The Pain Revolution Rides Again! 25 cyclists. 750km. 11,500 vertical metres. 450 bananas.

By Lorimer Moseley @bodyinmind

The 2018 Pain Revolution Rural Outreach Tour made the epic journey from beachside towns to alpine trails in April this year, spreading scientific discoveries from the pain world and raising funds for their Local Pain Educator Programme. The week was an outstanding success:

25 cyclists. 750km. 11,500 vertical metres. 450 bananas. 10kg of snake lollies. 500 sandwiches. 100L of soft drink. 12kg of cold meats. 10 outreach events. 1000+ participants. 250 engaged users at the Brain Bus. 35 media interviews. 677 individual donors. $78,494 raised and counting.

After a rousing send-off from the Australian Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney, we rode through Australia’s oldest national park to the spectacular beachside centre of Wollongong. The Brain Bus hosted entire classes of students and a constant stream of passers-by as it demonstrated groovy illusions and brain tricks that help people to understand contemporary understandings in pain science. We packed out the North Wollongong Surf Club for free public and professional seminars.

Next morning, a balmy 34C day greeted us for the ride to Nowra, up the infamous Macquarie Pass, through Kangaroo Valley to Mount Cambewarra and more packed houses at the local bowling club. For me, the toughest day in the saddle was the 160km, 2000m 40kph headwind slog fest to Canberra. It was metaphorically suited to the whole event. At halfway, I felt spent. I was pretty sure I couldn’t make it to the end, but decided instead to make tiny goals – the top of this climb; 100 more pedal strokes. Then I distracted myself – how many pedal strokes before the bike in front changed gears; how many decimal points could I work out average speed from the distance and time data on my Garmin. Breaking the journey up into small and attainable goals, distracting myself and accepting the generous help from the stronger riders around me saw me home. These are skills that are really hard to put into place when push comes to shove, but they really do work.  We had a bigger day on the bike – an epic 145km, 2900m, sleet and cold winds over the highest sealed road in Australia – but this one I loved. I reckon part of this was knowing I could do it (and knowing I had been demoted to the second peloton…) I took in the amazing scenery and looked forward to a warm cup of tea and night off in the Alps.

The Pain Revolution is a whole lot more than a ride. It is a movement. It is focussed on bringing pain science to rural communities. That every event was jam packed and that Local Pain Educators are already signed up and in for the long run, is compelling evidence that we need a Pain Revolution and there is sufficient energy and commitment on the ground to make it work. This is a totally non-profit project committed to resourcing rural and regional centres to drive a revolution in pain care from within their community in an effective and sustainable way. We raise money to train, mentor and support rurally based health professionals towards developing effective strategies to offer ongoing pain education and training to their communities and to gain sufficient skills and confidence to mentor the next cohort of educators and so the movement grows.

Every donation to the Pain Revolution goes straight into supporting the Local Pain Educator Programme. Cyclists pay a registration fee and raise funds. In exchange, they can take part in a truly transformative week: 10 educational events, delivered by some of Australia’s leading pain scientists, educators and clinicians, and one of the best multi-day riding experiences Australia has to offer. If you are interested in cycling next year, follow the links here.

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