, Insurance Australia Group and Rio Tinto Coal Australia have helped kick the foundation ride along with healthy financial contributions. Riders will be supported on the road by Lorian Graham in control of the support vehicle provided to us by Safe Drive Training.

Author
Amy Gillett Foundation

Organised by 2005 Australian road champion Lorian Graham, the 10-day Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride is aimed at raising awareness among motorists and cyclists to promote road safety. Kicking off in Maitland on Saturday, December 3 and finishing almost 1000 kilometres later in Brisbane on December 12, the group wishes to demonstrate that prevention of needless injuries and deaths on the roads, such as the one that killed Amy Gillett and seriously injured five of her team-mates in Germany this year, can be done with patience and respect. "It's not such a big ask for everyone to be more considerate," said Lorian. "Cyclists should obey the rules and drivers should be aware of cyclists and exercise caution. What's more important - a couple minutes of your time or someone's life?" Funds raised by the ride will go towards the Amy Gillett Foundation.