Former professional cyclist Rochelle Gilmore has made the most of the COVID-19 state border closures by recently riding a lap inside the NSW borders.
Rochelle who rode triumphantly back into her Cronulla home on her birthday after 35 days in the saddle said people thought the 5000 km journey was a crazy thing to attempt.
"I believe that you should do something every day that makes you happy and If you never have a go, you'll never know.
"I only decided last minute to leave, so I didn't involve a charity. However, I hope my spontaneous decision can inspire people to take opportunities to do the things they've dreamed of doing." Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Gilmore said.
Riding a lap of the NSW borders following road signs didn't take long to think up, but serious planning had to be done with brother Warren manning the support vehicle carrying the food, maps and 60 spare Vittoria tyres.
Rochelle knew she would be riding a lot of unpaved gravel roads, so she had two bikes- her individual Pinarello F12 Xlight road bike on the sealed roads through the Snowy Mountains and along the Murray to a hand-delivered and specially built Pinarello Grevil+ off-road bike to battle the desert roads on the way up to Cameron Corner, which is the extreme far north-west, bound by the Queensland and the South Australian borders.
Battling a headwind, it was day six when the pain began on the Cooma to Tumut 200km leg, 2900m climbing, consuming 4000 calories a day in the cold.
In three days she did almost 600 km's battling all the elements; strong winds, a slow leak, severe dehydration and heat exhaustion, sore muscles, big thunderstorms, choking on flies and wobbling off the road when big Road Trains passed.
Rochelle said she loved all the challenges, but she couldn't believe she didn't think to bring lights to ride in the cooler hours.
" It was still 40 degrees in the dark of the night and I also didn't have phone service, so my brother made me carry an emergency UHF CB radio instead of spares."
They even followed the famous Dingo fence.
"It was the absolute centre of nowhere, no phone reception (or WiFi), 50 degrees, locust swarms, flies, dust, aggressive kangaroos and emus, snakes, camels we even slept in an empty old shearing shed."
Rochelle said she spent the long hours dreaming of cold showers, ice packs, cold drinks and air-conditioned hotel rooms.
It took a lot of mental and physical strength to push on some days and she knew she made some bad decisions, but she hoped her challenge was inspiring others just to do it.
Asked what's next Rochelle said, "there are another seven States (Territories) in Australia."
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