Husband and wife duo Mel Behrens-Macaulay and Andrew Macaulay are riding from Maryborough to Canberra to raise awareness for a rare disease.
It’s called the Bloody Long Ride and bloody long it is – 1598 kilometres to be exact to raise funds for mitochondrial disease research and awareness.
“Mitochondrial disease is genetic, there is no cure, little effective treatments and it is terminal,” Mrs Behrens-Macaulay said.
More than 120,000 Australians are at risk of developing the disease.
“It is quite a severe and tragic disease and I actually have mitochondrial disease myself,” she said.
Mrs Behrens-Macaulay was diagnosed eight years ago, but has only had symptoms for 20.
The illness has rendered her blind in one eye and caused severe muscle fatigue and heart problems.
It is quite a severe and tragic disease and I actually have mitochondrial disease myself.
“Mitochondria are the power house of every cell in your entire body,” she said.
“If you think about how many jobs each cell does in your body, it depends on which organ is effected.
“My eyes were the first organs to be effected.
“I’m lucky to not have the massive fatigue symptoms that the majority of mitochondrial disease sufferers do.”
The couple stopped in at Guyra on Monday for lunch before visiting Dave Mill’s bike shop where they found tubes for their tyres.
They had been without spares since day three of their journey.
“We popped two in the first few days and couldn’t find spares in any towns, not even major centres,” Mr Macaulay said.
“We got them in Guyra … but there was nothing for 800 kilometres.”
The pair have already raised around $2500 with a goal of $10,000.
The money will go straight to the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, to help research the disease.
Mr Macaulay said they expect the trip to take about 15 days – with around 100 kilometres of cycling a day.
And it’s not over when they get to the nation’s capital.
“When I get to Canberra there is the National 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike Championships so my intention is to actually race the 24 hour race when we get there,” she said.
Last year, the pair cycled from Harvey Bay to Sydney (1300 kilometres) before taking part in the Bloody Long Walk.
And they’ve got Melbourne booked for 2018.
“We’re going to Melbourne next year to take part in the Bloody Long Walk there,” Mr Macaulay said.
If Victoria doesn’t feel like a bloody long way, Mrs Behrens-Macaulay said eventually she wants to ride to Perth. “I haven’t convinced Andrew yet,” she joked.
To donate to the AMDF visit www.amdf.org.au.