If you have taken part in the FITZ’s challenge before, you will know that this event is only possible thanks to an army of dedicated volunteers who work very hard on the day and on the weeks leading up to it to ensure everything runs smoothly and safely.
Clem Tozer has been organising volunteers and logistics for nearly 20 years and like every other year, this year on challenge day, he will be stationed at the start of the course, at Stromlo Base.
When asked what he does at Stromlo Base, Clem replies “Very little, I hope!”
Hopefully his wish will be granted as for him, the hard work is happening now in the lead up to the event and a quiet challenge day will mean all is running as planned.
Amongst other things, Clem and his team are organising snacks and water at check points as well as police, ambulance, first aid services and other safety measures on the day to ensure riders have the best possible experience.
“We have a number of systems in place to keep our riders safe” says Clem. “Water is the main thing. We’ll have three 1000L tanks out at our main check points of Gravel Pit, Tharwa Village and Rendezvous Creek, plus smaller tanks and drums at every other check point. We are carting about 3800L of water in total to make sure we have enough for all riders.”
“We’ll be carting about 3800L of water on the day”
250kg of bananas, 20kg of oranges, 25 watermelons, 40 fruit cakes, 20kg of other assorted cakes and biscuits and 20kg of lolly snakes will also be available at check points plus 20 loaves of freshly made Vegemite sandwiches at Tharwa and Rendezvous Creek will help riders on the longest routes ward off cramps.
“We have about 45 Pedal Power volunteers helping with the event. As well as delivering water and snacks, they are also driving three sag wagons which patrol the routes in case any riders need assistance, whether medical or mechanical” Clem explains.
These volunteers are all keeping in radio contact thanks to 15 additional volunteers from WICEN Australia, a network of amateur radio operators especially accredited to assist in emergency situations.
“There is very little phone or radio coverage on much of the route so we are very thankful for our radio operators who set up transmitters and make sure accidents or issues can be reported on and dealt with promptly” says Clem.
The FITZ’s also benefits from a third group of volunteers from Amnesty International. They attend to raise funds for their own organisation by providing lunch for the riders on the longest courses.
“Most riders are really appreciative of all the volunteers and that is one of the main perks of the role” says Clem “We get lots of compliments and thanks, both on the day and in the following weeks.
The FITZ’s this year will run on 30 October and it is raising funds for Pedal Power’s learn-to-ride classes for kids ‘Big Skills for Small Bikes’, so by participating you will not only be supporting present riders but future ones too!