Saturday, December 8, 2007

Once Were Warriors

Yesterday I was asked if I could help out ORCA (Off Road Cycling Adventures) by taking a group of kids for a ride in Murrindindi Scenic Reserve at Toolangi State Forest. I jumped at the chance. It’s always good to show young kids what mountain biking is all about. These kids (all boys aged 11-12) all come from broken families and are in need of positive male role models to help them make the transition from boy to manhood. The program is sponsored by Anglicare and called Peaceful Warriors.

My day started at Hallam picking up the ORCA ute and trailer fully loaded with Kona’s. I thought I have an impressive shed full of Kona’s, these guys have about 60 all kept up to date and running smoothly.

The camp leader informed me he wanted to teach the kids about teamwork and over coming obstacles in life. Having visited Murrindindi earlier this year, I had ridden the perfect track for this life lesson. I sold it as a ride’n hike. But I knew it was going to push everybody on the ride, including myself.

Oh, did I mention it was steep. Bloody steep.

Each kid had a “buddy” to support them whilst on the camp, a male role model. That meant 10 kids 10 buddies and 2 support group leaders and 2 ORCA mountain bike guides. This was a lot of bikes to hike up. We stopped at Wilhelmina Falls for lunch. After lunch it took 1 hour to get everybody plus bikes to the top, a total distance gain of about 400m. Everybody needed to dig deep and put in or we would have been there much longer.

Lucky we had a great descent back to camp. Everybody enjoyed the experience and the program leader was most impressed with the “lesson” ORCA was able to provide the kids. Total ride time = 5 hours, total ride distance 9.5kms. (And no that is not a typo)

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