It’s an incredible personal achievement, riding the 1,200 or so kilometres from Hotham to Hobart in the Tour De Cure, and a mammoth effort to raise the $12,000 necessary to participate. But according to local cancer survivor and Tour De Cure participant Grant Ferreira, the best thing about the ride is the bond that is created between the riders and support staff.
‘It is an amazing feeling to be riding as part of that whole. It’s hard to explain, but we were divided into pelotons, where we worked together, supporting each other, and when there were riders who were not quite as strong we would pull them along just by sticking with them and talking to them. It was really great because you get to hear everyone’s story and you never felt as if you were doing it on your own.’
As a body of fundraisers and athletes, this year’s Tour De Cure cohort of around 170 riders raised a total of $1,874,981.76. Every night of their 9 day ride they would stop in a regional location and hold a nightly community dinner, where they donated an average of $10,000 to a local cancer related organisation.
The tour also visited schools where they treated students to presentations and gave them gifts of books and pencil cases, designed to educate them about cancer and living a healthy lifestyle.
According to Grant the whole tour is finely tuned, well organised and highly sophisticated, with every last detail of the ride, jerseys, pelotons, events, accommodation, fundraising and support for 170 riders, being thoroughly planned right down to the last detail.
‘We were up at 4 am every day and every rider would be allocated a peloton, with a special jersey, and a time of departure. Each peloton was completely colour coordinated so it looked amazing when we were all riding together.’
Grant was honoured to be the recipient of the highly coveted pink jersey only a few days into the ride. This jersey is given to the rider who most inspires with his story of survival, fundraising, and community engagement. The idea of these special, different jerseys is that they stand out from the rest of the riders.
Now back in Lennox Head, Grant will assume normal life once again, still out on the bike several mornings a week.
He’s thinking of ways he can thank the numerous people from this area who helped him put something back into cancer research and into the health system that helped him so much in his time of need.