A world champion and a new cycling enthusiast will be riding alongside each other in a gruelling adventure to raise money for respite and other support services for people with disabilities in the ACT region.
Brett Bellchambers and Karen Hosking will be part of the 24-strong team from the Department of Human Services in the Hartley Cycle Challenge. They’ll brave wild weather and difficult conditions to ride over 450 kilometres from Canberra to Charlotte Pass and back again to raise money for Hartley Lifecare.
It’s the fifth year staff have supported the event – raising over $350,000 since their first ride.
A horrific cycling accident was the catalyst for World Champion solo cyclist Brett Bellchambers to sign up for his first Hartley ride. While riding his bike in 2015, he hit a wallaby at 80 kilometres per hour. He ended up in intensive care for two weeks.
“The accident brought home to me what was important in my life. Luckily for me the injuries weren’t as serious as the doctors initially thought. I did have several brain haemorrhages though and it took me a good few months to recover,” Brett said.
“Hartley Lifecare supports people who need help and their families who look after them. It is comforting to know there is an organisation like Hartley who would have looked after me if things had gone differently.”
This year Karen Hosking will be stepping out of the support vehicle and riding for the first time. She’s counting on her team mates to help her up the mountain.
“I decided to ride this year after doing support for three years and wanted to be part of the 20th year of the challenge,” Karen said.
“The mental challenge will be the hardest part for me, I have to keep going and not stop. I’m part of a team, I can’t just say I’m tired, I want to stop and rest.
“I’ve told the other riders they’ll need to keep pushing me if I want to stop. Most of the time it’s a mental game, the legs can keep going.”
The team has already raised over $70,000 this year, well on the way to the goal of $100,000. Hearing Australia and The Green Shed have each sponsored the department’s team $10,000.
The Cycle Challenge starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday.