There’s nothing quite like getting behind a cause that motivates you to achieve things you thought were impossible. This month, some of our WSP employees strapped on the lycra and put weeks of training to the test in the MACA Cancer 200 ride.
One of the participants, Lisa Allsopp, WSP’s Technical Executive, Heavy Haul Rail in WA, says, “Cancer has impacted and touched us all in some way. This was an opportunity to both motivate and hold myself accountable to kickstart some much needed fitness goals, and I liked the idea of completing the event with a team.”
MACA Cancer 200 is a two-day, approximately 200km charity bicycle ride in Perth that raises money to support cancer research at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Now in its 11th year, the ride starts and finishes at Optus Stadium, with an overnight stay in Mandurah. It inspires beginner and professional cyclists to hit the pedals in the fight against cancer.
“I would place myself in the novice category, when it comes to cycling”, says Lisa. “I have never attempted anything remotely as physically challenging as this before.”
Team ‘WSP on the Road’ prepared for the event weeks in advance. “I commenced with rides starting at 5kms and building time on the bike week by week, as well as team training with Kim [Irvine] at weekends,” Lisa says. “One of the biggest challenges was finding time to train for long periods of time on the bike. I attempted to build cycling into daily routines.”
On the night before the ride, Lisa described feeling anxious at the thought of the challenge ahead.
Despite disbelief at the thought of what she was about to embark on, Lisa says, “We set off peddling to the sounds of bagpipes along with hordes of enthusiastic cyclists (mostly on road bikes and one Penny Farthing) for the 110kms cycle from Perth to Mandurah, meandering along the back roads with great scenery.”
For Lisa, Kim was a strong and supportive teammate who made the experience both achievable and memorable.
“It is definitely the hardest physical thing I’ve done to date,” she says. “The power of the mind to push you through tough times is not to be underestimated. My coping strategy involved breaking the ride down and taking a quick pit stop every 10kms to ensure adequate hydration and carbs were maintained while also stretching. Then, I moved to intervals every 5kms when the route became very challenging. Other things that really helped were the unwavering moral support from Kim and volunteers, bad language for the pain and hills, and relishing in funny moments.”
“The last 40kms were particularly tough going with the wind and those blasted hills! I recall a funny moment when Kim and I considered holding an arm each into the air for victory as we rode through the finish line, but we quickly decided both hands needed to remain on the handlebars as we were likely to fall off because of our jelly legs and fatigue.”
This year, the ‘WSP on the Road’ team raised over $8,000 contributing towards the $8.5 million for cancer research. Proceeds from the MACA Cancer 200 will support the Harry Perkins Institute to make discoveries in cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. You can still donate here.
Lisa says, “I would do it again but definitely on a different bike – not a mountain bike!”
Doug Stewart, WSP’s Regional Director for WA, says, “Well done to the ‘WSP on the Road’ team – we are extremely proud of their achievements. They are great WSP ambassadors and role models in their local communities.”