With the emergence of a revitalised Goulburn - Sydney Cycle Classic, the opportunity for an individual to help a good cause also sprung to life. Wallaby legend Simon Poidevin, who grew up in the NSW country town of Goulburn, decided that his respect for cycling as a sport could extend to having a go at riding one of the country's toughest single-day races - all while raising money for charities in the areas this race covers.
On September 24, Poidevin and five other team-mates will ride 150km of the Sydney - Goulburn course in order to raise $20,000 for the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation and Goulburn's Community Palliative Care and Oncology Support Group. Poidevin, along with Warwick Negus, Warwick Waugh, Andrew Best, Michael Cori and Tim Cage will ride a slightly shortened version of the race, climbing the notorious Razorback Hill near Picton once. They'll do the ride by taking 1.5 hour stints in the saddle to break up what is a difficult course.
Asked why he decided to take this particular challenge, Poidevin replied, "Paul [Hillbrick, race director] approached me, and being a former Goulburn boy and admirer of cycling as a sport, I thought I'd give it a go." Poidevin and his 'gang' have been in intensive training for the event, and although Poidevin is not quite sure how his charges will handle the challenge he's staying positive, saying, "I don't know how they'll go; we'll just have to see how we go on the day, but I'm sure we'll get through it."
Poidevin, who is considered one of Australia's greatest-ever rugby players with over 100 games for Australia, believes he'll find the ride tough - it's a physical challenge to rival playing the New Zealand All Blacks. After a career in a sport such as rugby, most former players carry injuries from their time on the field, but Poidevin believes this shouldn't be too much of a factor, saying, "I've got myself a Softride frame from the States which should make things easier on the back, and this weekend we're heading out for an 85 kilometre ride - which is closer to the actual race distance - so we'll see then." And with about two months of serious cycling in his legs, Poidevin's going to need that famous fighting spirit, a trademark earned when playing for the Wallabies.
Poidevin's confident of reaching the $20,000 target set as the goal of the ride: "Yeah, we'll get to the $20,000 target no worries," he said. "Citigroup have contributed $5000 and Cardy & Co, a carting company, have decided to get on board with $2000. Carlton and United Breweries have also expressed an interest in sponsoring the race, which is also great."
The former international, nicknamed 'The King' within the rugby world, is another Australian sporting icon to raise money for children's charity through feats of endurance. Last year, former Australian cricket captain and the game's leading runscorer, Allan Border, walked from Sydney to Brisbane to raise money for The Spastic Centre, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Children's Cancer Institute of Australia and the NBN 'Kids Project' - raising awareness and money for these causes in the process. Poidevin's aiming to do the same while putting back into local communities at the same time. And he may just get the 'cycling bug' and do it again next year.