By Adam MacDougall, News.com.au
WEATHER presenter James Tobin knows about endurance.
When fellow Sunrise forecaster Grant Denyer was on paternity leave, James worked for 30 days straight — that’s a full month of 5.30am starts — covering for him.
But even he concedes that was easy in comparison to his latest charity challenge — the gruelling 1100km Tour de Cure bike ride from Mackay to Cape Tribulation.
“The ride was so physically tough but also just so emotionally rewarding,” he said.
“There where times when I thought my legs are really hurting but then suddenly you would hear a group of school kids cheering us on and it would make us feel like superstars and help keep your legs peddling. And to think that we raised over $2.5 million on this ride and helped put so many smiles on people’s face is just incredible.”
So how did James prepare for such a tough bike ride in the tropical heat of North Queensland.
“Saddle time. You’ve just got to ride your bike. You need time in the saddle to prepare,” he said.
“Because of all the stops on the Tour, we can be in the saddle from dark to dark. We start before sunrise, and often won’t get finished until after 6pm.
“So cycling has become really my only exercise. I still do a little bit of running or swimming, but I haven’t been in a gym for a long time. When we live in Australia, with these great outdoors, why would you want to be inside?”
A DIET YOU CAN STICK TO
Ask James how he fuelled his body throughout the marathon trip and he doesn’t hesitate.
“The good thing about cycling is that you can eat absolutely everything,” he said. “You’re burning so many calories that it doesn’t really matter what you eat.
“We still try to make it healthy stuff, not just throwing in hamburgers and stuff, but the benefit of cycling is that you can get away with eating a bit more — you legitimately do need to eat a lot of food.”
It’s a different story when James is on the road for Sunrise, though, when the bike is swapped for cars and planes, and the early starts and long days can wreak havoc on his diet.
“When you’re on the road with a crew, at the end of the day you think, let’s just go the pub and get a parmigiana. It’s such an easy option,” he said. “So we consciously try to not do that all the time. But life on the road is hard. It’s about being conscious of not taking the easy option every time. I always have breakfast, and these days I’m proud to say I make it myself at home rather than go out.”
BODY AND MIND
James knows better than most the positive impacts exercise can have on mental health, especially in a social activity like group cycling.
Having lost a friend who took his own life, he says one of the most important aspects of the Tour de Cure is the long-lasting friendships formed. Each day starts with a group breakfast, and the riding pack lean on each other for encouragement and support.
“I lost a great mate,” he said. “So I think one of the real great things about cycling, wherever you do it, is that it’s a social group activity.
“We get together in the mornings, and we talk. And it might just be rubbish, but you’re getting stuff out.”
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