Conquering Mountains at Our Own Pace
As we rode into Hobart on the penultimate day of our tour, we united as a whole group to ride the last sections. We'd spent the week riding in smaller groups based on skill and speed, and we'd settled into our group rhythms and routines, but as we made it to the Tasmanian capital, we'd formed into a team that truly "rides as one".
When we got up the next morning for our final day on the pedals, there was a mountain waiting that divided us. Some of us "nibbled" into the climbs at the base of kunanyi/Mount Wellington but left those hungry for more to get to the summit, for the "cherry on top". Some people ended their ride after the summit, while others just couldn't stop, and caught up with the “cake-and-coffee” group as we sauntered around Tinderbox and Blackmans Bay at a leisurely pace.
We scattered in all directions around Hobart for the afternoon. While wheels and lycra were packed away, the Hobart locals went back to their homes, and the education team finished off the final outreach events in Genorchy and Huonville. However, we all pulled back together for a final evening event that was dense with emotion and connectivity.
This room was full of people who had taken a week out of their busy lives to commit to a cause in which we all truly believed. We had spent time away from family, commitments and businesses. We had paid our own way and travelled from all over Australia (and one even from California!) to be here.
Many Hands Make the Revolution Roll
Everyone on the team wore multiple hats. We'd given up a part of our usual identities to become whatever was needed to be to make this event successful. Physios became photographers and bloggers. Health professionals of all kinds became bakers and sandwich makers. Doctors became shuttle bus drivers. Mechanics became motivators. Mums became cyclists and clinicians became administrators.
We wrote and delivered speeches. We had fundraised in our home communities, sat on panels, talked to the public, pedalled, catered, created and worked from morning until night – not just for this one week, but for many months leading up to it. We had done all this so that we could share our passion for the power of Pain Science to help reduce the burden of chronic pain in rural Australia.
This room full of people had connected with the 1500 Tasmanians who attended our events throughout the state. We had planted seeds of change and kick-started recovery journeys with a healthy dose of hope.
It struck me as I was sitting in that room that this was a group of people who had given everything they had to help make a difference, and with nothing left to express at the end of the week except for absolute, heartfelt, intense gratitude.
How lucky we all were to be a part of this incredible network of people, drawn together like static electricity. We were exhausted and yet we were recharged over dinner by the conversations and inspirations that came from a week on the road together.
After an evening full of words that moved us to tears, I walked back out into the warm evening with a feeling like a paperweight sitting in the middle of my chest. That weight was the feeling that now each one of us is a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Returning to a New Normal
The hangover of the Revolution lingered for a few days. My brain was full of fog, trying to process the many aspects of the experience that I had just been through. At the same time, I was buzzing with the excitement from new ideas, stories, experiences and plans for the future.
I spent another week in beautiful Tassie with my family. At first I missed the group, but I didn’t miss my bike! It was nice to spend mornings with my two young boys and not be compelled to head out on the wheels. It was nice to feel like I had some time again.
A couple of weeks later, I find myself habitually scanning the margins of roads for their cycling suitability. I smile at the sight of familiar turnoffs that lead to some of my favourite rides. I take a deep breath as I recall the beauty and freedom that I get from being self-propelled on two wheels. The addiction of the sport has proved almost as powerful as the pull of my new network of ‘pain’ friends, the one pursuit which has led me to the other. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Pain Revolution 2019.
I now face the challenge of taking action towards my goals of becoming more involved in the ‘pain world’, while keeping my promise of being more available to my family now that ‘Mummy’s big ride’ is over. I am now one of the ‘Revolutionaries’ who carry the responsibility of using the momentum of the Pain Revolution tour to continue to lift the bar for change in how we care for people with persisting pain.
We need to ensure that the ripple effect of our week in Tasmania reaches far beyond the shores of the Island State. Watch out for us in 2020!