A baker’s dozen of fundraisers has ridden the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail in memory of a 9-year-old they lost to brain cancer.
Called the Fair Warriors, the group of Australians arrived in Oamaru last Friday afternoon full of praise for the trail and the terrain it showcases.
Their ride honoured Finley Wright Curnow, who died in September last year just six months after being diagnosed with an aggressive childhood cancer.
His family set up the Fair Warriors to promote awareness of child cancer and raise funds for research into it led by the Australian Children’s Cancer Institute.
Their first cycle sojourn was from Saigon to Angkor Wat last year. Finley’s parents, Paul and Kate, and older brothers, Jacob and Liam, covered the 300km in intense heat in five days.
For their Kiwi caper, they teamed up with two of Finley’s best friends, Charlie and Levon, plus their families, to form a 13-strong party ranging in age from 7 to 53.
Before they set off from Aoraki/Mt Cook on October 2, they had already reached their target of $100,000 to give to research programmes led by Finley’s oncologist, Associate Professor David Ziegler.
Mr Curnow said the Alps 2 Ocean trip was “very peaceful”, with a “stunning backdrop”.
“It’s beautiful country. We’re in awe of the scenery.
“You can see it change down the valley. The kids loved that.
“The trail’s fantastic.”
They also appreciated the support from Cycle Journeys, which provided a bus in which the children could rest when they needed to.
Facebook posts en route had generated a “good response”, Mr Curnow said.
The group didn’t experience any rain.
“It was cold, but you can always warm up.”
Whereas the Asian ride was hot, it was on flat terrain. Here, the temperature was more comfortable but there were hills.
“We traded flatness for heat. You couldn’t do hills and heat.”
The youngest participant, 7-year-old Fred Woodall, referred to Goldilocks and the Three Bears to describe the trail – “not too hard, not too soft, just right”.