Pain is relative on the Tour de Cure

HEIDI Bramberger has a sticker on her bike that says ‘Suck it up, Princess.”

The avid Bendigo cyclist is no masochist.

But it does put life in perspective as she toils up hills on the punishing 1576 kilometre Tour de Cure from Sydney to Hobart over 10 days – her second Tour de Cure, which raises funds for cancer research and support.

”When things get tough or painful (on the ride), you know can stop and rest,” she said.

“People can’t do that when they’ve got cancer.

“It really brings it home.”

Bramberger, a Commonwealth Bank employee at Strath Village, and her colleague Marco Artini are two of five cyclists from Team CBA riding in the annual Tour de Cure from March 28 to April 6, of which the Commonwealth Bank is a sponsor.

Bramberger appreciates the raw humanity - the emotional ups and downs and “humbling” atmosphere of the tour.

“You’ve got people on the ride who have overcome amazing adversity,” she said.

“Then you’ve got people who are really committed, like you’ve got CEOs from businesses.

“But the beautiful thing about the bike I think is that it’s a real equaliser – as soon as you put on the Lycra, no one knows what walk of life you have come from.

 “Everyone has a story of why they are there….everyone’s got their personal stories about what impact cancer has had on them, or their family or friends.

“There’s a lot of emotion on the tour – elation, happiness and pain all mixed in.”

When one in two men and one in three women are impacted by cancer sometime in their lives, Bramberger said cancer touches many people.

On Friday the two riders helped host a barbecue and raise funds for Tour de Cure outside the Strath Village CBA branch.

Thirty-five local businesses donated prizes worth more than $2000 for the team’s raffle, CBA’s Deanne Bruhn said, and Strath businesses donated goods for the barbecue.

“We havn’t spent a cent. I think I bought a foil tray,” Ms Bruhn said.

“The local support has been very generous, every cent we have raised is going straight to Tour de Cure.

“The staff have been just been amazing as well, especially Melissa McCarthy who organised the barbecue, and the community gets really involved as well.”

Raffle prizes include a $300 car service voucher and a fold-up bicycle.

The Commonwealth Bank has raised about $25,000 for the tour so far and has five cyclists in the ride – from Bendigo, Launceston, Melbourne and  Shepparton.

Both Bendigo riders are in serious training:  Bramberger is riding 430 km a week in preparation for the entire 10 days, while Artini is training 50 to 100 km three mornings a week for a two-day leg of the ride.

It sounds tough but for Bramberger toughness is relative.

“When things get tough, people can’t choose when they have cancer,” she said.

“It’s about putting your head space into what it might be like for someone that has to go through that.

“We can get off and have a hot shower and be fresh again the next day.

“I have sticker on my bike that says Suck it Up Princess and that’s pretty much the message.

“It’s there to remind you of why you’re here.”

Tour de Cure raises funds for the cure, prevention and support for patients with cancer and has raised $10 million since 2007.

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