What-we-found-on-the-road-together – Rapha Link
Audax-fleche-opperman – lavelocita.cc Pre Ride Story Link
Team-brevet-and-the-oppy – lavelocita.cc Post Ride Story Link
oppyteambrevet riding course – course link
Audax Australia Website – If you have interest in 24hr Oppy or other rides likeit follow this link
Full version of my write up here below
Glen O’Rourke – Captain
Troy O’Callaghan and Marina, and Troy’s parents
Guy Begley, Matt Belford, Simon Spence
Tristan Parker (photography)
Mike Boudrie (la Velocita)
Andrew Clifforth (photography)
Andrew Pike from Rapha
Our Families for agreeing to us doing the ride
What We Found On The Road Together
by Drew Ginn
The strangest things come to those who set out to experience something extraordinary. On the 14th March, 2015 at 8am a group of cycling friends set off from Beach Port, South Australia. The challenge was the 24hr Oppy Audax and along with some 20 other teams we would converge on Rochester, Victoria to arrive the follow morning.
Those strange things included: our start time, how we all came together as a team, a guy we met the day before our ride, the vastly different and unique experiences each rider would go through during the challenge, a near miss with an animal from the Australia’s coat of arms, the beauty of the Victorian countryside as a backdrop against our highs and lows on the road, a finally a strange realisation for the love and dislike of our bikes, the wind, the course, the fatigue, the pace, each other for a challenge like the Oppy offers much and takes its share. It’s safe to say we had it all and have endured and realised the reward of the bond that comes from a ride like this.
Our actually departure time from South Australia was to be 7.30am to account for the time difference between SA and VIC.
A riders wonderful encounter had taken place the day before after a prep ride. At the same cafe we walked into we met an amazing man, Douglas. We were in Beach Port to face our challenge and Douglas was passing through on a life journey on his bike. During the conversation we learnt he had ridden solo around Australia and we all found ourselves remarking on this amazing encounter. We invited Douglas to stay at the house we rented and over the next few ours found out much more about his journey. This was not his first round trip but his fifth since turning 70. During our time together Douglas got in touch with a mate of his. Glen O’Rourke was fortunate to get the chance to speak with Douglas’s friend, who had served in the armed forces with Oppy and used to train with him. George from Geelong who was 91 spoke to Glen and wished us luck. Amazing and as you can imagine it felt like destiny to come across Douglas and to tap into his adventurer spirit and it made for great conversation in the lead up to our departure from Beach Port the following morning.
We all wake and the hive of activity in the house as everyone readied themselves was think and fast. The air outside was cool and as we rolled down to our start point the beauty of the morning became clear. The sunshine was crackling across the ocean to the east of Beach Port and with a long stretched out jetty heading out to the water. We lined ourselves up, all smiles, and cheeky grins punctuated by laughter which probably masked the nervousness of us all.
Ahead we had a course which would see us ride through the sea mist and low lying lands north and north east into a building head wind. The clock struck, a call was made, and we were off. Our bikes made the characteristic noises as we shifter gears and began to settle into our team time trial formation. Team Brevet as were named took off with our captain, Glen O’Rourke setting things up as we proceed to start our feasting on the bitumen meal ahead. Nervousness soon shifted into noticeable breathing patterns as we each took our 10min turn on the front. Behind Glen O’Rourke was Glenn Landers, then Scott Thomas, Myself (Drew Ginn), and Alistair Tubb.
Its difficult to describe the experience and I am sure all our team have had such unique and personally meaningful highs and lows that words here would never do them justice. What I can attempt to describe is the feelings and observations I have made.
The Oppy for us was a cool and interesting challenge. As late comers to the party in terms of planning and committing to the event, we spent much time learning, joking, asking questions, making statements, and simply wondering how we would go.
The talk of doing the 24hrs came relatively easy in comparison to what we experienced. The Oppy is exciting, intriguing and by the nature of the ride its a great challenge. Our team was challenged, and our reasons for riding our bikes, and why we were doing the event together was significant under pressure. The reality and misty ideals were set on a collision course and it would creep up on us and find us during our attempt.
