We left Sydney a week ago as a bunch of cyclists, and we arrived in Albury as friends and supporters as we all band together on the revolutionary work of changing the face of pain in rural Australia. The bush has been a spectacular backdrop throughout the ride, and today was no exception as we hugged the Murray River for much of the 133kms, making our way from Corryong to Albury. Mt Granya provided a sharp climb (and spectacular views) for a 1700 vertical metre climb total during the day. In Albury, we filled up the room at the Commercial Club twice, with the public, and with health professionals, giving us great hope for a grassroots change in the face of pain in this region. The end of the ride is another beginning for our Local Pain educators to engage with the people in their towns that are looking for help. The pedalling legs are having a well-deserved break, while the Revolution marches on.
Nathan Green writes today's blog. Nathan is an exercise physiologist from Queensland, and represented our platinum sponsor AIA in the ride.
Another 6am wake up to get ready for the last day of PR2018. A quick check to ensure all fingers and toes are still attached following the freezing, wet descents of yesterday, before getting on to Aus Weather to check on today’s conditions - sunny 4-25 degrees …… and light winds…..awesome!
As I pull on the lycra and smear on the chamois cream after another huge breakfast, I realise that the aches and pains that had seemed so serious earlier in the week are not there this morning, and rather than the familiar anxiety about my ability to complete today’s course, I feel quietly confident that today will be a great day on the bike.
Pondering this change in my physical and psychological condition over the past few days (many will remember how poor I looked, felt and sounded on Friday following the slog to Bungendore), I feel like this transformation is a result of several important factors.
Firstly, I have been surrounded by supportive people all too happy to encourage and pick me up when feeling a bit overwhelmed. Then there has been the amazing ride leaders and experienced cyclists, generous with their education, guidance and advice. Finally, there is all the practice that has been put in (over 4000km and 50,000VM) since that first training ride on January 2nd.
Much like the research clearly tells us about how to help those in chronic pain – increase their knowledge and understanding about the biology/neurophysiology of pain, believe in them, show them empathy, teach them the skills and strategies they need, encourage them to practice these skills regularly and support them along their journey, and they too will experience this life-changing improvement in physical and psychological well-being. It's a much longer journey for most than I have experienced in this ride, but this experience has shown me just how important this is process is.
The final ride passed in a blur of excitement and shared camaraderie as our final destination approached with the mighty Murray River on our right for much of the afternoon. Then, all too soon, we reached Albury to a raucous welcome from the support team and some inspired locals. Feelings?? Elation, exhaustion, relief, pride and maybe just a tinge of sadness that this amazing journey had come to an end. Most of all now with a few hours to reflect - a real sense of achievement that we had taken some small steps toward achieving the Pain Revolution’s vision.
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