"If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal"... this was the case for my ride.
For those that don't know, my plan was to ride 5,300 km, pretty much a lap of Queensland which meant I needed to ride around 250 km/day for just over 21 days. See "Jo's Birthday Ride" on Facebook for details of the Journey.
In the end, I rode just over 4000 km in 20 days (just over 200 km/day).
My goal never changed, to raise awareness and funds for Eagles Wings.
I will walk you through my day, the alarm goes off at 4.15am, I would have some breakfast, a prayer with the team and then on the road by 5am, the first 3 hours of each day were the hardest. It was a mental test to stay on my bike, the part of my brain that is my strength and determination had to fight so hard with the part of my brain that just wanted to go back to bed.
On several occasions there were tears saying to my support crew, "I don't know if I can go on". God would win and the strength and determination that He has given me would takeover. Three hours in, I would stop for my second breakfast and one of Joe Jansen's amazing coffees, this was followed by 3 hours of riding which I referred to as my only time of awesomeness. This was when it felt like I was just going out for a local ride on any given weekday.
Around the 6 hour mark, it was lunch time and it was this time of the day when the heat would take its toll. One day our thermometer showed the bitumen was 62°C, the days were generally up around 40°, I usually encountered headwinds and to top it off the sun was always there, beating down onto my face.
God would give me gifts of encouragement along the way and these usually came when I was struggling. There was a gentleman who was driving towards me waving or so I thought, as he got closer I realised that he was waving money, he'd heard me on the radio and thought he would see me along the road. "You are amazing, keep going, it's a great cause", were his words. A lady in her camper stopped in the middle of the road after spotting me, I wasn't hard to spot as I was wearing bright pink cycling gear. "I've just heard you on the radio" she stated and told me she was going to donate when she got home. The was another gentleman who called on the CB Radio, "Is someone with the cyclist? What is she doing?" and the truck driver who caught up with us one night at dinner stating "I saw you earlier today about 100 km from here. What are you up to?" Without hesitation both these men donated some of their hard earned cash.
Phone calls from my son, Haydn who was in Zambia with the building team, letting me know what a difference the money raised would make. All the words of encouragement on Facebook, text messages and phone calls I received, all these moments kept me going.
It was on the road to Croydon, right up in the north of Queensland that it started to fall apart, the heat and the headwinds were too much, so for the first time I drafted behind the camper to help protect me from the head winds. I did this for about 15km and with only 20k to Croydon I honestly thought I would make it, until I didn't. We pulled over for water and I can remember Graham asking "Are you alright?', my answer was "No". He had to help me off my bike and help me to walk over to where I could sit down. That evening at dinner, God spoke to me and said "You need a day off".
So the next day we drove to Ravenshoe, the roads were quite dangerous and I believe that God was protecting me from harm. This day for me was extremely hard as I couldn't even listen to Graham talk about the ride or for that matter I couldn't even think about riding without having an anxiety attack. I felt like I was broken, that part of my brain that was my strength and determination was gone and I didn't know how to get it back. I thought that this was the end of my Journey. Lyndell said that we should pray as a team, I knew God needed to speak to someone else and get them to tell me what I needed to do, as I wasn't functioning properly. We received a phone call at that moment from Reid Anderton and with the words he spoke to me and the prayers from my team, that evening I went to bed a completely different person. God had restored my mind and I was ready to ride again.
I got back on my bike and rode from Ravenshoe to Port Douglas. Unfortunately when waking the next morning there were very strong head winds and combined with some heavy rain, it was too dangerous to ride.
We grabbed some breakfast at a local cafe and upon coming back from the bathroom there was a poster and it seemed it was meant for me... 'If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal'.
My plan wasn't working so we changed my plan: I would ride each day until I couldn't ride anymore, I would give it everything I had until I had nothing to give. I prayed as I rode along that God would let me know when it was time to stop each day.
My Goal never changed: to raise awareness and funds for Eagles Wings.
Together we have raised over $54000 and have 53 students with an ongoing sponsorship of $15 per month.
I believe all things are possible through God. My strength and determination all come from God and without Him what I did would not have been possible. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.