Steve Waugh gets on his bike to lead The Captain’s Ride for charity
“My name is Steve and I am a competitive bastard”
Lalor with an interesting take on Steve Waugh and how leading the Captains Ride and a reptilian urge for sweat and pain are a part of him.
Full article posted in The Australian here:
Written by: Peter Lalor
Lift the roller door on Steve Waugh most mornings and you’ll find the flinty former captain of the Australian cricket team belting the bejesus out of himself on an exercise bike.
They never stop, these sort of blokes, they try to go cold turkey on competition, the rush of the challenge, but they are recidivists.
There’s no 12-step program to get over elite sport. No meetings where you can stand up and say “My name is Steve and I am a competitive bastard”.
Adam Gilchrist ran a marathon last year with his wife, Mel, and raised money for charity. She beat him, which was presumably hard for him to take even if it was for a good cause. Allan Border walked from Sydney to Brisbane for charity and then did the Kokoda Track for the same.
Mitchell Johnson admitted recently to exploring the chance to take up motor racing. Don’t tell his wife. She’s not big on cars and she is proficient at martial arts. In the meantime he’s destroying himself with ex-SAS guys at a private gym.
Back in Steve Waugh’s garage, there’s something more obviously a bit more going on than sating a reptilian urge for sweat, pain and proof that the things that defined him once still exist within.
When not on the stationary bike, Waugh can be seen out pedalling on the M7 or in the National Park south of Sydney, preparing to ride with a team of like-minded people, including Adam Goodes, Anna Meares and Matthew Hayden, from Mittagong to the top of Mt Kosciuszko.
There is, of course, a purpose to the pain. The Captain’s Ride, as it is known, aims to raise money for the Steve Waugh Foundation.
“It’s my stupid idea, it sounded like a good idea last year when I first did it and now I find myself back doing it again,” Waugh admits. “I guess with charity it is a pretty congested space out there and you need a point of difference. Obviously I believe my charity is very different because we are the only charity in Australia that looks after kids with rare diseases, but you still have to stay ahead of the curve and create events people want to be part of that aren’t a hard ask and they come back the following year because they enjoyed it.
“It’s a leadership week, we get different people speaking each night, you get to spend six days with captains of industry, business, sport, you meet a lot of people, you are riding for a cause.
“The idea was to come up with something challenging. Last year was 900km over six days. We wanted an event that mirrored the attitude that kids who have these diseases show every day.
“They do it tough against the odds, they have enormous challenges and they never complain and that is why the ride is very difficult, it’s meant to be tough.” Waugh, who revelled in the toughest conditions, can’t tell Curtly Ambrose to get back to his mark and bowl these days so he has to find new ways to test himself.
“This is the greatest physical or mental challenge I have ever had, I am not a bike rider, I am right out of my comfort zone and last year I did three months training leading up to it and that wasn’t nearly enough,” he admits.
“There were many times on that ride when I didn’t know how I was going to continue on, but you find a way, the people around you help you out. It’s a team environment and the fact we are riding for the kids made a difference, they would send inspirational messages at night and that got us up the next morning. In a way the kids were the motivators of the riders last year.
“I’ve been training six days a week for it which is harder than I did for my cricket.
“I never thought I would want to do a sport that didn’t involve a ball because I have kind of been brought up that way, but it’s a good social activity, you spend time with people and talk, the phones are off. It’s not weight bearing so it is not too bad for the joints and I like the challenge of seeing if I can do it. There’s a bit of pain involved and that reservoir of mental toughness I acquired playing cricket I need to pull on when I get on a bike because I’m not used to it and it’s difficult.
“I think I like the fact that I am not sure if I can do it.”
The ride begins on Saturday and Waugh will be accompanied by a riderless child’s bike which carries cameras and screens so the children who benefit from the funds raised can participate via technology.
“I have always felt an affinity with people who do it tough or against the odds,” Waugh said when asked why he spends so much of his life pursuing philanthropy.
“I don’t know why but that’s what I appreciate in life and with the kids we support they have been dealt some tough cards but they never complain, they get on with it. I really admire that and I just like to help people who have no one else to help them.”
You can donate to the ride on the Steve Waugh Foundation website.
To donate to the cause and support our founder Mick Spencer’s fundraising, head to http://www.stevewaughfoundation.com.au/events/fundraiser-dashboard?memberId=3141