In the second half of 2022, Ash began planning a huge challenge – to cycle 350km in 4 days for Parkinson’s research. Over the weekend, Ash completed this challenge and has raised $21,300 for Shake It Up to bring us closer to a cure for Parkinson’s. Congratulations to Ash!
Before beginning this mammoth cycle, Ash shared his inspiration with us – his Grandad (Da). This time, we asked Ash to talk us through the challenge and his inspirational journey to reach his goals.
Tell us about your huge cycling challenge. How did it go?
I set out early on the 12th of January from Albany, Western Australia, with my support vehicle following closely behind with one of my best mates. From there we stopped at Mt Barker, where I caught up with a lovely local Ellen who talked to me about her brother’s Parkinson’s battle and gave us a generous donation. That kept me inspired to push hard on that first day! Day 1 in total was a 125km ride – 60km larger than any ride I had completed in a day (which was a massive relief). That night we stayed in Kojonup where we had a great meal and I got an early night to tackle Day 2.
Day 2 was a really tough day condition-wise (it was around 35 degrees!). I pushed myself to get a further 135km which got us to my family farm just outside of Collie. After a long day, it was nice to recover in the freshwater of the dam and replenish with a big BBQ.
Day 3 was another early start where I did a quick 25km into the Collie town centre to have coffee and brekky with some locals. I met up with Ray who shared his Parkinson’s journey and made a contribution that inspired me to push this next tough section of 55km to my home in Eaton. On this day I was lucky enough to have two support vehicles that helped me through some challenging sections of road.
Day 4 provided a welcome late start as I only had 12km to reach my end point in Bunbury at The Rose Hotel, where we had planned a huge event to celebrate what had been an amazing few months of fundraising for Shake It Up Australia. The final 12km was tough as my body was extremely fatigued from the prior three days but I made it! And we had a fantastic night raising additional funds.
What were the biggest hurdles and highlights along the way?
The biggest challenge was the heat which is probably to be expected in the peak of summer but Days 1 and 2 were particularly trying with temperatures pushing mid-30s and the harsh sun beating off the road. The terrain was at times challenging, with a lot of steep inclines. Riding on an extremely busy highway alongside large trucks was at times very nerve-racking too. The experience was a challenge physically, but also mentally. As I was riding solo I did have to really dig deep at times to push on when it got tough.
At the same time, there were so many amazing highlights on this journey – meeting people who shared the stories along the way and inspired me to push harder, sharing the experience with one of my best mates, my dad and my brother as a support crew, and amazing scenery. A big highlight for me was just completing it! This challenge was out of my comfort zone however I trained hard and was happy to complete it well under the planned time. And of course, the biggest highlight was the support I received climbing past $20,000 and with more money still being calculated from our Sunday session I expect the tally of funds to support Parkinson’s research will be a large one.
Can people still support you and donate?
Yes absolutely. I am still taking donations for at least the next few weeks as we finalise what we made from our silent auction and beverage sales from our massive event at The Rose Hotel. I also have a handful of our limited release charity tanks which were designed for the ride by myself.