Ararat to Ballarat – 90km

The weather was misty and cold as we pedaled out of our accommodation at Ararat today to face our second last day on the bike at a distance of 90km. We were all thankful that the sun managed to break through the clouds throughout most of the day and the rain stayed away. Our peloton grew in numbers again today with two of Phil’s mates from Melbourne Karl and Damon.

Our first BLT was at Buangor before a further 20km roll (up one of the few hills we have seen since arriving in Victoria) into Beaufort, where we enjoyed another home baked morning tea from John and Janette’s friends – cheese and bacon toasties, chocolate hedgehog and caramel slice. We certainly have not gone hungry on this trip.

Travelling into and beyond Beaufort we navigated our way along side the road extensions that are taking place between Ararat and Ballarat. We turned off the main highway into the Avenue of Honor and faced a headwind for 5km of the last 15km into Ballarat, where we made our way straight to the Beechworth Bakery for lunch.

Whilst at lunch Michelle continued to work her media magic and it wasn’t long before we were talking to WIN News, ABC 107.9 and the Ballarat Courier. Kerryn and I were interviewed by WIN and we were all filmed and photographed by the media and local paparazzi (family and friends) riding loops of the streets outside the bakery. After our media commitments we were greeted by staff Peter and Tim at the Sovereign Park Motor Inn, where we will spend our last nights accommodation before arriving in Melbourne tomorrow.

During tonights dinner we enjoyed watching the WIN News interview of START Foundations arrival into Ballarat and all shared our high and low points throughtout the journey. It was great to hear others thoughts on the various days, challenges and memorible momemts of our 5 week (shorter for some) adventure.

I would like to take this opportunity to concur with many of Phil’s comments a couple of days ago in thanking everyone that has been a part of this journey.

The tight knit group of cyclists and support crew on Ride for the RAH is one group of people I will never forget being a part of. The stories, the challenges, the memories and the laughs are something I will hold close forever. There is also a group of people who may not have pedaled one stroke on their bikes but have been a massive part of this journey. Thank you to all our family and friends who have been such a supportive part of this adventure, you too are just as amazing!

Being a part of making this crazy idea of Kerryn’s come true and playing a part in the grand plan that tomorrow will come to fruition, makes me immensely proud!

Bring it home team!

Richard Cooke