2011 Ride Recap

Posted on May 16, 2011

We made it!

The 2011 ‘400 in 4’ Charity Bike Ride was successfully completed last Friday afternoon with the crew riding into Wagga Wagga in the early afternoon in glorious sunshine and with a tailwind at our backs.

Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the Tuesday morning to start the event. As the group gathered at 88 stn Campbelltown at 0600 to prepare to hit the road the heavens opened and the tone was set for the first half of the day. We were very grateful to be seen off by Lorraine, Carrie and Dr Harvey from the children’s hospital as well as Ch Supt. Marcus Baker and a few of the braver family members of the riders. After the obligatory safety brief from official pack Nazi S.O. Nick Beattie we were escorted from the station out to the highway by the Eagle Vale highway patrol who generously donated their time to ensure our safe passage.

Even though the weather wasn’t the best and the punctures began to stack up pretty early on our first day, never far from our thoughts were the other 2 members of the event who had begun their journey early on the Monday morning from the same spot. They are S.O Rob Mason and S.F Matt Cooper and they had decided to run the distance that we had planned to ride. Due to the fact that the first leg of the ride to Goulburn was 150km or so the runners decided to split it over 2 days and also run the back roads meaning that they would end up travelling 500kms in 5 days to Wagga Wagga.


The going for the riders was tough and the wet track meant that we had picked up over 15 punctures by midday which had slowed the pace dramatically. It did mean that Nat Wigely couldn’t talk to much though. A nice headwind meant that when we arrived at McDonald’s Sutton Forrest for lunch everyone was pretty keen for a break.


The weather began to clear around Marulan and spirits lifted as everyone thawed out and headed into Goulburn. After doing a round of the main shopping area selling raffle tickets we headed up to our accommodation for the first night at Trappers and settled in for some R&R. Matty Cooper showed up after his second day of running 2 and a half marathons a day and crashed as he had to make an early start on the second leg to Yass. Unfortunately his partner in crime, Maso, had to take a leave of absence – something about peas. Johhny Petterson was given the ominous task of staying with Coops as his support. A good night sleep and a long hot shower had everyone ready to go Wednesday morning so we all got back on the bikes and headed in to do our first school visit at Goulburn public.

After a bit of a game of soccer and some handball/basketball and with backing from the local guys from Goulburn fire station the kids were treated to a very educational show from Tim ‘Turtle’ Smith and a special appearance from Bernie Cinders followed by the obligatory explosion of the kitchen fat fire simulator which went down a treat.

As Coops had a fair head start on us for the day we hit the road to Yass and our second school visit for the day. As the fog burnt off we were treated to a perfect day with only a tiny bit of wind and it wasn’t long before the lactic acid from the long day before disappeared.


At about the 50km mark and with only a few puncture stops under our belts the pack met up with our marathon man and clapped him through a guard of honour on the side of the highway.

We rolled into Yass and were met by the local pump who graciously escorted us on a loop of the main street and back up to the school where we were booked in for our fire safety demonstration. Half the crew headed back into town to sell raffle tickets while the others set up for the demo. Once again Turtle and Bernie were incredibly popular, with Bernie being slightly overwhelmed by the love from the kids and his/her security detail let him down a bit.

We headed through town and after a stop to meet up with the ticket sellers and a few pies (except Dave McMurdo who was too slow for the last one) everyone kicked back at our accom. until word came through that coops had reached town. Most of the guys rode or ran with the man to see him back to the motel and a much needed massage from our rider/therapist Jen McPhee. Dinner at the Yass soldiers’ club saw plenty more money raised through the raffle and after a great meal and a few refreshments with the local firies we turned in.


Matty Coops headed off with his trusty support in tow at about 5 am, not before having the generous thought of leaving a motivational note and small gift for the bunch, and the rest made the short but dark and foggy trip up to Maccas for breaky at about 6.30. The temp was 4 degrees, and with the breeze when on the bike it felt a lot less. There was actually frost on the gloves and plenty of runny noses when we got in for breakfast.

Day 3 is always the king of the mountain day as there are plenty of hills both long and short so John ‘doggie’ Styles gave the brief on where and when the stages were set and we rode out of Yass on the road to Gundagai. Again once the fog burnt off and the sun came through we were blessed with a blue sky day and a nice little tail wind. The first hill stage, Conroy’s Gap, isn’t far in to the day’s proceedings and some early breaks were made by the punters of the pack hoping to snare an early point or two. This didn’t work as the pros passed us like we were standing still and Jason Kaul set the standard for the day by taking out the first of his many victories.

