Gra Nomad Wanderings

Friday, September 30, 2011


 Lani, ace photographer, top weather presenter, capable navigator... and she can even ride a bike! Here she leads the team forward in difficult conditions. She is keen not to be eliminated.

 So too is Alec. He has tried extremely hard not to be in the lower half when the decision is made to eliminate a rider.
Is Andrew safe? Maybe. Of course too long in the showers, or too many flats, or even eating too many lollies could easily deem you eligible for the cut.

 Hannah was fearful she would be cut.... but she's safe ..... for now.

 Justin got some of his books wet. That could've been the end of him.... but he's still here. Well done Justin.

 James thought he had plenty to smile about..... BUT.... he is now departing. Good effort mate. Better luck next time.

Gordon and Diana were glad they made it through, despite Diana losing her "legs" 2 days ago. 
 She may well be smiling here, but not so when she learnt that she had been "chopped". Eliminated. Oh well... there'll always be another chance Sarah. You were a tad unlucky I thought.

 Here's the team waiting nervously for the announcement! Georgie was not available for comment. She is still in the team..... JUST.

The D team. (Mark, Andrew, Stuart and Ian). They are a bit short. In fact they're a bit short in a lot of areas. You couldn't eliminate any of them or there'd be none left. Legend Mark Sutton (with lovely Rosie) joined us today. Actually he will have to do well to avoid being eliminated seeing he missed the first six days. I don't hold out much hope for him really.
The management would like to acknowledge the excellent photographic efforts from DC (skipper) and  of course Lani. Without their efforts... who knows.... Thanks.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


 It was a tough day at the office, even for experienced Roger Kauffman on his recumbent.

 Narrandera to Temora... wet, windy, and a tad uncomfortable. "Why do I have to ride in wet knicks?"

 Yeah... it was a bit much even for Lani, who had to rest up in the Pajero, look after the soft toys and provide weather reports for the other riders. She's looking for an opening in television.

 Georgie the Wancer (cross between walking and dancing), was also a bit worn out. As I said, "rough day at the office!"

 This was the lunch stop today. It pelted down raining a few times during the day, including at lunch time.

McCubben, Neill and Steve Clarke were happy enough despite the inclement weather. Lucky much of that wind was right in our favour. Tomorrow: Temora to Young.... an easy ride.
Oh, some people might be interested... the D group averaged 32.3 kph for the 133 km! (Must've been a strong tailwind!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


 Narrandera to Leeton - the long way! Jim has arranged a special detour. But then we started to get some rain and even lightning. Teams turned around and then headed back to Narrandera where we got some grub before then heading to Leeton. All good.
 Always happy!!!
 Always in charge!
 The team gets inbto Leeton via Yanco.

Dave Chapple and Hannah. Cool guys... go for it! Total of about 65 km.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The B team led by Jeff Neill look pretty impressive as they fly by.

 There are 4 teams.... A team, B team, C team and .... yep... thought you'd guess it.
Here the 4 support vehicles rest while we have lunch at Grong Grong. We travelled from Wagga Wagga to Narrandera today - about 115 km. Good riding conditions.
 Dave counsels 2 of the speedy riders from my A team.

 Andrew leads the D team with Paul C in the right of the picture.

 Dave and Karen I reflect on the ride.

Three of the "quicks" from the A team - Hannah, Georgie and Lani.
Tomorrow we do about 100 to get from Narrandera to Leeton..... don't ask me how as I haven't looked at the maps yet.

Monday, September 26, 2011


 This bear - he's been named Alfred - is watching over the A team. I'm sure he must've been with me from Gold Coast to Sydney. He loves the car that's for sure.

 The Bike for Bibles ride headed off out of Goulburn on Saturday morning. I joined them after they'd finished day 1 - Goulburn to Boorowa, 129 km.

 Day 2 took the team of riders, all 34 of them, to Cootamundra. 97 km. Four teams each followed by a road support vehicle.

 There are 10 support folk, some being straight roadies and some food roadies.

 Day 3 was Coota to Wagga. Neat 104 km. Good roads and we had a tailwind with us!
The D team averaged just under 32 kph.

