8 October, 2021
A challenge worth the effort
A Challenge diary from participant Heath Schreiweis.
LET me state from the outset, I am no cyclist, or even an athlete. Lately, life is pretty much a desk job with a few hours of gym each week. So, when I decided to sign up for the FNQHF QSuper, Cardiac Challenge, I knew this would undoubtedly be one of the most physically demanding challenges of my life, and it was.
Telling people I planned on riding a bicycle 330-ish kilometres to Cooktown, I was often greeted with eye-protruding glares, followed up with ‘you’re-off-your-chops’.
The Cardiac Challenge is 3 days of bike riding anywhere between 80 – 110 kilometres per day.
I had no idea how I was going to achieve this; I had no bike and certainly didn’t classify myself as ‘fit enough’. I needed a plan, and some help.
I was loaned a bicycle by a fellow Challenge cyclist. He told me that the ol’ bike had made its way to Cooktown 8 times now, none of which he had ridden himself. He just lends it out each year to willing suckers who have decided to push, or punish themselves.
My best friend and her son were the best support people I could hope for. They setup my bed each night and had a drink waiting at the end of each day.
I chose to start at Speewah, avoiding the Kuranda range. It included many, many hills, 38 plus degree heat, and a sucker of a mountain range north of Mt Malloy, the Desailly Range. After some massive encouragement, I made it to the top, to zoom down again and re-join my fellow rider friends in celebration. It’s something I will never forget.
During the ride we were in ‘packs’ where we were trying not to run into each other, keeping at the same speed, and stirring-up the friendly-competition between each pack for a laugh.
They quickly became family, and if I ever recognise any of them outside of wearing lycra and a helmet, I know they would always stop and say hi, as we now share that challenge experience.
Often when riding through the seemingly endless road, we started to chat about life, one question that I was asked by almost everyone was, ‘why?’, ‘why do you ride?’
It seems everyone on that ride had a reason to be there, whether is simply a reason to be physically pushed, to be closer to family, and achieve this together.
Others were riding in memory of a fallen comrade. My reason was to remind myself, I had heart surgery at a young age. I don’t remember much, but without it, who knows where I would be? In my day-to-day life, I take it for granted, and this challenge was my reminder.
This challenge has raised so much money, and continues to do so, with a record breaking $ 500,000 this year, to help cardiac services in the Cairns and FNQ region. Hearing how the doctors can do amazing things with the world class equipment and facilities that this event has given them, is something as a community, we should be immensely proud of.
Everyone’s support and encouragement from the event was something I will never forget. We had a shared achievement, even those that didn’t ride certainly worked hard to make the event something special.
So, once I regain the feeling in my legs and behind, I’ll get off it, and start training for next year. As I have a new ‘why’.
Cardiac Challenge by the numbers
The QSuper Cardiac Challenge
Total Fundraising this Year: $525,694
Top 3 Fundraising Teams:
- WTF: $73,507
- Rose’s Riders: $32,559
- Wheelie Good $27,768
Top 3 Individual Fundraisers
- John Piccone: $21,605
- Kieran O’Connor: $14,570
- Nick Lyngcoln: $14,032
To donate head to: