Triple challenge: Justin's big month on the tour de charity

DISCOVERING that three charity rides you planned to do fell in the same week would make many people reconsider, but Justin Omrod was just  more  determined.

Mr Omrod spent a week on his bike at the end of March covering close to 1000 kilometres as he rode around NSW in support of the McGrath Foundation,  Bikes for Bibles, and Give Me Five For Kids. 

“I was wanting to do all three but then when I found out that they were going to be all back to back that didn’t stop me doing them.” 

“I kind of wasn’t really looking forward to March, like I thought March is going to be a bit sore,” he said. 

This isn’t the first time Mr Omrod has ridden long distances, completing a ride from Tamworth to Canberra in 2008 to raise awareness for autism. 

Mr Omrod has Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism that can impact on communication, social interaction and imaginative thought.

Mr Omrod organised Turning the Wheels for Autism where he rode over 1100 kilometres and launched a navigation book for NSW of the same name that contained information about autism.

Approaching his latest ride, Mr Omrod was much more relaxed. 

“I think I was more serious with my training ... leading up to the big ride I did from Tamworth to Canberra for autism,” he said.

“The most I’d ever done in one day at that stage was 75 kilometres so I was thinking well I need to do a bit of training so I rode up Mount Canobolas, rode to Bathurst and all that and back in that time.”

Completing three rides, the Bikes for Bibles weekend cycling challenge, the MSM Milling Mill 2 Mill ride, and the Ronde van de Nob around Mount Canobolas, Mr Omrod had just one day off which he spent on a bus. 

“The Monday was the only break I had the whole time and I was in the bus the whole day travelling down to Nowra and that was a lot more pleasant being in a bus the whole day than being on my bike the whole day,” he said. 

The Mill 2 Mill ride was the longest of the three, stretching over 630 kilometres from Bomaderry to Manildra and fell in between his other rides. 

“Towards the end I was starting to get a little bit tired ... especially when I got back to Manildra on the Friday night and everyone was going on about the ride being finished and I still knew that I had one more day which was the Ronde van de Nob,” Mr Omrod said.

Not one to shy away from challenges, Mr Omrod keeps people up to date with is endeavours via his blog. 

“I think that’s very important to set challenges for yourself because then you’re not passive and you’re moving towards something,” he said. 

Mr Omrod faced a big challenge in learning to ride a bike, a result of the interests or obsessions that can accompany Asperger’s syndrome. 

“I think I had an obsession that I would only use one foot,” he said. 

“I do remember the day I learned to ride the 18th July, 1993 and it was at the tennis courts. 

“Dad took me and taught me to ride. 

“That was the first day I rode my bike and I was 12.” 

As well as bike riding, Mr Omrod has been participating in Toastmasters, an organisation that aims to improve public speaking and leadership skills.

Mr Omrod joined to further challenge himself and to share his thoughts with others. 

“It pretty much had to do with the fact that I did that big ride in 2008 for autism, the Tamworth to Canberra, and I was wanting to speak at different places about my experiences with autism and all that,” he said. 

Mr Omrod is already preparing for his next challenge, the Narrabri 400 for Bikes for Bibles at the end of the month.

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