Andrew Hellinga

Follow the CFC team and event participants as they tackle physically challenging events to raise funds and awareness for Eagles Wings.

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The Backwards Challenge: Wrap Up

Posted by on in Challenge for Change
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Well it's a few days since I’ve completed my 24hr backwards cycling attempt and unofficially the distance that I’ve covered is 337k.

A question asked by many, ”was Guinness World Records there to witness the event?” The answer is “No” we will have to put our documents (witness statements), photos, Video coverage and whatever we can find to prove that we have set the record before it becomes official. This I will presume will take 6-8 weeks.

 

Immediately when I finished the event there was a huge relief, it was nice to get off the bike soak in the achievement with lots of well wishes from hard nut supporters who some stayed with me for the full 24hrs. I left the track went home ate some chicken and lots of potato salad and slipped into our out of ground pool for a refreshing swim. Once changed, the body was giving me clear reminders to which part of it was hurting. My bottom was screaming out “Ouch”! And my legs just groaned when I moved them. My phone was beeping with texts coming through congratulating me on my effort. I did a radio interview with Vision Radio at 7.20am. They have been very supportive. 96.5 contacted me then and said “can we talk to you at 9.30?” I agreed but I reminded them that I was beginning to fade. I did fade, and when the phone rang at 9.19 it woke me from where I passed out on the lounge and I bumbled my way through a supportive interview. At 9.30am I went to bed and slept through till 3pm.

When I sit still and not move which is a lot at the moment I typically scrutinize the event. In my head before the event I actually had a figure of 360k – 400k that I wanted to achieve. The conditions in the first 10 hours where difficult with an average temperature of around 35degrees. Then came the wind, Wind gusts of up to 60k an hour caused riding to be very difficult. From the 165k mark to 180k being horrendous. Reid Anderton our current World record holder for riding around Australia joined me for one lap but opted not to continue because it was too windy. It was encouraging to have hundreds of people cheering me as we counted down the last few laps.

 

When I finally beat the record it was a massive relief, I thought to myself it’s in the bank. “Ka-Ching!” I took about a 45min break to respond to my support and then refocused for the next 12 hours.

The pressure had been lifted and although the wind was still gutsing I dropped it down a gear on bicycle and continued in my quest to establish a total of 333k.

The next 4 hours was terrible, still windy and it was slow going. The highlight was eating a whole Pizza that barely touched the sides.

The wind died down by around 10.30pm and I started to slowly but surely do the K’s that would ensure that I would reach my target of 333k. I stopped a few times and lay on the bitumen feeling it subtle comfort. When will this day end? From midnight through till 6am conditions where excellent and with 3 good mates riding behind me to guide me through the darkest time of the night I made steady progress. The horizon brightened around 5am and this told me within an hour my Epic would be over. People started to arrive to witness the finish.

A flat rear tyre only 20 minutes out from the finish gave me a scare to reaching my target. A quick tube change by Reid (never seen Reid change a tube for anyone before) and one last burst and at 6am the hooter sounded to say my time was up.

I felt Relief, Joy and a quite sense of pride that I had completed something pretty cool.

For 24hours I suffered, my suffering has now stopped.

The children in Zambia continue to suffer. The attention I’m getting from this event is nice, but my priority (passion) came from hopefully raising funds and awareness for the Eagle Wings. I work as a chaplain at Livingstone Christian College where I see firsthand the benefits of the consistent love and nurture that comes from this educational facility.

How much more does a country like Zambia need this for some of most disadvantaged children in the world? With this I encourage you to donate on line to my backwards ride.

Finally at the end of November I will be cycling with the Challenge for Change crew around the South Island of New Zealand. This will also be a fund raiser for Eagle Wings. Why don’t you consider to join me on this event? Details are on our website and this promises to be challenging but also very rewarding.

Challenge for Change – “Ordinary people doing extraordinary things”

Andrew is a chaplain, husband and father or three. Andy is a very active advocate for Eagles Wings, designing and participating in extreme cycling events to improve the quality of life for African children, including riding 500km in 24 hours. He has a passion for sharing God with his family, friends and students. Andy is a "larger than life" character with a gift of relating to others and creating humour that is not easily replicated!