After feeling the rush of a long time dream realized according to plan, Rob wasn’t going to sit around for long. He already had his sights set on the other side of the planet before he’d even finished skating Canada,and he was eager to get there right away. It was time to head down under and face the heat.
So in January 2010, Rob and the crew crossed the planet in a plane en route to the Southern Hemisphere ready for a new continent, riding a deck en route to a cure. They hit up New Zealand first, thinking that its relatively short length would be a good warm-up for the massive Australian trek. Wrong.
Turned out things over there were nothing like what had been skated in the past, with few paved roads, crazy winding hills and nutso mountains popping up all over the place. It’s not very easy to roll around a country like that, and things were more challenging than ever before.
Despite the (literal) bumps in the road and occasional sheep crossing, Rob and the team managed to push through the challenges and stay right on schedule. In under 4 weeks they’d completed 1364 kilometres and felt more ready than ever to conquer the biggest challenge yet: the magical land of Oz.
The Australian skate started in Sydney a month after the team had arrived to that side of the Pacific. Everyone was thrilled to hit the pavement again on straight, flat roads and felt ready for what was ahead of them. The route was set to run along the Gold Coast southbound from Sydney to Melbourne, then west through the continent to Adelaide and finally through the infamous Outback to Perth, the most western city in the country.
So off they went. And Rob was instantly killing it, clocking a couple 100km days within the first week. Turned out that those hectic NZ roads had strengthened his pushing legs and resolve more than ever. This was good…really good.
Then they hit the heat. More like the heat hit them, and it was a with a flaming hot Louisville slugger. As the team approached the Outback the daily temperature frequently hovered around a sweltering 45 degrees and it was starting to make people sick.
Then came the locusts. Like the biblical plague, a thick cloud of massive insects blocking out the sun and swarming Rob’s face, always hovering, never ending. Every 10km the team in the support vehicle had to stop and scrape countless crushed bugs from the windshield as Rob wiped his board (and his face) clean.
After weathering the worst of Locust Delirium 2010, the Skate4Cancer crew directed themselves past Adelaide and toward the heart of the Outback. Everyone was keen to push onward into adventure and Rob had been blessed with a bike land that made cruising real simpled.
Then the nightmare came true. Since the first skate everybody had been terrified by the danger of traffic, and their fears were finally vindicated. As Rob was pushing down the road, a driver came from behind, lost control and swiped Rob as it veered into the bicycle lane, hurling him from his deck. He sustained a serious injury to his groin and there was no choice but to drive back to the hospital in Adelaide to investigate.
Rob’s condition was considered medically serious and the doctors urged him to return to Canada where he could afford to be treated under the Canadian health care system. The wave of good luck had crashed. The skate was over.
Upon arrival in Canada, Rob was treated and instructed to rest for several weeks. He spent his time in bed recovering mentally and planning the next approach. By the time his legs were better his heart was shining bright, and Skate4Cancer stood up again, refreshed and impassioned.
Despite all of the insanity that took place in Australia, Rob vows to return and finish what he started. In fact he’s going to start all over again and cover the ground he already skated, just to prove to those bugs that s4c is like a kangaroo…we just keep bouncing back!