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Australian Rotary Health Ride

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Club Members Lindsay Morgan and Jennifer Newton Represent Rotary Club of Hampton To Support 2020 Australian Rotary Health’s Ride for Medical Research

This year’s Australian Rotary Health’s Ride for Medical Research, organized by the Rotary clubs of Boronia and Healesville in our Rotary District, was held in early March, with funds raised directed in support of the “Rob Henry Memorial PHD Scholarship” for Cancer Research. A big thank you to Club Members Lindsay Morgan and Jennifer Newton who joined the ride group this year as support drivers and assisted the teams over their 540km ride over 6 days.

Australian Rotary Health is one of the largest independent funders of mental health research within Australia. In addition to mental health research, they also provide funding over a broad range of general health areas, provide scholarships for rural medical and nursing students, as well as Indigenous health students.

Rotary District 9810 has contributed over $2.8m since allocated grants commenced in 1985, of which the ride has contributed in excess of $1.1m and this year’s ride participants helped to raise $49,000.

The 2020 ride – a Silos, Plains, Lakes & Art Tour.

The actual bicycling distance this year was approximately 540km with the tour itinerary covering some wonderful scenery over the 6 day tour:
Day 1 - Lake Bolac to Halls Gap (O/nite Horsham)
Day 2 - Murtoa to Brim (O/nite Horsham)
Day 3 - Patchewollock to Rosebery (O/nite Horsham)
Day 4 - Horsham to Ararat (O/nite Ararat)
Day 5 - Ararat to Lake Learmonth (O/nite Ballarat)
Day 6 - Ballarat to Daylesford.

This year there were 3 ride groups, with a maximum of 10 to 15 riders in each, grouped according to fitness and experience levels. The ride was structured so that everyone came together as a large group at lunch each day and support vehicles were made available if riders found the distances or the terrain too challenging and needed a rest for part of the distance.
 
Hampton Club representatives

Jennifer Newton and Lindsay Morgan were support drivers, as well as First Aiders, and were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Hampton with a contribution of $2,000. Jenny has been involved in this ride for many years but for Lindsay, this was a first. They were assigned to support the slower ride group – Green Team – and really enjoyed the experience as well as bonding with their team. Jenny was a lead driver controlling a group and doing all the navigation (on sealed back roads throughout). Lindsay was a following driver until the Team split, when he took on the lead of the back group, as well as transport roustabout. There was a bike trailer unit at the back, picking people up and most of the day was spent on VHF radios and all 3 vehicles used hazard flashers.

An incident on the final stretch – and some learning

On the final day, some 30 km’s from the end, the Green Team sustained an unfortunate downhill collision between 2 participants travelling about 40 kmph.  Fortunately this was near the top of the downhill run but was in a remote area, where there was no telephone reception.

Jen Newton used the Vic Emergency App (Emergency+) which enabled satellite connection with 000, and also gives a position reading in Latitude and Longitude for the operator to locate the scene quickly and accurately.  When in the country it is hard to remember even seeing the nearest cross-roads, much less being able to look up maps when under stress. This app was a Godsend in this situation - 2 ambulances were dispatched to the location and arrived within 20 minutes.  Our team provided first aid, along with a passing local ambulance driver, and also traffic control until their arrival. (Jen encourages all RCOH members to download the free app Emergency+ which is invaluable in an emergency).

Both riders were transferred to Ballarat Base Hospital, one discharged that evening, and the other transferred to Royal Melbourne Hospital for further evaluation and discharged the following day.  It was a relief to report that both riders suffered minimal long-term injuries. 

What an eventful trip! There seem to be lots of other behind-the scenes stories to tell when you hear that Jenny got a Spitting the Dummy award and Lindsay a Driver of the Day award and a Dead Chicken award for taking on a b-double! Also, Lindsay had to take one other Rotarian to the Emergency Department in Horsham for a concussion clearance.

All in all this was a great experience and Lindsay and Jennifer as well as the Rotary organisers want to pass on their thanks to the Rotary Club of Hampton for their support this year.

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