In the home stretch – Grant and Rick are ready to roll into Darwin in the Ride 2 Be Wise

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After 1500 kilometres of red dirt, searing daytime temperatures and endless stretches of bitumen stretching straight to the horizon, Grant and Rick are getting ready to roll into Darwin this week (May 12, 2023) to a very special welcome.

The last leg will be a leisurely 25km roll into Darwin High School, where they’ll be met by their families, the Foundation’s Matt and Robyn, and hundreds of students attending specially-timed Be Wise presentations.  

What a journey!

All up, the Ride 2 Be Wise (including the efforts of our 49 fundraisers on the virtual ride) has already raised an astonishing  $100,000 – and counting

It’s a massive thanks from the Foundation to everyone who has contributed including the event’s major sponsors Flavorite and Fresh State.  If you haven’t yet donated, there’s still time to do so here. All contributions, large or small, are warmly welcomed.     

No-one could say the Grant and Rick’s Top End trek has been easy. To put the conditions into perspective, together they’ve downed around 750 litres of water throughout the ride to stay hydrated.

We interviewed Grant to find out how they’ve handled the whole ordeal:  

Q: Grant, you don’t come from a cycling background. What has kept you motivated throughout this journey?

A:  Once I started, I didn’t want to let anyone down – that was the scary thing.

It has been quite a thing for me, because up until August last year I didn’t even own a bike. A year ago, if anyone had said I’d be doing this I wouldn’t have believed them.   

Going into the ride, there was always the fear that I might break down and disappoint everyone who had supported me and contributed to the event. 

Funnily enough I’d like to keep the cycling going now, so I’ve ordered a new carbon fibre gravel bike to ride to keep up my fitness when I get back home.

We’ve both been driven by the difference we can make, so being able to do something good for the Foundation has always been the motivator. It’s also about being a role model for my boys, Lachlan, 23, and Liam, 21.

I’ve also chosen to see my Parkinson’s diagnosis as an opportunity, to make the most of my physical abilities while I can

Q: Was there a turning point, when everything became a little easier psychologically?

A:  Definitely reaching the halfway point.

There’s a picture of Rick and me standing beside a road sign marking that point. It signified a very different mindset from the start of the ride, when we were secretly wondering what we had gotten ourselves in for.

Q: What has been the hardest part of the journey?

A:  The headwinds havemade it difficult, as well as the deceptivelytough long climbs.

In the footage the roads look flat, but in reality there are lots of long, slow climbs that go for 20 kilometres or more. When you reach the end of them, you’re pretty much toasted.

Q: What about the heat?

A:  Some days we were riding in 35 to 38 degree heat. We’d occasionally stop and throw wet towels around our necks to cool down.

We also made a decision to get up early – around 4.30am – so that we’d get in a few hours during the cooler part of the day.

Q: You set an ambitious fundraising target? Were you always confident?

A:  Well, I’ve got to say that with everyone’s help we’ve “smoked the target”.

I’m so grateful for all the support we’ve received. For me, I’ve lent heavily on a very broad network of business contacts, which includes fruit and vegetable growers, suppliers and so on.

I’ve also got to say that I wouldn’t have completed the ride without Rick’s guidance – not only in the training in the lead-up to this, but on the ride itself.  

Q. How do you think you’ll feel when you arrive in Darwin?  

A:  It’s going to be emotional. Both Rick and I will be seeing our partners for the first time since we started the ride. It’s also going to be a big moment seeing Matt and Robyn at the finish too.

We’re in the home stretch, so we’re raring to go.

There’s still time to donate.

While the ride is set to wrap up (May 12, 2023), we’ll be keeping the  page open for a few weeks yet. Anything you can contribute is very much appreciated and helps us expand the reach of Violence Prevention Programs throughout the country. You can also keep up with everything we’re doing on Facebook or Instagram.

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