In week 4 the challenge of 110km and 764m of vertical climb was tackled by 82 keen cyclists, 4 seniors, 15 parents and 9 staff for the Year 9 Cycle Camp.
Over three days, 2 groups of Year 9 classes followed the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails taking on a challenge of endurance, mindset, teamwork and leadership.
The four classes were split into two groups. One camp was away from Monday to Wednesday (9KGR and 9DSM) and the second was from Thursday to Saturday (9NSM and 9CBD). Along with the physical challenge, this experience gives students the opportunity to mix with their new classmates and get to know their teachers better as well.
The first day (for both camps) took the cyclists over the 12km Clyde River Track which served as the perfect warm-up for the challenges to come. A quick lunch break and it was on to the big challenge of the day. The Roxburgh Gorge.
The students negotiated twists and turns, rises and falls and they edged towards Doctors Point where the relief of a 20-minute jet boat ride awaited them. This was a real highlight and provided some relief from the heat of the day.
After a bit of a rest on the boat, the next challenge was the climb up towards the dam, with another 12km of riding and several metres of uphill switchbacks. This was a huge challenge for the students who showed a high level of perseverance and grit to make it to the top. The feeling of elation (and equal parts exhaustion) was a worthwhile reward for their efforts.
The last part of the day provided a wind-whistling downhill blast towards camp. While you would have thought the students would be out of energy by this point, this was not to be and the evening was filled with sessions in the pool, cricket and antics on the trampoline. It was great to have students, staff, parents and senior leaders getting in on the action and the boys are to be congratulated for the very inclusive way in which this was managed.
Day two was a gradual downhill ride from Roxburgh, through Millers Flat and on to Beaumont. Although this day had less climb to contend with, the heat definitely made its presence felt. For the first camp, they went from the highs of a 30-degree day in the gorge to drenching rain on Tuesday afternoon. This tested their temperament as we attempted to put up tents and set ourselves up for the night while keeping them as dry as possible. We were impressed by the positive and humourous way that the boys approached this and made the best of the situation.
For Camp 2, the boy's efforts were rewarded with a swim at the end of the long 42km of ride. We found a great spot not far from our Beaumont camping site and enjoyed a refreshing dip in the mighty Clutha River.
The final stretch on day three was a quick ride up through the Big Hill Rail Tunnel and through to Lawerence where the boys were rewarded with ice creams courtesy of the Lawerene Night 'n' Day.
We were very lucky to have a fabulous group of parents along on both camps. We could not undertake these experiences without their assistance and support so we are all very grateful for their contribution.
Each camp also had the support of two senior students (Nic Hinton, Millar McElrea, Nick Casey and Luke Brown) who served as leaders, mentors and role models to the boys of 'how we do things' at McGlashan. The contribution these young men made was substantial and we are very grateful for the time and energy they gave to the camp.
All in all, it was a terrific few days. The students took this opportunity and all the challenges it presented in their stride. We hope they can take some of the skills and attributes they have shown on camp (determination, perseverance, grit, support of others, leadership) and apply these in other areas of their lives too.
A massive thank you to all the staff that attended, particularly Mr Casey who invested a great deal of time behind the scenes to ensure the boys had a fantastic trip.