In mid-September, a team from CME joined a group of about 30 cyclists for the journey of a lifetime – a ride from Perth to Laverton, via Goomalling, Dalwallinu, Mount Magnet, Sandstone, Leinster and Leonora.
Overall, the Perth-Laverton Cycling Classic comprised 1170km through some of WA’s most historic, remote and beautiful landscapes and regional communities. It also raised nearly $100,000 for a mentoring and cycling program in WA’s Northern Goldfields, including almost $25,000 from Team CME (the initial targets were $57,500 and $10,000 respectively).
From an individual perspective, the trip left an indelible mark on every participant. We caught up with Team CME for their reflections on an epic week on the road.
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Paul Everingham – Chief Executive
The best bits: The landscape that we travelled through in the Wheatbelt and Goldfields was awesome. The rugged plains, the bright fields and the wildflowers were spectacular. Each day we were fortunate to experience a new cultural experience with local Traditional Owners. Learning the early history of the regions from the Traditional Owners was very informative and rewarding. Meeting local people and volunteers in each town along the way was also really great. It is just so amazing to see how many good people there are in regional communities who care enough to invest a lot of time and energy to ensure their communities remain strong.
One of my very favourite parts of the bike ride was watching how many of the stronger cyclists helped the less experienced riders in times of difficulty. This was an amazing part of the ride that really bonded together the members of the group. At the end of each day that was a great sense of achievement and camaraderie.
The hardest bits: The most challenging part of the ride for me was the first hour of each day when my legs were still “waking up” and I was mentally getting used to the new day on the bike. This got easier with each day and mostly only lasted 30-60 minutes. Once we had been riding for an hour or so I was back into my rhythm and happy to be on our way.
What it meant to me: Taking part in the ride was really meaningful for me. Raising funds for a small remote community that sometimes gets overlooked is important to me. Small towns like Laverton, Leonora, Mt Magnet and Sandstone cannot be left behind while others thrive. Forming part of a group of cyclists who were there to support each other and make sure everyone was safe and healthy was also a wonderful part of the journey.
Kira Sorensen – Senior Adviser, Environment & Sustainability
The best bits: The Perth-Laverton Cycling Classic was an extraordinary experience. It was a great pleasure to ride with such a passionate and supportive group of people, the team spirit and camaraderie was unlike anything I’d experienced and was something I felt truly proud to be a part of.
Riding through the Goldfields was amazing – on the bike you feel so connected with nature and getting to enjoy the beautiful country in all its wildflower glory was something to cherish. Meeting with Traditional Owners as we travelled through was particularly special: learning about them, their history and the pride they have in their deep connection to country and their knowledge of how to care for country was humbling and inspiring.
The hardest bits: The biggest challenge for me on the ride was certainly the mental challenge. Riding such long distances really pushes you physically, keeping yourself focussed and not giving up was challenging but such an important lesson. It teaches you that you are stronger and more capable than you think you are, and this is something you take with you into all other aspects of your life, not just sports.
Another amazing thing about the ride was that the team was always there to help you to push through those challenging times – we were always there supporting each other, offering words of encouragement and a helping hand to make sure we all crossed the finish line as a team. Knowing you have people to back you up and help when you need it really helps you to strive harder and further.
What it meant to me: Participating in the ride was a great opportunity to support local businesses and communities, and engage with and learn from Indigenous custodians of the land. It was also a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, get physically fit and make some great new friendships. I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone to take part in this great cause.
Rob Carruthers – Director of Policy and Advocacy
Best bits: The scale of the adventure, measured not just in kilometres travelled but the collective commitment of the riders and volunteers who were so giving of their time, effort and funds to better the lives of disadvantaged youth in an area of the country few people visit. It was quite simply joyous to roll through parts of WA that I had not seen before during the peak of wildflower season, following a long wet winter. Meeting up with locals and Traditional Custodians who are so proud and have such a deep connection to their neck of the woods rounded out the inspiring experience.
The hardest bits: The mental challenge of backing up day after day to complete 150+ kilometres in challenging wind and heat as the ride went on, however this was offset by the simplicity of the mindful headspace I got into – both on the road and reinforced by easygoing eat-ride-eat-sleep routine the peloton became well accustomed to. I was somewhat surprised by how well my body physically adapted to these challenges, but I certainly now know where my sit-bones are located!
What it meant: The sense of collective achievement was very gratifying and unexpected in the sense of the camaraderie built with a group of 30-odd misfits who completed the ride. Every single person involved was there for something much more than themselves individually completing the distance each day. The unwavering support, shared commitment and positive outlook irrespective of present challenges were all traits matched by the communities in which we visited. The proud towns of Dalwallinu, Mt Magnet, Sandstone, Leinster, Leonora and Laverton simply would not survive or thrive if these values weren’t shared and reinvested for future generations.
Christophe Duigou, partner of Kira
The best bits: There were many highlights of the Perth to Laverton ride. By and large the major one was the cultural experience. The openness and warmth with which we were received by the local Indigenous community members, along with the sharing of their personal stories and history gave us a warm insight to their connection to land, country and the value of their spirituality. What also really stood out was the camaraderie and team work of the entire group, cyclists and support team alike, which made for an amazing shared experience that I will fondly remember.
The hardest bits: The most challenging aspect of the ride at the time was the physical and mental aspects. However when looking back on the trip, this also made for one of the highlights where we pushed past our own perceived limits, along with the help and support of fellow riders.
What it meant to me: Taking part in the Perth to Laverton ride was a more rewarding experience than I had originally anticipated. The yarns told, experiences shared, and friendships made as well as time, and a lot of it, spent riding through a beautiful and remote Australian landscape made it an incredible journey which I intend to repeat one day.