Tour de OROC cyclists are on a high after clocking up 1000km in six days for a good cause.
The gutsy group pushed through fatigue in the final leg before reaching their destination of Dubbo on Saturday.
About $100,000 has been raised for Macquarie Home Stay from this year’s tour across the Orana region.
Matt Keenan, who co-led this year’s coverage of the Tour de France, rode out with the pack from Nyngan on Saturday, bound for Dubbo.
Tour de OROC committee chairman Mathew Dickerson reported the region and its people had made an impression on Keenan.
On his first visit to the area the Aussie cyclist-turned-commentator found people digging deep for Macquarie Home Stay.
The project is aiming to provide affordable accommodation to people travelling to Dubbo to seek medical treatment.
Communities along the tour’s route organised fundraisers and together contributed about $15,000 to the cause, Mr Dickerson said.
“Matt Keenan said that’s what being an Aussie is all about,” Mr Dickerson said.
The tour founder counted regional cooperation as one of the highlights of the tour.
The 17 riders - whose backgrounds ranged from serious racer to cycling enthusiast - also pulled together.
Mr Dickerson said the completion rate rose this year, with all but three of the riders making it all the way.
“That was about the teamwork, we’d slow the pace down or someone would work with a rider (finding it tough),” he said.
“It’s not a competition.”
Mr Dickerson praised the councils along the journey for their support in organising accommodation and breakfasts.
He offered his thanks to the support crew, Dubbo South Rotary Club and other service clubs for their contributions.
The group felt relief as they rode east towards Dubbo.
Mr Dickerson said once they arrived at Narromine on Saturday, they could feel like they had almost made it.
“It’s a long way, your feet hurting, your shoulders hurting, your backside hurting,” he said.
The ride also made memories – once some emus were near and a warning call went around the riders and they slowed their pedalling, Mr Dickerson said.
“Matt Keenan said in all his time cycling, he’s never heard the call of ‘Emus on the left’ before,” he said.