Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Westpac Helicopter Mountain Bike Bash 2011

On Monday I arrived home after spending time in Australia participating in an eight-day mountain bike ride supporting the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.  This year was special as the ride was held in memory of my father-in-law, Brian Birchall, who was a board member and huge supporter of the service as well as a driver of one of the support vehicles for the past 8 years.

I got off the plane Thursday night in Tamworth, NSW after 36 hours of travel, had dinner with my mother-in-law and was on a bus heading to Rylstone, NSW the next morning.  On Saturday morning we set out on our 8 day ride over dirt, gravel, some technical single-track, a little tar and a bunch of hills.
 My borrowed bike and me on the first day of riding in Rylstone, NSW

Views of a typical dirt road near Rylstone
Stopped for a rest on a section of fireroad 
 Dunn's Swamp where we had lunch on Day 1
 An Echidna.  
Saw this little guy crossing the road and had to stop for a crappy cell phone picture.
Lunch stop on the way from Rylstone to Mudgee
 Cath and Scott
Steve "Deadrock" Livingstone and Andy Dowe
 Barry "Baz","Bazzaaaa" Walton, our fearless leader.
Deadrock cools off
Starting out on our wine-tasting tour of Mudgee
 Pieter van Gent Winery & Vinyard
 A toast to Brian. "To Birchy!"
 Bush vine Zinfandel at Lowe Wines
 Lowe Wines
USA vs. Australia
More wine tasting
 Yet another vinyard
Lawson Park Hotel in Mudgee

Between Mudgee and Gulgong.

 Deadrock's dinner in Gulgong
Gulgong

 Rest stop between Gulgong and Dunedoo (I am NOT making up the names)
A few more riders
Dunedoo
 Bikes!

Between Dunedoo and Coolah
Coolah, and yeat another Pub/Hotel
Exchanging of the jerseys ceremony
Day 7 Between Coolah and Quirindi (our 128km day)
 Start of Pandora's Pass
 Coming up near the top of Pandora's Pass
Me at the top with my new jersey
Breakfast at the other side of Pandora's Pass
 A causeway. Notice the stick on the left indicating water depth. 
It's what passes for a bridge in most of Australia



Morning tea stop in Werris Creek on the last day between Quirindi and Tamworth
 The stock route on the way to Tamworth
An iconic Aussie windmill
After 8 days of riding it's best not to ask

Sadly, I don't have any pictures from the awards ceremony held on Saturday night in Tamworth.