Oppy Wins PBP

Thanks and Gratitude

by Trevor King

From Checkpoint, Winter 1999

My PBP was a little more traumatic than most of you encountered, although I dare say that everybody had their own problems in one way or another.

Early daylight hours of Tuesday morning saw both myself and Otto Galliker reclining in a roadside ditch against our will as a result of myself wanting forty winks whilst riding at 25 to 30km/h (not a particularly smart thing to do). Otto’s lacerated knee was dressed at a chemist at the next large town, for which I was relieved. However, my groin was really aching.


Experience of broken bones over the years gave me the feeling that this was more than pulled muscle or torn ligaments, although never at any stage did I let on to anybody of official capacity or fellow Aussies of my innermost feeling right to the very end. Pedalling was extremely painful and standing up to ascend was out of the question. If I was to complete this Audax endurance ride of all Audax rides, I would have to grit my teeth and suffer like I had never suffered before.

There were severe hills and then dales of coasting respite, but fatigue was approaching rapidly caused by the now awkwardness of my right leg and subsequent lack of pedaling efficiency. Even struggling to the control tables to have my card stamped became a major painful task.

Many stories of endurance will surface over time from other riders, however at this point I would like to extend gratitude to several people, namely Leigh Kilpatrick and Alan Tonkin for their riding companionship, support and expression of encouragement to get me through. Thank you for your compassion and patience almost to the point of jeopardising your own success in the process.

Also to Val, Lena, Anne, Linda and Robyn and all the kind help given at Loudeac and other control points now vague in my mind by Aussie ladies and wives of participants right through to the final control at St. Quentin, to say I sincerely thank you doesn’t seem enough. To Derek McKean and Kim Travers who unselfishly added their help to my plight at Loudeac and Brest, they themselves already supporting their own injuries.

Aside from the people I know by name there were strangers, total strangers, who obviously recognised my pain, came forward to help me up sets of steps or through to the control table. One young girl of about 14 years held my meal tray while I made a selection then ushered me to a table, smiled and went on her way, to help someone else no doubt.

”But wait there’s more !”, the story doesn’t end here. On arrival back in Australia, Saturday 4th September, I called on my local GP for consultation, who referred me for X-rays on Monday. The nurse having taken a few exposures disappeared for a short while, returning with the centre doctor. He leant over and in quiet tones advised me that I had a fractured pubic bone, and in disbelief listened while I related to him that I had ridden a bicycle for some 900km with this condition. Likewise, my family doctor was of the same expression, throwing the X-rays on his desk, shaking his head, and under his breath saying “you’re unbelievable, Mr. King!” The fracture is knitting well and swelling is disappearing. Future riding is not on the agenda at this point for I’ll need a walking stick for some time yet.

“In memory of fellow Audax rider Ray Davis who passed away April 1999 who inspired me to tackle the PBP 1999 some five years earlier.”


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