2022 Challenge in the Tropics

Day 1 Blog—28 April 2022

Day 4 Blog - 24 March 2023

Launceston to Swansea

Written by: Team Hercules

Daily Stats

Distance: 150 kms
Average Speed: 24.6 kph
Climbing: 1563 metres
Moving Time: 6:07
Temperature: 11 min / 22 Max

Day 4 and after 3 days of riding and exploring the northern regions of Tasmania, there were a few tired bodies at the roll out in Lonnie this morning. Plus a handful who thought they maybe shouldn’t have had that third drink last night. But with a good flat run for 90 kms before the days climb, many riders were looking to ride into the day.  

Red peloton took the honours at rollout but were quickly undone with a wrong turn early on. Navigator Gareth took the blame, but not before Red did an extra climb of (approximately) 7km at 13% but has yet to be verified. Unfazed, fellow Team Hercules 'Wombie' continued his unofficial role of team morale officer and helping to quickly bring the red pelotons spirits up again.  Despite the extra climbing, Red peloton arrived at the first stop still just ahead of Team Blue. However, like a parent letting their child win a game to build their confidence, Red graciously allowed Blue to move ahead for the remainder of the day.

Our course was rolling at the outset, but did flatten out through the middle section and allowed some nice smooth and fast riding. The sun appeared, the countryside views were magic, and burning legs aside, all was right in the peletons. A solid 80kms to the first feed stop and with the days kms half done the riders were feeling in good sprits, however the day card profile showed a decided up tick in elevation just down the road.  A solid 7 km climb up to Lake Leake was on the cards.  

Morning tea was, once again, in a picturesque Tasmanian town of pre-1880 vintage, Campbell Town where the streets are lined with memorial bricks to every convict sent to the colony.  It was welcome sight for sore legs. Our tireless and cheery road crew, once again, delivering flawlessly.

To make up for the pleasing lack of wet weather during this trip, one farmer set his sprinkler across the road to give every rider just a taste of rain, but the sun on our backs soon rectified that.  

With morning tea done and belly's full, the riders set off — just 6 kms and they were at the base of the climb of the day. Thankfully while long the climb stayed consistent most of the way up at a solid 5-6% gradient and weaved it way up into the forests above.  Those wanting to give the legs a little blow out were able to, while those who wanted to simply tap it out to the top were able to.  

These next couple of sections to lunch were interesting. Beautiful rolling countryside broken by a mobile tent port-a-loo, some sharp and stern words from the team leaders to keep the riders in check and the hill.

The Port-a-loo
There being no public toilets for many miles around, our lead vehicle team erected a tent enclosing a portable toilet. Everyone was amused, but and the ladies were very grateful. In remote and rural area's providing suitable facilities for all the riders is critical where facilities are not available.  

The Stern Words
Road captains in Red peloton were getting worried with riders drifting a little close to the centre lines, while we were on quiet roads safety is paramount. Captains concerns were evident in their sharp words, Killer also gave the team a reminder at the next stop. No names were mentioned, so it was a Riddle who he was Furious at.

The Hill
Some said it as a ‘good climb’ due to its steady gradient. Others thought it horribly long. Here’s how rider Conners described it…

“As the wind swirled around my head. I had thoughts of those that have passed. I used my inner strength to find the power and the passion. As we went up the hill, I realised that sometimes you've got to take the hardest line. Then coming down the hill, it made me realise that You take what you get to get what you please, and that It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." 

All riders were successfully to the top of the climb and continuing on the rolling hills across the top to reach the Lunch stop. Reaching the lunch stop the riders were pretty quiet, but they were all treated to a delicious lunch catered by our amazing road crew, giving everyone a good energy boost.

A couple of more short climbs to the very top and then the fun part! The riders hard work was rewarded by an 18 km descent lifting all the riders' spirits. Nettie dragged Flanno down the hill in record time. All enjoyed the long cruise winding their way down to the finish.  A quick regroup and short roll into Swansea and our finish location for the night, overlooking Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay — this is a little peice of paradise on Tasmania's east coast.  Spirits were high at the finish by the seaside.

There were many quiet achievers in the peloton today… Babbage and Cameron to name just two.

Inspiration during the day was again found from Collette, who rode hamstrung but with huge courage. Less known, but no less inspirational, was the effort of Glovebox. He rode all but 8 of the days 158km battling illness. Fortunately the medics were ever present to check on him at all times.

The roll in was our best on tour yet. Swansea is a beautiful sea-side town, and our riders were shattered after four hard days on the road, but the awesome views certainly helped.

Gianis and Sterlo gave heartful thanks for riders and road crew in our huddle of there reasons for joining and their personal touchpoints with cancer. 

A few brave riders wandered to the beach out from for an ice bath of sorts in the cool waters of the bay, before some massages from our lovely Cheryl and Nicole.  The day was wrapped up with an amazing and relaxed cheese platters followed by a hearty BBQ dinner at the Swansea Bowls Club overlooking the bay and Freycinet across the water.  A few riders also taking the opportunity for a social game of lawn bowls - what a great way to round out the day.