The Captain's Ride
Always 100%, that’s Steve Waugh’s approach to life and the motto he has attached to his pioneering charity event, The Captain’s Ride. An exclusive, boutique and gruelling 6-day on-road cycle event and leadership program, The Captain’s Ride is the cornerstone event of the Steve Waugh foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting children and young adults with rare diseases.
For the past 3 years, a team of riders from McGrath have participated in the event, challenging themselves to complete a course designed to challenge riders physically and mentally. This year saw the group descend on Queensland’s Toowoomba region, travelling through deep mountains and dense National Parks in what promised to be the toughest ride to date.
True to form, Queensland delivered scorching temperatures and high humidity, with nearby bushfires increasing the difficulty of the conditions for the peloton. Rather than back down, McGrath CEO Geoff Lucas, Auctioneer Max Wylie and Toowoomba Principal Toby Sandell rose to the challenge, embracing the event and their opportunity to make a difference.
‘I have 3 healthy adult children’, says McGrath CEO Geoff Lucas, ‘to have got through that period of time I feel extremely lucky. When I saw stories about families who are less fortunate than mine, I wanted to do something and be aligned with an organisation that makes a material impact to families that have diseases and afflictions that don’t get supported by the government’.
For the McGrath team, it is this material impact which sets the foundation apart and keeps them returning to the course year after year. From riding alongside the fathers of grant recipients, to meeting and hearing from the children and families at their nightly pit stops, the course makes the daily struggle of rare diseases tangible, providing the inspiration each rider needs to continue to push their body and their mind through the event.
Along with the ride itself, the event also comprises of a leadership program that runs each night at the conclusion of the day’s ride. This year saw the likes of Anna Meares OAM, Mark Knowles OAM and Kurt Fearnley AO take part, riding each kilometre with the team before sharing their wisdom and insight with the group come nightfall.
But make no mistake, this isn’t a token event, grit and determination are at the very core. ‘It’s very easy for famous people to lend their name to a foundation or a cause’, notes Lucas ‘but this is the real deal. Steve [Waugh] spends a large portion of his life physically active with the families and the children. Steve and his wife Lynette run the whole event themselves and Steve rides the whole time. One of McGrath’s key values is humility and Steve shows that in spades’.
Indeed, humility is a key value of the ride, with riders leaving the experience with a greater understanding for the lives of those affected by rare diseases. Through the difficult moments – the steep hills, the blazing sun, the utter exhaustion – the riders are reminded that this temporary discomfort is a daily reality for these children and their families, that their 6-day challenge presents an opportunity to improve the lives of those who face a lifetime of challenges.
When asked what the riders take away from their Captain’s Ride experience, the answer is simple: ‘Inspiration, motivation and appreciation,’ says Max Wylie. ‘Inspiration from all the ambassadors and the people you meet, motivation to make a real difference and appreciation for how lucky we are’.