The Meandarra Ride – “it was easy!”
No one could ask for more excitement in a town boasting fewer than 350 residents, or for more community pride and hard-earned satisfaction than marked the end of the terrific Girls Got Heart registered charity’s three-day, 400-plus-kilometres Brisbane to Meandarra bicycle ride for Heart of Australia.
Passing road-train drivers honking up a wall of sound as they passed, a stately police escort, all the local primary school kids waving welcome balloons, a small camera-loaded drone filming action video, husbands, children, partners, parents and friends of the riders, as well as bemused Grey Nomads from the local van park – all welcoming 34 elated ladies who stayed on course through the marathon ride.
They “officially” finished their 444km ride involving climbs totalling 3000 metres, on August 18 on the side of Meandarra’s main street in the shadow of the Heart of Australia clinic-on-wheels – where Dr Rolf and clinic staff were working through a packed patient list.
When Dr Rolf asked the weary women “how was it?, they smiled as one and shouted back “it was easy”.
Then it was into group photographs and a tour through the Heart Truck before the Girls saddled up for a final 7km ride to the picture-perfect Uralla property and preparations for that night’s pig-on-a-spit dance party – and what happened there stays there!
Dr Rolf says of the events: “Of all the many gestures of support from all the communities we visit, this magnificent ride effort just blows us away and my team and I just can’t find the words of appreciation it deserves; it’s a wonderful, humbling thing, such determined support for our work for the people of the bush – thank you.”
And the bottomline?
Ahead of the ride, Brisbane-based Girls Got Heart founders Rebecca East and Keely Mancini announced that the ride, titled Heart of Uralla 2017, already had attracted more than $100,000 in support – a handsome increase over their target of $55,000.
Even before the August 16 start of the ride in Brisbane, six determined volunteer riders from Toowoomba – Bella Reynolds,Sarah Austin, Elissa Walker, Katrina McNalty, Therese Blades and Lesley Goff – were “beefing up” the plan.
They arranged for Dr Rolf to speak at a “Feast of Beef” lunch on August 4 at Fitzy’s Toowoomba, a special feature being beef on the menu from local supplier Mort and Co.
The local Fairholme College, supporting the Toowoomba ladies in their fundraising efforts, arranged a lunch highlight of a special presentation of the famous song True Blue by Fairholme students.