It might have been a public holiday in the middle of the school holidays, but that didn’t stop a group of kids from joining the Tour de OROC riders on the road into Dunedoo on Monday.
The bi-annual event, which raises funds for Macquarie Home Stay, started at Mudgee on Monday, and stopped at the Dunedoo Sports Club for lunch.
Committee chairman Mathew Dickerson said it was a great feeling to get back on the road.
“It’s that thrill that you’ve turned that first peddle,” he said.
“The first day of a ride like this is always going to be good. It’s day two and three when it really starts to take its toll.”
The 17 core riders, plus some day riders, covered more than 72 kilometres before lunch, for a total distance of 164 kilometres on their first day to finish at Gilgandra.
They’ll ride another 813 kilometres before the week is out.
This year some hospital employees were taking part in the ride, Mr Dickerson said, and they have already been sharing stories about the challenges of caring for patients who had nowhere in Dubbo to stay.
He said it was heart-warming to imagine how the Macquarie Home Stay project – providing accommodation for those travelling to Dubbo for medical treatment – would make a difference.
“When they tell some of these stories, everyone in the pelaton feels they’re really going to make a difference,” he said.
He said the Tour de OROC had been embraced as an event because “it is the region working together”.
“I must admit the first event I had ideas about how the communities would support it but I was blown away by just how much support there was,” Mr Dickerson said.
“People in regional NSW realise that this is Dubbo people raising money to make their lives better.
“We don’t need accommodation in Dubbo because we live here, we have a house and a roof over our head but people in the regions embrace the Tour de OROC because they realise that is something we’re doing for them.”
The 2017 ride will head from Gilgandra to Walgett, Brewarrina and Bourke on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before riders turn south towards Nyngan on Thursday. The Tour de OROC will wrap up in Dubbo on Saturday, October 7.
“I’m looking forward to seeing as many people as possible complete the ride,” Mr Dickerson said.
“It’s not about riding every kilometre, but I’m looking forward to people pushing through the pain, the boredom sometimes, the hot weather, rain or whatever it might be, and getting there in the end.”