Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Training for the 2013 Great Victorian Bike Ride

With a little over a week to go until this year’s Great Victorian Bike Ride (GVBR), I thought I’d share a little update on how team Barr is travelling…

Back in January I mentioned that one of my goals for 2013 was to complete the GVBR  (you can read all about it here). As is the case in many of my goals, it expanded to being (what I thought would be) a great idea to involve the whole family…

My happy little vision included my three sons (Max, Sam and Henry) and I all heading out after school or work and on weekends together for training rides. We’d be chatting, smiling and laughing together as we road along in the sunshine, with a nice tailwind, building up our fitness for the nine day, 610km event in November.

When I’m excited and passionate about an idea, I can be extremely convincing so I set about extolling the virtues of the ride to the boys:
  • It would be a memorable life experience we all shared

  • We would get fitter and feel healthier

  • It would build our resilience and self-confidence levels

  • We would meet thousands of other friendly bike riders

  • We would be riding our bikes along one of Australia’s most famous and picturesque roads
  • Someone else would be transporting all our luggage and preparing our meals

  • Every day would be a new adventure and every night we would camp at a new location

  • At the end of the ride we would all bask in the warm glow that is the sense of achievement

  • They’d have over a week off school!

Before long the boys had agreed to enter the GVBR with me (on the proviso that it was a once off and they would never have to go in it again…)

What can I say? I now understand the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The reality of training has so far, been somewhat different to my vision at the beginning of the year. While I have been loving getting on my bike at every opportunity… my three sons have not. In fact, if given a choice they would just pump the tyres up on their bikes the night before the start of the GVBR and pedal off the next morning.

Our training rides have gone along the lines of me enthusiastically announcing it’s time for a training ride and my sons flatly refusing. Me calmly stating that we will be going for a training ride and my sons flatly refusing. Me getting a little upset and my sons becoming more adamant that they will not be going out today… maybe tomorrow… or next week. Me promising ice creams all round if we bike the Murrabit Loop (60kms) the boys suggesting we bike to the local café for ice cream instead (2km). Me getting cranky and then resorting to parental blackmail and other forms of psychological damage (read: I will throw your Xbox in the bin.). It usually ends in tears (namely mine) before we all get on our bikes and ride out (into a cyclonic headwind). Clearly I am not cut out to be a teacher, coach or an inspiration leader and I question my ability to even be a parent… where have my rose-tinted cycling sunnies gone?

It wasn’t meant to be like this!

Despite my somewhat less than ideal reality of preparing for the upcoming bike ride with the boys, I am still tingling with excitement and anticipation for what I am sure will be an excellent adventure – bring on the 23rd November 2013!

The picture below is a fine example of my goal to do the GVBR. The vision versus the reality… It is also a fine example of life. The vision versus the reality. And often it helps to remember this.


  1. I've always secretly harbored the idea that people who smoke, drink and weigh over 300 pounds will be the ones to carry the coffin in which "fit little me" will lie. Love the fantasy-to-reality piece here.

    1. Thanks for commenting Suzette, I understand what you're saying - wouldn't it be a cruel irony? Sometimes I think it's attitude more than anything that contributes to longevity but I do like to feel fit!

  2. Lol, I have tried those tactics with my 11 yr old, in the end I gave up and tried to assign his ride to a niece. He did do the last day on Phillip Island last year, he said he would consider a tandem bike. Maybe next year! My husband and two youngest daughters 'convinced' me to do it. So keep an eye out for the Rijs Road Gang!

    1. Thanks for your comment Mina, see you on the road!

  3. Go Annie and Jnr Barrs. I'll be the one in the orange tent, with frangipani fascinator

    1. Thanks Kay and Ian - I'll try and spot you amongst the cast of thousands!

  4. And beach babe on the pack rack. Kay