October 29, 2008

Day 10

The final leg seemed really easy compared to the rest of the trip. Although it was justifiably the hilliest day i seemed to take on the hills as if they were flat. Maybe it was because my mates joined in , or because i just wanted to get it finished. I could smell the finish line , and it smelt fantastic. The strangest part about the final leg was the amount of pain i was in. I was practically pain free with only mild Achilles pain. ( i wish i could say i felt that way now ).
With only several kms left as we rolled in close to Orange i had a strange feeling. My body felt numb and i had totally believed that the day was going to end just like every other day. It seemed like we were just going to finish and pack the bike up and that was going to be it. There seemed to be no closure.
Well that all changed as Craig and myself followed by Brad , Brendan and Steve turned the final corner and St Mary's Public School in Orange came into sight. It seemed as if there was a cast of thousands . There were children , parents and teachers lined down both sides of the entry screaming loudly. The noise was unbelievable . Everything appeared to be happening in slow motion. And there it was . The kids were holding a red ribbon stretched from one side to the other. As i rolled through and broke the ribbon amongst the deafening screams and the smiling faces i knew at that moment that we had made it and the closure i was seeking was absolutely how i had dreamed it would be. I came to a stop and jumped down from the bike feeling like my legs were not going to hold me up. I took a look around me discovering that the school children whilst still screaming and clapping , had put in a major effort . There were streamers and pom poms , and massive signs saying welcome Michael Cowan and every where i looked i found something they had made. I stood there for what seemed an eternity just taking it in .
Finally the roaring ceased and i was introduced to the school by there lovely principal and welcomed by the school captains and a councilor from Orange. The children from each class had made me a gift and presented them to me one by one as i shook there hands.
Then it was my turn to speak . As i called my great mate Craig over to stand with me and share the triumphant moment it happened....... The emotions just poured out..... Craig and held each other up and cried our eyes out . I was so proud of Craig and myself and of the fantastic machine i had hand built , i was proud of my crew and my mates for joining in and the emotions i felt were over whelming. I struggled to talk as the tears kept rolling. I looked across the crowd and saw my beautiful wife Amanda crying , along with the rest of the crew. We had all had an enormous week .
Craig and i talked to the crowed about the highs and Lows , about mate ship , over coming adversity , believing in yourself , following your dreams and i believe we sent a very strong and positive message to the children . I only wish my Parents and my three girls could have been there to share those moments.
I don't know were my life will go from here , but i do believe it will be different. You could not go through that much pain and dig as deep for as long and commit yourself so passionately for there not to be a positive change somewhere. I believe i will take many positive moments from the trip and utilise them for good somewhere.
I spoke to my great friend Rosie from the Asthma foundation before i left. I spoke about two different occasions where two different people who have insight told me the trip was going to be successful and somewhere along the journey i was going to meet a special man who is going to change my life. You were right Rosie...... That man is me........It took me a little while to figure that out . Its amazing how much thinking you can do eight feet up in the air , pushing your heart, out struggling with pain and exhaustion. But at some of the lowest moments my mind was actually as clear as a bell and my thoughts were precise and accurate.
Rosie called me on the phone about an hour after the finish yesterday. Not much was said. We didn't need to speak. We just cried to each other on the phone.
Rosie is one of those special people you meet who you know will always be there for you . My wife and i think she is fantastic, my kids love her and the Asthma Foundation of NSW should be extremely proud to have such a person on there team.
I could write for hours but i need to head home and see my other team mates ( my girls ).
A massive thank you to St Mary's public school in Orange for all of there fantastic support at the end ,from myself and my crew and the Asthma Foundation of NSW .

I will keep posting as there are some great photos and stories to tell.

Goodbye for today Michael Cowan


rosiey said...

WOW! Michael, you are truly awesome. I really am stuck for words, but to you and Craig, and Amanda, and all the support crew and your family and of course the sponsors I say THANKYOU for what you have done to raise money for asthma, but more importantly to raise awareness. Enjoy the next few days and weeks, and revel in what you have all achieved and been a part of.

serenaphoto said...

Hey you crazy idiot, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Reading your blog has made my day - and made me realise that whilst I get frustrated by the amount of work we have to do - and all the barriers we come upon, that there are people out there making a difference!!

(Even if they do TOTALLY CRAZY, BODY BREAKING things to do so!)

I am bitterly disappointed that I didn't get to be part of the trip, I would have ridden with you everyday (and fallen off my bike whilst trying to take photos at the same time ) Hey who am I kidding I can fall off my bike doing nothing at all!!

You are a wonder and an inspiration (oh and did I mention TOTALLY CRAZY?!!)

Thank you, be proud of your amazing efforts, and take a break and look after yourself for awhile... and give Amanda and the crew a big hug from me too.


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