ANYONE who’s ridden the notorious Bump Track knows its gruelling hills and steep descents but a lifetime spent battling mental illness has even more-challenging ups and downs.
That’s why local MP Warren Entsch is backing a group of amateur riders as they train to take part in the 780km Cairns to Karumba (C2K) Ultra Marathon in June 2017, and is calling on Port Douglas businesses to show their support too.
Titled ‘The Changing Lives Project’, the group of riders are currently transitioning back into the community with the support of the Cairns-based Junction Clubhouse – a facility that helps them with housing, employment, personal development and healthy lifestyles.
A ‘bike bank’ set up at the Clubhouse has been an amazing success and is teaching members new skills in repairing, maintaining and selling donated bicycles. They have also taken up cycling – and the health benefits that come with it.
During their rigorous training schedule, the group have ridden to Lake Eacham, Mountain View, Mareeba and Palm Cove and will now start heading further afield with rides to Port Douglas scheduled in April, May and June.
They are also riding in the RRR Mountain Bike Challenge on Sunday June 4th – a 70km endurance race that starts at Mt Molloy and takes in the Bump Track before arriving in Port Douglas.
The group are undertaking a massive fundraising effort as they need to source a wide range of equipment such as mountain bikes and accessories, camping gear, cycle clothing, electrolyte tablets, training aids, toiletries and medications, and fund professional services such as a psychologist, physical therapist and project manager.
“Bear in mind some riders in the group live under difficult circumstances so the cost of accumulating all the equipment that goes with racing is nearly impossible, let alone purchasing a racing bike that will be robust enough to complete this challenge,” Mr Entsch said.
“Nevertheless, we’re already seeing the physical and mental health benefits and the improvements in riders’ confidence. Some of the members couldn’t even ride 50m when they started, yet it’s giving them a purpose and the completion of this challenge will be – for some – the beginning of the rest of their lives.
“It’s such an amazing story that a documentary crew is filming their journey and the C2K organisers are really excited that the team are taking on the challenge and will support them however they can.”
Mr Entsch said there are ways that businesses in Port Douglas can help – when the team takes part in the RRR MTB Challenge on June 4th, they need to stay in Port Douglas the night before.
“I’m asking any local resorts or motels whether they can help accommodate 15 people on June 3rd, and they will also need a good dinner that night so if any local cafes or restaurants can help with this then their contribution will be recognised,” Mr Entsch said.
“I would also like to ask any families in the Port Douglas area with a spare bedroom or two if they would like to billet one or two of the team overnight and provide a home-cooked meal, this would be a wonderful experience for both parties.
“Following the event on June 4th, the team will also need lunch at the Port Douglas Surf Club where the prize-giving takes place. If anyone can help with a financial contribution towards this it will also be greatly appreciated.”
Any offers of assistance will be warmly welcomed and can be made to Heather Beck in Mr Entsch’s office – phone 0427 585 668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org