It’s 10 years today that my then 15 yo son Jack and I started our 4,500 km cycle across Australia in 30 days – from Perth, WA to Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
He became the youngest person ever to cycle across Australia and we raised $30,000 for youth mentoring charity Big Brothers Big Sisters in the process.
It was an important catalyst for many things to come in the future and a fair effort for a young kid to average 150 km a day on the bike, with the biggest day being 260 kms. We learned a few lessons.
Lesson # 1: Anyone can do it
The biggest lesson we both learned on that ride was this: anyone can do it.
I remember Jack and I having a coffee/milkshake about 80 kms from the finish with a couple of friends. One of the friends asked Jack,
“Mate, do you feel like you’ve achieved something special?”
His answer was a good one: “No, anyone can do this. Just have to train a bit.”
And it’s true. Anyone can do it.
Take that big daunting goal, break it down into small chunks, then bite off and chew each chunk – before you know it, that big daunting goal seems way smaller and more achievable.
Basically all we did was cycle 50 kms, three times a day. Easy!
Lesson # 2: Great feats inspire others
The legacy of such a challenge ripples out and impacts on others.
A few weeks after we finished, our 17 yo daughter said at dinner “You know, after Jack finished that cycle, I feel like I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
That’s why, at age 22, that same young lady who had barely done any running previously, ran her first marathon.
Lesson # 3: Resilience. Just get on with it
Young Jack has done a bit since 2008.
- Won the 96 km Kokoda Challenge,
- done a solo 1,200 km run around Tasmania,
- climbed Mt Kilimanjaro,
- motorbiked 17,000 kms around Australia,
- motorbiked through the Himalayas and
- become a commercial pilot.
So he gets stuff done.
His biggest challenge of all was overcoming a near fatal accident while on a training ride in 2016, 4 weeks out from the Cairns IRONMAN.
He was struck head on by a turning car and thrown through the air.
Jack had the perfect good sense to land within metres of a doctor jogging past the scene.
- a broken neck,
- broken jaw,
- smashed teeth,
- broken shoulder blade,
- broken collarbone,
- broken ribs,
- punctured lung,
- along with facial and shoulder lacerations.
Lesson # 4: Keep going – you have no other choice