Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Little Place Called Bundy

When you compare the pros and cons of a seven hour stop-over in Brisbane airport, the cons seem to far outweigh the pros. However, one that certainly springs to mind is that it gives me the perfect opportunity to blog about my recent (and very spontaneous) adventure across the ditch.

I was told less than a week in advance that I was invited by the Bundaberg Cycling Club to race at the McHugh Steel Cycling Spectacular along with a tribe of fellow kiwis - Georgia Williams, Dylan Kennett, Liam Aitcheson, Brad Evans and Hayden McCormick (affectionately renamed Chicken-Wing). Despite a lack of form and notice, I was - needless to say - more than eager to box up the bicycles and hop across the ditch for a week under the Bunderberg sunshine and a blast on the track at a carnival which attracts some of the best in Australia and the world.

Just another opportunity to get away from the repetition of Wanganui roads, weather and general atmosphere was enough of a pull factor that there was no need to ask me twice, let alone the fact that we were put in the hands of our munificent and greatly hospitable homestays, Mel and Darren Scheuer, as well as the club officials - Toby, Peter, and Sheldon (I think he'd make a good stand-up act) - as well as being treated like superstar athletes with radio and newspaper interviews, meet and greets with the Bundy locals, and a very enjoyable sponsors' evening - even a few autograph requests here and there. Suffice to say, we felt more than welcome in the town which more than made up for it's small size with an abundance of benevolence and geniality.

The carnival itself was excellent, both in organisation and the standard of competitors. Despite a narrow field, the women's racing was fast-paced and challenging, and there was a good deal of money up for grabs, which always adds that extra incentive to leave everything you have on the track. Georgia backed up her Oceania Championship success with a win in just about every race (and will head home with a much heavier wallet) while I fought my way into third place in most races, which required some sly use of the elbows at some points. The boys also had a somewhat prosperous carnival - Dylan in particular - with a podium finish in each race, as well as setting a new lap record for the track.

All in all, I had an amazing time in Australia, and was overwhelmed by the hospitality that Bundaberg offered. The racing atmosphere was one brimming with enthusiasm, praise and enjoyment, with animating commentary from the Under 9 races through to the Elite Men, brilliant audience engagement with the auctioning of riders for the feature Wheel Race, and talented fields in every category. I am so thankful for having the opportunity to spend the week in such an admirable place, meet an awesome group of people and get some top-notch racing into my legs as I head into another season on the track. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the Bundaberg Cycling Club for being outstanding hosts, as well as my homestay parents, Mel and Darren, who provided five star accommodation and the finest cooked breakfasts for Georgia and I. I return to New Zealand with some amazing new friends, a number of additions to my memory box, a considerably darker complexion, a new-found partiality to Bundy Rum (thanks to Mel), and a weariness of the damage that certain platter-dwelling appetizers can inflict upon one's best dress shirt (ay Dylan). Possibly even a slight Auzzie twang to my voice.

Next years dates have already been put in my calender.



  1. Cassie, you and Georgia were an absolute pleasure to have. You are both welcome into our home any time. You are a beautiful young lady who represented her country admirably. Your family should be very proud. Charlotte & Olivia are still talking about you, and one dog is very lonely now you have gone!! Mel XX

    1. Awww thanks Mel! Tell the three of them I will be back before they know it :) I miss all you guys