ASK anyone about why they ride the Murray to Moyne and they won’t talk about cycling.
For most, it is circumstances beyond human control that motivated them to tackle the annual marathon ride — with a heartfelt desire to raise money for charity.
About 1300 riders came to a stop in Port Fairy yesterday morning after the 520-kilometre relay from the state’s northern border.
Many carry hopes of seeing a disease cured or their local hospital strengthened.
Others carry grief.
And a few face personal challenges that, without the support of their team, would otherwise prevent them from cycling.
Ben Howell has type one diabetes and, as with another dozen riders, cycling from the Murray River was no easy feat.
“It’s something we’re pretty proud of achieving,” he said. “We’ve all got insulin pumps and had to do tests along the way.
“We’ve raised roughly $12,000 for diabetes camp ... they’re for kids to be with other kids who have diabetes.” Barbecues were set up and beers passed around yesterday as the last of the riders arrived, havingset out from Echuca, Mildura and Swan Hill on Saturday.
No longer panting from pedalling, long-serving organiser Kate Winnen said the weekend was nothing short of a success, with hopes that the riders will pump $90,000 into Moyne Health Services.
“It’s a great way for people to come together to raise money.They all raise money for their own health organisation,” Ms Winnen said.
The end of the ride is capped off with a memorial medal, named after well-known Port Fairy long-distance cyclist Graham Woodrup, who was tragically killed while training in 1992.
This year saw two winners claim the honours, Hugo Johnson and Clancy Hammond.
Still recovering from a fractured collarbone, Ms Hammond had a personal reason to be in Port Fairy after cycling the last 40 kilometres.
Last year her friend Abbie passed away after battling cystic fibrosis.
Despite only riding for the past five years and having never done the Murray to Moyne, she and 13 others embarked on the ride.
“Abbie and I have been best friends since our parents met in hospital. She was a trooper and an amazing person and she was really inspirational,” Ms Hammond said. “When she passed on I wanted to help her family set up a trust.”
Ms Hammond wept on stage collecting the medal from Premier Denis Napthine and ride founder Hestor Woodrup.
But her efforts helped raise nearly $30,000 for those suffering cystic fibrosis. “That’s what gives everyone drive. Abbie has given me so much over the years, I wanted to give something back,” she said.