Plenty of fun was had and lot’s of sledging looking for that edge in the climbs, made for a great days riding and incredibly by the time we had caught up to Coops he was already well over half way through his 105kms for the day. Another couple of guards of honour to spur him along and we headed to the dog on the tuckerbox for the traditional group photo. Due to the fact we had another school to visit in Gundy we took a quick pic at the dog and rode the remaining 20 kms or so into town where we were met by Jacko and the pump from Gundagai brigade and escorted to the highest and furthest point in town from where the school was located (thanks for that one doggie).


Once again some stayed for the demo while the rest hit town to raise plenty of money. The school visit was amazing with some incredible questions from some very young kids which had a certain senior firey scratching at times. The local McDonald’s licensee Steve also came up to welcome us into town and let us know we were welcome in his restaurant for whatever we needed which was much appreciated.

As per the day before the school crew met up with the fundraisers and had a few local pies and awaited the arrival of our intrepid runner. Word came through that Maso had rejoined Coops and that they were just outside town so again everyone headed out to the highway off ramp and about 10 of the guys ran the boys in with the rest following on bikes or in the tender. Dinner at pub in the main street and again incredible generosity from the locals made for yet another fun and successful night as well as probably the best butterscotch pudding seen by a few of the bigger eaters in the group.

Last day, and what a morning. Coops and Maso, buoyed by the arrival of their better halves the day before hit the road on the final leg to Wagga Wagga at about 5 am while the rest had a leisurely 7 am start. Still freezing but worth every second the trip through town out to Maccas for breaky was spectacular. Another quality meal then on the road and just for something different a puncture within the fist 10 kms so everyone stripped off some of the many layers and enjoyed the final ride along the highway before the turnoff and the single lane dash for the final 40 km into Wagga.


Prime news met us about 20 km out from town and did a story to help promote fire prevention week and then the crew who had been split into two groups for safety on the single lane got back into one and headed into town. The pump from Turvey Park met up with us and drove in front of the pack down the main street to the memorial gardens near the council chambers where the 2011 charity ride was officially concluded.

It turned out that coops had been foxing for the other 4 days of running and had decided to put on the pace for the last day so wasn’t far behind us. We lined up and clapped him and Maso in to the park where the local paper took a pic and did a story for us. Seeing those two come in was one of the most amazing things I and all involved have ever witnessed. I still can’t believe they ran that far, in that time, for this cause, and beyond normal physical and mental strength. Coops and Maso achieved something that I hope everyone who saw it, or hears of it, recognises as truly phenomenal. I want to congratulate them both on behalf of the rest of the guys for inspiring us all.

The obligatory night out and awards ceremony at the William Farrer hotel swung into action with an incredible effort put in by all to sell loads of raffle tickets to all of the under weather punters from the day’s racing at the Wagga Gold Cup which by coincidence was on the same day as our arrival.

Some of the awards were:

  •  Event MVP : Rob Woods
  •  King of the Mountain : Jason Kaul
  •  Smiling Assasin award : Ollie Ruhen
  •  Best Stitch up award and also 2011 Fashion award : James Boland
  •  Bunny award : Steve Bourke
  •  De Gas award : Shared by Nat Wigely and Dave McMurdo
  •  Wooden spoon : Scotty Dodson

We will be drawing the raffle and donating all money raised at the hospital on the 8th of June and the riders will be selling raffle tickets until then so if you are interested, the prizes and a list of the riders are on our website www.400in4.org. Feel free to contact any one of them to purchase. There are also lots more pics and videos on the website.

This event wouldn’t be possible without the help of a lot of people:

  •  Scott Henderson who took the reins and organised the majority of the event.
  •  Our support crew: Nick Short, Tanya Wiggins, Tim Smith and Johnny Petterson who sorted everything during the day so the riders didn’t have to.
  •  Our main sponsors: National Fire Industry Association NSW, Macquarie Bank, McDonalds and Fire and Rescue NSW.
  •  Ch. Supt. Marcus Baker
  •  Chris Fish, Todd Lucock and everyone at Community Engagement
  •  Jen McPhee and Hendo for all of the massages for the sore muscles.
  •  All of the riders who got in and helped with every aspect of this ride. It made for an amazing time and I look forward to next year.

Stats for the Ride

  •  Day one : 149 kms Av speed 26.4 kph 0700 start 1530 finish 19 punctures
  •  Day 2 : 90 kms Av speed 25 kph 0830 start 1500 finish 6 punctures
  •  Day 3 : 103 kms Av speed 27.2 0630 start 1500 finsh 4 punctures
  •  Day 4 : 91 kms Av speed 24.1 0700 start 1430 finish 8 punctures

It’s been a great year, thanks for all your support, see you in 2012.


May 2011.