HERE WE GO.
Thank you all for your help in getting us closer to our fundraising target. So far as a group of 67 riders our efforts have brought in over $300,000.00 for handsacrossthewater.org.au !!!
The photos show a training ride I did to West Head in the Ku-Ring-Gai national park, I’m glad to say that I actually enjoyed it, hills and all.
This is what it’s all about 😃
325kms so far !!!
which, by the way is more than The distance from Sydney to Canberra just to put things in perspective.
This ride is been an awesome adventure in the company of some really interesting, positive and supportive people, almost all of them are entrepreneurs with big hearts. So far we have raised over $330,000 for “hands across the water” – go team
Riding long distance in 30+ degree heat is a totally new experience for me and I have learned lots of lessons along the way
I would say the key factors are :
having good equipment
The bikes that we are using are a dream they are light and strong and have smooth gears 👍🏻
staying well hydrated – using electrolytes but not too much or you could end up with “disaster pants”
keeping cool – i’ve got a neck cooler from the cancer council and I use a bandanna soaked in ice water under my helmet, when you first put it on it kind of gives you brain freeze but that soon passes and as the sun starts to attack your face you can pull the bandanna and out and use it as a mini curtain to protect your cheeks. I also picked up some arm sleeves which I soak in ice water they cool me down and protect me from the sun. Most of us have lovely brown legs but white sock feet and white shorts because the new “cycling” tan only covers two thirds of the leg
using aerodynamics to lighten the load and reduce the effort so you can sustain your energy and go the distance.
How we do this is by either bending over towards the handlebars and that cuts the wind resistance from our torso or jump on the back of a pack so if you have a little bit of distance from the back wheel in front of you like a meter or less it significantly reduces the wind resistance and means you’re conserving so much more energy the difference is incredible they call it drafting and I only learned about it on the second day unfortunately when I was struggling along the road on my own then a bunch of four caught up to me and said hey jump on the back that’s when I had a life changing moment and realized it was like being towed by a car.
To keep things fair when riding in a pack, from time to time when the front runners get tired we rotate our positions.
Down in Phuket at the orphanage things are going really well I’m having news from Denise that so far she has done about 30 haircuts there are 100 children there of all ages starting from babies who have been found abandoned in such places as a public toilet the police commissioners front door and in a garbage bin right up to students who are just preparing to go to university they are all happy and well behaved and very very well looked after yesterday they went on an excursion to the beach which Denise found really fun but very hectic as you can imagine.
Each of us is given a child to buddy up with while we are here Denise has a delightful three-month-old baby boy which she is hoping to kidnap and bring home I have the cutest little guy ever who I’ve yet to meet but I’ll show you a photo of him he’s name is Got. Interestingly enough the kids actually don’t get adopted out the orphanage is their home and the other children are their family they stay there right throughout schooling and they can leave at any point when they’re older.
These guys are doing really really good work and 100% of your donations goes to the orphanages and supporting these beautiful kids lives.
Our buddies for the week
Butt Cream I couldn’t do it without you
The journey so far.
Hard labor at Baan Tharn Namchai
This is Game
he became an orphan in 2004 when both his parents died in the tsunami he was then cared for by his grandmother who could not afford to keep him so she wanted to remove him from school and send him out to work but because he had been such a good student the school stepped in and arranged for him to go to the BaanTharn Namchai orphanage where he could continue studies. He has recently graduated from university having completed a law degree.
Imagine how different his life is now with the help of “Hands Across The Water”.
Relive ‘Thailand Day 4’
A visual overview of the last two days
Relive ‘Thailand Day 5’
The Physical Challenge
The ride was actually easier than I thought, as the old saying goes
“you have nothing to fear but fear itself ”
It takes a lot to scare me but, prior to coming I have to admit I was full of self doubt.
Most of us who were doing it for the first time were pleasantly surprised at how achievable it was and we felt truly blessed to be exposed to a side of Thailand that most tourists never see. Our guides from Tour De Asia bicycle touring looked after us so well. We had three support vehicles, a trailer for our luggage all hotels were top class all meals were included we had a person marking every corner so we didn’t get lost,
we had ice cold pineapple, watermelon, iced water and sun cream at the breaks approximately every 20 km.
The only thing I really struggled with was the burning sun and with the heat radiating from the road between 11 and 2 PM it felt like I was riding inside an oven.
In the middle of the day riding through shade can feel as good as drinking fresh water, seeing shade coming up is cause for excitement.
