Outward Bound & Andy Friend join forces to support acquired brain injury

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After almost three months of cycling to raise awareness of acquired brain injury, former Brumbies Coach and Outward Bound Alumni Andy Friend is taking on the last leg of his journey with Outward Bound CEO Darren Black.

Andy and Darren will ride together from Taralga NSW to Canberra, finishing the last leg of a 5000km journey outside Parliament house on Saturday 3rd December. The pair, along with Andy’s support team and wife Kerri, will celebrate the achievement with sponsors, Outward Bound Australia and Brian Injury Australia at a dinner at the National Press Club on Saturday night.

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The FRIENDly Ride began on 1st September as a three month Mountain Bike challenge from Cooktown to Canberra, for Andy and Kerri to support a cause close to both their hearts. After Kerri acquired a Brain Injury in an accident while Mountain Biking just 12 months ago, the couple have decided to donate all sponsorship funds raised from the ride to Brain Injury Australia and The Outward Bound Foundation to run outdoor programs for participants with an Acquired Brain Injury.

Andy said the ride was designed not only to test his physical and mental endurance on the bike, but also to assist Kerri with her recovery as she supports him by being a part of the back up team.

 

“Kerri and I have always enjoyed the outdoors and we were both Outward Bound instructors when we met. The accident changed our world and prior to it I admittedly didn’t know much about acquired brain injury or the affect it has on people and their families,” Andy said.

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Andy said this challenge has been one of the toughest he’s ever faced, but he’s determined to conquer the last leg in order to help his family personally and others publicly.

Kerri has been managing Andy’s social media activity, allowing fans to follow them on their 5000km journey and show their support. Andy has also been writing a regular blog, which includes some inspirational and humorous anecdotes about his experiences during the ride:

DAY 82 – MONDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 2011

DUNNS SWAMP CAMP to WALLERAWANG (95kms)

“…After a long soaking shower, I iced my knees and replenished my depleted water levels. Kez and I then decided to head into the restaurant for a meal. My three courses barely hit the sides!”

DAY 80 – SATURDAY 19TH NOVEMBER 2011

SANDY HOLLOW to DUNNS SWAMP CAMP (96kms)

From Widden Stud the track turned to gravel and quickly into sandy soil as it began the ascent of the Great Dividing Range in Wollomi National Park. The next two hours seemed like they’d never end. The track was heavy given the recent rain and the bike just seemed to stick rather than roll. It felt like I had two flat tyres the whole time. To make matters worse, the steepness of the climbs were well over 15% and the temperature was now up in the 30’s. By the time I reached “Keith’s Lookout”, I was just about spent. I can only remember two other days on the whole journey when I’d felt so drained.

DAY 71 – THURSDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2011

GOSTWYCK to NOWENDOC (120kms)

Kez fed me a ham sandwich, a Mars bar and a bottle of Powerade to try and pick up my energy levels. I told myself to ride for another hour max, and that would make tomorrow much easier. Off I plodded, slowly but surely turning the pedals over. After about 20 mins, the fuel I’d just eaten kicked in and I felt great again. About two hours and another 40kms later I pulled up, just south of Nowendoc, having ridden 120kms, the furthest I’d ridden since we started our journey in Cooktown.

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To read more of Andy’s blog and find out how he and Darren fare on the last leg of this epic ride, visit The FRIENDly Ride website.

If you’re inspired by Andy and Kerri’s journey, you can support their cause and those with acquired brain injury by making a donation here

 

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