Tomorrow we head to Narrandera. Meanwhile my bride has made her way back home. (South Coast of NSW.)
Sure miss those RIDE4RETINA folks. It was a fun ride. (Gold Coast to Sydney.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


My co-pilot (in the Pajero) was Robin. She sees pretty well, but it's 10 years since she was unable to get her driver's license. She was in charge of food on the ride and an invaluable asset. She also helped with communications etc. Me? Well, Fay would tell you that without a designated navigator I'm hopeless! She could be right.
Today the riders set out at 8 am for the ferry through to Palm Beach. The 2 support vehicles went round, doing 100 km.  Then at 9:45 am, we took off, heading south.... Pajero, riders, extra riders, Don/Lorraine from Nabiac (the other road support crew, and Anne Marie. She just did Palm Beach to Manly.)
Party when we reached Manly, then I took off for Earlwood, Goulburn, Yass & finally Boorowa.... 484 km for the day. That's because I'm now a road support for a Bike for Bibles ride - Goulburn to Goulburn in 9 days...
Tell you more tomorrow.
I.... felt a bit emotional at the end of the ride in Manly today. It was a special ride. Hey, I sure miss Harper (Lindy's guide dog.) You get attached to a dog like that when you're with him for a week or so.

Seeya tomorrow. Sorry about no pix. Maybe I'll steal some. .... well I found a few that maybe you haven't seen.

Total distance.... 1,000 km or damn close to it.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Tim Owen is the state Liberal member up this way. He made a point of catching up with us and reckoned he might be able to do something for Retina Australia. (At least I think that's what was happening.) Don't get him mixed up with Tom Phillips (just above.) Tim has a tie on in the top pic. Tom came on board to pilot Big Dog (John). Anybody who takes on that task gets a big thanks from us all and Troy slips him five or ten bucks (on account of it means he doesn't have to do it! 

 But wait! There's more! Stuart joins the gang! He's a Formston. We even found a team shirt for him so he didn't have to stand out in the yellow jersey he was wearing. In pic - Stuart Formston, Matt Formston and Lorraine Formston. I'm gonna check and see if they're any relation!
 What a brilliant reception we got when we arrived at Green Point Christian School! Stacks of kids and staff.... and they gave the riders a guard of honour. Doesn't get much better than that. They'd been talking about the riders coming through and had raised a wad of money (I'm not sure how much... I'll find out for you.)

 Pretty well behaved kids! And I've seen a kid or two in my travels.

 Here Matt has a chat with Hayden who is vison impaired. Hayden was the centre of attention.

 Finally made it to Crown Plaza in Terrigal. Wow! Elton (who is Lindy's pilot) wonders which bed to choose. Thanks heaps Crown Plaza for your generosity in hosting the team and providing brekky for us as well.
You oughta come and hang out here. Think you'd enjoy it.
Elton, a reliable source, has pedalled 932.78 km so far on this trip (of course with a bit of help from Lindy Hou!) He wants to do 67.22 km tomorrow as we head to Manly. Any bets?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


On Wednesday, Team Tandem were in trouble! Like, back wheel trouble. They needed a wheel built. Hubs, spokes, rim, discs.... all that sort of stuff. And we didn't give them a great deal of notice at the bike shop.
Bourkes Bike Shop to the rescue! Not only did they do the job, but they were generous when the bill was made up. Thanks ever so much fellas. Maybe I shoulda bought this lovely Specialized MTB!  $1499.

 Guess what you can buy me for Christmas?

 Here's Peter at work on the wheel. Well Peter, it is still holding up mate!

 At Nabiac we stayed at Bunda Creek Lodge. What a great great place. Out in the scrub and roomy enough for about a dozen of us.

 Great setting. I'll be back. Thanks Brian and Heidi.

 Last minute teeth clean before heading off on the road to Newcastle. Robin is the designated cook or food roadie.

 Here are the riders having arrived at the Brewery in Newcastle. About 150+ km by the end of the day.

And the full team - riders, roadies and the cook! They all look pretty happy to have made it this far. Mind you the Newie traffic we could do without.
Great to catch up with the Ekes tonight over a Thai meal. Tomorrow - to Terrigal. Maybe less than 100 km!