Our first 80kms was settled and pretty smooth. Apart from the developing head winds it was pretty uneventful and straight forward. It was not as straight forward as the roads we eventual covered but its felt good. Nature breaks were a good sign of hydration, and our legs and wheels seemed to turn over well together. Being smart early was the best call of the day. As the wind strengthen we shortened our turns. We all waited in anticipation for the right turn in our journey to make the most of the building winds which would be pushing us from behind.
Swing our bikes like tacking a boat on the ocean was a fantastic moment. The cross tail winds in our sails and the new invigorating speed and cadence in our legs indicated the first transition. The road often buzzing under our tires as we approached speeds in excess of 45km/h in sections. From the 80k mark to 400kms we averaged close to 39k/h and we probably didn’t notice the heat rising as temperature reached 36 degrees out on the road. The countryside was amazing and yet it required reminders to ensure we looked around. Small rises came and went and although at the time felt insignificant later I am sure would take a toll. A ride like the Oppy has you paying later for ever slight effort early. Its a hard thing to judge and we were loving the thrill of the ride and our chance to work together.
We had great support from many people on the road before the ride and after. The logistics of supporting five rides and having the designated stops set up with food and drink to fuel the effort was huge. It actually made it all pretty exciting but also complicated. You could say that when we reached our half way point and found ourselves ahead of schedule, tired but focused and certainly in the groove of journey. We had arranged a larger meal and break and made the most of changes in clothing, equipment and yet its become the start of the truly hard moments. Strange how things happen. We were going well and yet had no idea what lay ahead and what would unfold, and in effect suppress, drain, weigh heavily, claw, rip and tear at our team and each of us individually. The next 12 hours had all the making of a bad B grade moving attempting to be an inspiring, romance, thriller, comedy, drama, horror movie which went on for way to long.
The Oppy challenged our love of riding, our willingness to hold together, our hearts and minds were all stretched during the events that transpired over that long night. The day had been a joy in comparison. The night was like a dream and personally I found myself thinking when will this end. Alistair was our first team mate to come to grief with the demands. Its began with dry reaching and vomiting and was greeted with his inability to keep even the smallest of food and drink down. While this was taking place and Al labored on we had another intrusion on flats. Punctures become a talking point and frustration as we found ourselves standing still fixing tires. During this it became obvious Al was in a bad way and his attempts to ride on will go down as memorable etching in my mind. His will to go on and not give up was awesome. Momentum had swung and the wheels turned slowly for Team Brevet at this stage and as the light faded the nights darkness began to wrap around us.
During the onset of the night the eery feeling that the tide had turned was no more real than when Glenn Landers was setting the pace at the front. I remember thinking maybe 30min before that on these country roads Kangaroo’s were a real risk. Our speed was reasonable from memory and I was second wheel when from the right side of the road came bounding this majestic creature. Many words went through my mind and I am sure we all had our hearts in our throats. Glenn held his nerve as the Kangaoo zipped by no more than 1 to 2 meters in front of his wheel. It was near miss and I certain found the adrenaline was running high after. Strange though how its all seemed to happen in slow motion and I am sure if Glenn had of braked we all would have come down and if the Kangaroo was a mere sec behind on his crossing it would have brought us all down.
Together we completed some 120 000 pedal revolutions. We burned about 16 000 calories and used 180 000 heart beats. We covered 700km, wasted 3hrs of stationary time, had 5 punctures in 60min which inhibited our progress to 16km in that time. I can’t fathom the amount of food and drink we consumed, banana estimate 50 plus, and I am very aware of the fast food stop for three of us needed to make to get burgers, fries, and think shakes. Terrible I know but we needed fuel. As for water consumed it was close to 15 litres each for a total of 74 litres in the 24hrs. Yes this lead to a number of quick toilet stops and some of the funniest and strangest moments.