The highlight for me was after a 4km climb up the last mountain, speeding down with no cars in sight and occasionally applying the breaks to trim a little speed from my 70km/hr peak. (Sorry mum I can’t help it).
The Sauna Bus
On this bus with no air conditioning no fuel gauge no speedometer wires hanging out from the dashboard and a top speed of 50 km an hour we got to enjoy world-class karaoke of our own making.
The journey of 300 km took us over six hours, by the end we were becoming delirious from the lack of fresh oxygen I called it the sauna party bus because all being lateral thinking entrepreneurs who look on the bright side of life and quickly resolve problems we know that when life gives you lemons you MAKE LEMONADE so we made the best of a very bad situation.
Every evening throughout the ride after dinner with a few beers under our belts we had a session of dobbing each other in and paying fines for such things as dropping our water bottle, taking phone calls while riding, holding hands on the ride, taking a selfie while riding, taking shortcuts and doing anything stupid like applying tiger balm thinking it was but butt cream, applying butt cream to the face thinking it was Sunscreen.
Each fine was 50 baht if you would self nominate but if somebody dobbed you in then the fine doubled and was 100, by the end of the week we had raised AU$1200 which was enough to put two girls through hairdressing school and have money left over, a good effort and lots of fun along the way.
A Surprise Arrival
On our 2nd last night when we arrived at “Avatar Valley” the man who started all of this Peter Bains had flown in from Singapore to surprise us and join in on our last day of riding.
On our last stop before the orphanage at the tsunami site he gave us his account of what he discovered when he came from Australia as a forensic policeman, by the end there were no dry eyes in our crowd.
That site is where this whole idea of supporting children in need was birthed. When he was carrying out the onerous task of identifying 4000 bodies recovered and left in body bags out in the sun. As he was handing over the bodies of the victim’s to their loved ones, he decided that no one should suffer the indignity of receiving a family member in a body bag and personally paid for their coffins.
He concluded his talk by saying
“Love what you do or change what you do, because we only get one shot at this.”
Our Warm Welcome
Words can’t really describe the feeling of the warmest welcome I’ve ever experienced as we rode into town the streets were lined with the beautiful smiling faces of over 100 Thai children and our partners and the staff from the orphanage. There was so much cheering there were 66 riders rolling into town feeling like heroes, it was unbelievable.
That was followed by a beautiful lunch cooked by the wonderful chefs and a little tour of the school.
Later that evening we returned to the school for yet another beautiful meal and a great show put on by the talented staff and students, we finished the night blasting the village with the school rock band at full volume, the crowd went wild.
At the party I noticed that the beer cans were wrapped in white paper, the reason for this is that many of the children had come from homes with alcoholic parents and the sight of the cans could potentially bring back bad memories.
The Pool Party
The following day our luxurious five star beachfront resort was inundated with over 100 happy beautiful laughing children. This was the pool party to end all pool parties.
I hardly took any photos because I was so engrossed in all the fun we were having going up and down the slides with children hanging off me all day, their joy was infectious. Most of us were too busy to reapply sunscreen and showed up to breakfast the next day looking like lobsters.
is the grand total (so far) of all the money we ( riders in the Business Blueprint group) have raised for Hands Across The Water !!!
Over the last 4 rides Business Blueprint lead by Dale Beaumont (who has a heart of gold) has donated over $1M to HATW. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
One of our riders Anthony is a lecturer of investigative journalism at QLD Uni gave a little talk one evening saying that from his work he has always been extremely cynical about most charities, he thoroughly researched “Hands across the water” and came to the conclusion that this is the charity that he has been looking for his whole life because 100% of our donations go directly to where they are needed NONE of it is spent on administration costs, which makes HATW unique.
Gab signing off
Denise will soon blog about her experience in the partner program so please stay tuned.
Chris our tour leader summarized it well when he said
“ You come as clients,
we ride as friends
and you leave as family.”
I also would like to add that I have never come across such a group as this who value Cooperation over Competition, they would bend over backwards to support a fellow rider. Whether it’s to stop and pick up someone’s water bottle or go back to catch someone who’s falling behind and push them up the hill. The warmth, support, enthusiasm and camaraderie was so refreshing and carried us along the 500kms. I would like to thank Bernadette Janson from The school of renovating for both introducing Denise and I to this opportunity and for committing all the profit from her Surry Hills renovation to cover the $50,000 donation required for her 10 students to participate in the ride. THANK YOU ! Last but not least Thank you all once again for donating to better the lives of these wonderful children. With Love Gab