What is the Indian Pacific Wheel Race you may well ask? It is a solo unsupported cycling event which was set up as a race from Fremantle (near Perth, Western Australia) to the Sydney Opera House – a distance of 5,500 km which started on 18 March 2017 – and get this – there are no prizes, the only reward is the satisfaction of completing such an epic race.
70 riders started the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Freemantle and were making good progress, until on 31 March 2017 one of the leading cyclists, cycling champion Michael Hall, was killed when he was struck by a car near Canberra. Shortly afterwards the race organisers decided to cancel the race, effectively abandoning the other 69 riders who were still competing in the race apart from continuing to provide information via their race trackers.
You may ask – as a travel blogger, why do I care? Well I care because my cousin Christie Hamilton is one of the competitors in the race. At the time the race was cancelled she had already overcome tremendous odds (and bike wheel issues) to cross the desolate Nullarbor Plains. After a day of mourning she decided to continue the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, and has persevered and today crossed the border into Victoria, her home state, and is averaging 200 km per day of cycling. She is determined to complete the race and I have been living vicariously through watching her progress and interacting with her on Facebook. There currently appear to be a final five riders still competing in the race, all determined to complete the course.
There are lots of people out there still ‘watching the dots’ on the race trackers, and Christie has been receiving a warm welcome as she passes through each township, with cyclists joining her for sections of the course, and local police joining in to support her as she rides to complete the race.
The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is a true story of perseverance and overcoming the odds to complete the race, and I ask you all to continue to support the remaining riders through to completion of this epic race.