Racing to the stars to aid niece’s battle

Dave McAdam cycled from Penong to Kimba today as part of a cross-country ‘Race to the Stars’ journey to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.

It was the eighth leg of a trip which saw Mr McAdam leave Fremantle last Friday, with an expected finish in Brisbane on Sunday, July 23.

The illness hit close to home for Mr McAdam, which prompted him to undertake the journey.

“My niece Freya has cystic fibrosis, she is two years old and we found out she had the illness weeks after birth,” he said on a stop in Ceduna.

“It was a big shock to the family – we didn’t even know what it was – and we tried to support her.

“That is where the idea for this ride came from.”

He said the opening stages of his ride had been “massively epic” as he has gone from cities to towns and on to the bush.

The 42-year-old is travelling with a two-man support crew, Charlie Shaw and father-in-law Paul Swift, and riding more than 300 kilometers a day.

“I raced at an elite level for over 20 years but this ride is completely different in terms of physical elements and a completely different sport in a way.”

Mr McAdam said there were physical and mental challenges to overcome, with a troublesome knee and headwinds the most difficult part of the journey.

“There have been some high and lows, sometimes in the same day, such as yesterday when leaving Eucla I felt a lot of pain in my left knee which had been getting progressively worse,” he said.

“It felt like my leg might stop working and I was thinking of the ramifications of that with this ride and possibly having to stop, then I got a downhill ride with a tailwind and finished the day feeling great and punched out 340km.

“Another day which stood out was when we took on the longest straight road (145.6km between Balladonia and Caiguna) with a headwind the whole way where I could only go 24km/h and so it was more a mental game, I knew I had to be patient.”

Despite those obstacles he said he enjoyed the change of landscapes on the journey, in particular travelling along the Great Australian Bight.

“Travelling along the Bight part of the Nullarbor was some of the most beautiful riding I’ve done and the view was really rewarding,” he said.

“It also came at the perfect time after the low with my knee.”

Reaching Byron Bay next Saturday, there will be a charity ride to see see Mr McAdam home to Brisbane the following day.

To donate to Mr McAdam’s cause, visit Race to the Stars.