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Leonie rises above her cycling challenge

Get Active
February 19, 2019

Halcyon Landing’s Leonie Grant discovered she was more than equal to a test of her physical and fundraising abilities when she undertook the Great Cycle Challenge Australia.

It all started when Leonie was scrolling through Facebook and up popped the challenge, which raises money for kids’ cancer research each October.

“The words ‘cycle challenge’ caught my eye,” she recalled.

“I read all about the research the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) does. They also had stories about young children with incurable cancer and it was all terribly sad. “I thought it would be great to participate in the ride and raise some money towards this great cause.”

Challenge participants elect the distance they aim to ride and the amount they want to raise. Leonie, who rides at least 40km a week with Halcyon Landing’s cycling group, set herself the goal of riding 500km throughout October and raising $500.

“I’d never actually raised money before,” she said.

“I know people grow a little tired of being asked for money all the time so I elected to raise what I thought was an achievable $500.

“But once I started sending emails out and posting on Facebook and sharing photos of the ride, the money just started coming in.”

“I couldn’t believe I raised just over $2,500. I felt a sense of achievement as I did far better than I thought I would.”

“I probably will do it again. I think I could do 700km or 800km if I’m really focused.”

Leonie’s $2,514 and 517km effort, including a couple of stints on a stationary bike due to wet weather, placed her 38th out of 1,200 Queensland riders for funds raised.

Overall, the 13,000 riders in the 2018 challenge raised more than $4 million for the CMRI. Leonie clocked up more than 200km of her target distance as she and husband Ross rode the scenic Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in New Zealand in late October.

The 210km route started near Mt Cook in the breathtaking Southern Alps, past picturesque lakes and rivers and finished in the historic port town of Oamaru. Not a bad way to complete a cycling challenge.

Joining them on the Alps 2 Ocean trail were 11 friends including fellow Halcyon Landing owner Karen Lynn and former home owner Sue Frederickson. Leonie said it was a great way to explore a country.

“When you’re out on the bike, especially in NZ, you feel very free,” she said.

“You’re riding into the wind and looking at all this marvelous scenery; it makes you feel so good, it lifts your spirit and helps you to remain positive.”

Cycling adventures have become a regular escape for Leonie and Ross who embraced fitness with enthusiasm when they moved to Halcyon Landing in 2014.

“We wanted to take advantage of all the facilities on offer to stay healthy and regain our former fitness level of a few years earlier,” she said.

“We’ve been attending circuit classes at the gym twice a week since we arrived and Ross enjoys his regular lawn bowls, tennis and line dancing.

“Whilst we hadn’t ridden our bikes for many years, we thought it was time we got back into riding given the abundance of cycle paths in the area so we joined the Landing cycle group.

“We enjoy riding immensely and in addition to our regular weekly riding with the group, we’ve done several rides in NZ and one in Europe.

“Ross and I set goals for ourselves all the time; we train for it, stay focussed and then just go and do it.”