I love doing the odd bicycle event, especially when its for a good cause to help support multiple sclerosis. After coming off three months of a serious shoulder injury, I certainly needed all the inspiration I could to get back on the bike.
2017 MS Melbourne Cycle
Due to the fact I live in the outer suburbs and rarely get a chance to get into the city. I was quite excited about the prospect of exploring new roads whilst seeing the sights of Melbourne, whilst making a difference to the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis.
I have only been back riding 8 days before this event & nowhere near enough preparation.
BTW I am very much out of shape.
The ride starts and finishes at Flemington Raceway, which which has been used for horse racing since way back in 1840. Flemington hosts many of Australia’s top races, including the Melbourne Cup, but you can’t beat the hores power that a cyclist can put out.
Waiting for the sun to rise, I joined hundred of riders at the start line. Waiting in eager anticipation. The MS Melbourn Cycle is a very family orientated ride, and it was amazing to see riders of all abilities, and so many children riding alongside their parents. My son is now seventeen months old, and too little to ride, but it was easy to picture myself, one day riding alongside him in an event like this.
We were sent off in waves, and it was a nice chillaxed pace. Working our way along the Maribyrnong River. I’m not too familiar with this side of town, and not ashamed to say right from the out set, I was majorly lost. Thankfully it was easy to navigate around the course with great signage and friendly volunteers to point out the way. We meandered through Williamstown, then Port Melbourne and the Docklands. Generally the riding was pretty flat, but there was the odd bridge crossing here and there to make it interesting.
Up ahead was a doozy of a climb up the West Gate Bridge.
This was the major reason why I signed up for this event. The West Gate Bridge is usually closed to cyclists, and you can only climb it on an event like this. This was my 4th time climbing the West Gate Bridge and I love to give it every ounce of strength to sprint up its steep slopes. Its a climb which you have to give respect, and it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Up until the base of the bridge, I was quite happy with how I was riding. Climbing is my bread and butter & I’ve this uncanny ability to know what to throw at a climb. I would have loved so much to open the throttle, but straight away my legs were singing a tune;
“I have nothing, nothing, so if you want to push hard, you can go and get stuffed!“
Yep I cruised up this one. Sitting at a sedate 21 km/h. Even though I was taking it easy I managed to cook myself. I could still sit on a decent pace, but my legs were getting heavier and heavier. Any time I got some respite at a traffic light I was huffing and puffing, trying to catch my breath. Desperately trying to get life back into my tired body.
My eyes were firmly on my Garmin counting down the k’s. Boy could I feel the lactic acid weighing down my legs. My body was hurting but I’ve survived too many epic rides to fail now. I wasn’t giving up and pushed as hard as I could.
And loving every minute of it.
2017 Ms Melbourne Cycle
I was relieved to get back to Flemington Raceway where I made a dash down to the finish line. Fist pumping the air in triumph. I somehow managed to average 29 km/h, and according to Strava was one of the fastest times for the ride.
There was a real festive atmosphere at the finish line. Many you couldn’t get the grins off their faces, and you could tell that this ride really meant a lot to them. Major Kudos to the organizers for putting together such a successful mass participation event.
The past three & a half months have been incredibly challenging for me with injury and illness. I really needed a ride like this, and to exceed expectations has made me a very happy camper. The 2017 MS Melbourne Cycle certainly has a thumbs up, not only from me but a number of its riders.
I will be back.
About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease which effects the central nervous system. It affects more young adult Australians than any other neurological condition.
Researchers are still looking for a cure, and sadly at the moment, multiple sclerosis is a lifelong disease. MS Australia helps people who are living with multiple sclerosis to access services, support. Treatments, and provide information they need to live full and happy lives.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary from person to person, but can include:
- Pain and numbness
- Pins and needles
- Cognitive difficulties
- Intolerance to heat
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Continence problems
- Blurred vision
- In severe cases, paralysis
- Click here to Learn more about Multiple Sclerosis.