That’s when I could let it all go and celebrate that I’d actually made it (and finally I have put pen to paper to tell you about it!). Awaba street is possibly the steepest street in central Sydney that stretches down to Balmoral Beach, my final destination. Alistair and I had scooted through the lights at Spit Road and then I had to stop before the final descent. The view is amazing. One you never get sick of seeing. You look down across Balmoral Beach and out through the Heads. I let out a couple of loud ‘whoo hooos’. Alistair and I did a couple of high fives.
For the first time, I let myself believe that I’d made it. That I’d cycled from my home in Perth to my home in Sydney. Before then, there were too many variables for me to think that I’d make it. Even the day before, as I cycled through the Blue Mountains or even as I weaved my way through the streets of Sydney on route to Balmoral Beach, I couldn’t celebrate. Who knows. I could have survived the road trains on the Nullarbor but get side swiped by a 4WD coming through Cremorne. But at the top of Awaba, I knew I’d made it.
On a steep descent like this, I’d usually see the back of Alistair getting smaller as he screamed down the hill. But this time, he snuck in behind me as I edged my way to the bottom of the hill. The day was beautiful and the view out the Heads spectacular. Half way down, the father of a friend of my brother’s, Colin, met us on his bike. I was braking so hard I couldn’t take my hands of my bike but there were happy exchanges as he pushed off and made us a little group.
The first time my heart went into my mouth was seeing my brother at the bottom of Awaba. He was standing there with a wave and an enormous grin on his face. I then turned at the bottom of the hill to head towards the rotunda. I’d seen some amazing things in the previous 48 days but the scene that met me at the rotunda rivalled them all. I heard everyone before I could really take it all in, a heap of kids holding streamers that I had to ride through, screams and whooping and clapping, champagne popping, hugs all round. Smiles. It was just brilliant. I couldn’t have wished for a more fantastic end to what has been an adventure of a lifetime.
Here’s a link to a video that my lovely friend Steph took: https://vimeo.com/75270572 (you’ll also need the password – which Steph also determined! – ‘ilovelucy’).