Anyone that follows our @PrinthieWines twitter feed will be well aware of our participation in the recent MS Gong Ride.
There were five of us that rode under the banner of the Wine Peloton. It included myself, Ed Swift (one of the owners of Printhie), David Hoskins from Brangayne Wine in Orange (@BrangayneWines), Tim White (@timjwhite, wine science student, occasional cellar hand in Orange wineries, PhD in Chemistry for goodness sake and IT expert!) and Simon Wright, who currently has no involvement in the wine industry other than he drinks the stuff and we ride together regularly.
The Gong Ride is organised by MS Australia who support Multiple Sclerosis sufferers across Australia. MS is quite a debilitating disease. I personally don’t know anyone who has it but the opportunity for a spectacular bike ride and to raise money seemed too good to knock back.
If you can imagine a cycling peloton of 10,000 people charging down the highways and roads from Sydney to Wollongong, it’s quite a sight. There are all types of cyclists from those that look very professional (even if they are not) to those that look like they pulled an old ‘pushie’ out from the back of the garage that hasn’t seen the light of day for 20 years. It takes some less than 3 hours to ride the 90kms, other take more than 6 hours (that would be that guy on the 20 year old rusty pushie).
It is an amazing ride. Once you get out of the Sydney suburbs you plunge down into the forests of the Royal National Park. It’s like a little bit of rainforest – dark, cool, damp and towering trees. You climb out of the valley and at the top of the climb there is a panoramic view of the sparkling blue ocean. The ride along the cliff drive is fantastic, especially when a whale pops its head up to have a look…apparently. I didn’t look. I didn’t want to crash but Simon saw it. Damn I still haven’t seen a whale! Then it was a fast ride with a tailwind along the beachfront to the ‘Gong.
The Wine Peloton raised $2,500 which seems paltry given the top team raised something like $125,000. But we are proud of our effort and that we exceeded our target by $500. We hope it makes life a bit easier for someone who is suffering from MS.