Lance Armstrong I'm not, but as I raced to the finish line of the Cambodia Cycle Challenge – legs pumping, brow dripping – I could have been forgiven for thinking I was competing in the Tour de France. While there were no steep hills climbs, nasty roadside pile-ups nor crowds to cheer us on, as our eight-person all women cycling team rode through the entrance gate of Banteay Srey temple (fittingly known as the "citadel of the women") some 38km outside Siem Reap we felt just as exuberant as if we'd taken out first line honours.
The 10 day, 300km journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to raise money for War Child Australia, certainly lived up to its challenge title. Cycling for hours on end in 40 degree plus heat was tough and there were plenty of times when I thought that I could not possibly go on (especially on the third day after I developed a nasty bout of travel belly that made cycling even more of a challenge). But somehow managing to find the inner strength to overcome such difficulties made the ride so much more special and seeing the smiling faces on the children at the orphanages and knowing that we had made a difference made it all worthwhile.
Together as a team we raised $25,000 for War Child Australia. For my part, thanks to the generous donations of my friends, family and many sponsors, in particular the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, Downlands College, Mantra on Salt Beach and The Byron at Byron(see here for a full list), I personally raised just over $3,500.
So while I may not have won the yellow jersey (I wisely decided to wear my own), I achieved more than I could ever have imagined through this experience. For that I offer you all a very heartfelt thank you.
Picture: Me at the gate of Angkor Thom