Another of our riders hit the wall with crippling back spasms which I am sure start long before the rest of us realised. I mean we were all trying to stretch and change position on our bikes but the longer than planned stop, the punctures and standing still, and then the final nail in our collective coffin. The 25km/h head wind from midnight started collecting and taking back all the advantages we had made. Scott Thomas was suffering with his back and just looked so uncomfortable on his bike that I was worried about possible long term damage.
Eventually our team on the road was brought to its knees but we were not broken. The contribution Al and Scott had made set us up to be able to keep fighting and hanging on. The two Glenn’s and I pressed on into the dark being hammered but the wind and tested in a very personal way. I know I was motivated to keep going for the team. I was driven to see if we could still reach our goal. The attempt could take away all dignity but it could not actually stop us. Sharing the road together, sharing the load, sharing passion and dislike for our bikes, sharing everything. Even chamois cream, I mean I never thought I would willingly grab and reach for anything to help ease the pain and discomfort. Our captain was probably the ultimate inspiration. Our attempt would only count if three of us finished. Glenn Landers and I realised we let at least a bit better the Glen O’Rourke. Glen explain at about 570kms that he was on the edge and in a somewhat competitive way I flashed back with records do get broken unless your on the edge. The strange things was that I think we all started to fully appreciate things at this stage it had taken 18 hours and the light went on in my head. With Al, Scott, Glen, and Glenn we had well and truly found all we needed out on the road. All the we could have hoped for from ourselves and each other. Each person at this time rode to their limit and the Oppy idea was delivering in spades.
We grovelled along the heavy roads some where in north Victoria battling winds like a crowd in a mosh pit. Being pushed in every direction and trying to find some rhythm to manage the pulse, push, turn, sway, twitching of the bike underneath. Our speed and been ranging from 24 to 33km/h but in a sense we ending up spending much more time just trying to keep our bikes going forward.
Our captain was riding like a hollow man. Vacant and empty for what the ride had taken out of him but I like to think that in the emptying process it all made space for new realisation and learning. A vessel can only be used to have new insights when space is created. As we hit 700km Glen had warned that he would stop. At 23hrs 26min Glenn Landers and I realised Glen had eased off and as we turned back to meet him where he had dropped his bike and had sat on the edge of the road near the long grass. He was now well and truly on the edge. Tears filled his eyes and I like to think in the moment all of us watched and reflected as our Oppy 2015 was complete. Glen marked the end and the symbolic nature of his position on the side of the road was in respect for the enormity of the journey we had all been together on.
We all hugged each other, consoling each other and remarking at just how amazing it had all been. The final hours were just down right tough. Nothing can prepare you for it. I was riding and avoiding falling asleep by standing and pedalling out on the saddle. Personally I called on all my reserves to stay the course and to hold onto the aspiration of getting to the end with our team. Each of us will have a story to tell and I can tell you that once the sun began to rise again it was like a dream was ending and the marvel of warmth and light became a finally to it all. Glen Landers and I took a moment with the other guys and he eventual asked if I still want to ride to Rochester. I agreed and nodded with a heavy head but even the idea of getting to the Oppy Statue was a little energising.
We arrive in the town the last 10kms we were reintroduced to the fast tail wind and surprisingly with the new day and morning sun we found a second wind ourselves. Glenn amazed me as his quiet determined approached was strangely assuring not just at the end but for much of the ride. We shock hands on the bike as we role in to the town and as we reached the Oppy statue our team mates, friends and family came together. It was wonderful and to be able to stand there with our team grasping the moment and comprehending our experience. The respect for the event, riding our bikes, Oppy’s legend, our team, the other teams and all our supporters was flowing.
Found this also .. message in my shorts
<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”4″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div> <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://instagram.com/p/0TmCUiTcMU/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_top”>Found this great message on an inside sleeve of my Rapha bibs .. So true for 'Team Brevet' we had an extrodinary experience together.. The learning goes deep.. Thanks @audaxoz and @rapha_australia #oppy2015 #raphabrevet @glennlanders @699glen @manaboutseddon @alrtubb @generally_speaking</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A photo posted by Drew Ginn (@drewginn) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2015-03-16T22:57:27+00:00″>Mar 16, 2015 at 3:57pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>
<script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script>