TourXOz - 1 -9 June 2019
Mountain biking for mental health. The Versent TourXOz 2019 ride for the Black Dog Institute
On Saturday, 1 June 2019, 55 mountain bike riders are departing Cairns by bus and then cycling 650kms from Hann River Road House to the top of Australia, arriving at Cape York eight days later.
Riders will be involved in a world-first study being conducted by Dr Simon Rosenbaum, Senior Research Fellow from the University of NSW in Sydney and the Black Dog Institute.
TourXOz organiser and co-founder Neil Jackson said that the study is an extension of the initial findings from the 2017 TourXOz Perth to Broome ride where Dr Rosenbaum monitored each of the riders’ mood patterns before, during and after the daily long distance rides.
“Not only are riders raising funds for the Black Dog Institute and awareness about mental health, they are also participating in a world-first study of correlating physiological data with survey responses along a multi-day endurance even,” said Mr Jackson.
“They are undertaking the next stage in research which began with the 2017 TourXOz Perth to Broome event where Black Dog Institute scientists used the event as a unique opportunity to study how mood changes over the course of such an event, and the relationship with overall mental health.”
The 2017 findings were published in the peer reviewed journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise[NC1] . It shows that symptoms of depression or anxiety can impact on how a participant responds to such an experience and adds to the growing scientific literature about the relationship between exercise and mental health.
“Riders will be required to download an app on their phones and answer survey questions each morning and after the ride in the afternoon,” said Dr Rosenbaum. “Heart rates and sleep patterns will also be captured via a Fitbit device.”
Dr Rosenbaum said his experience in the 2017 Perth to Broom TourXOz ride was “life changing”. He is looking forward to furthering his research with the Cairns to Cape York ride where he will be once more participating and monitoring the riders’ physical and mental condition.
“You’re forced push yourself to the limit physically, while having frank and honest discussions about mental health and hopefully reducing the stigma towards mental illness in the communities we visit. The 2019 event will build on this by combining measures of both physical and mental health.”
Neil Jackson says the ride has special significance for many of the participants.
“Most of the riders have a story about either their own mental health condition or that of family and friends.
“They are taking on this physical and mental challenge to share their stories and continue the conversation that we started as a group when we first cycled across Australia, from Perth to Sydney in 2010.
“It will be a learning experience for everyone as we visit Indigenous communities and small townships and understand about life in the Cape, in particular, the support the individuals and communities need to cope with mental health issues.”
TourXOz is aiming to add to the million dollars already raised by riders and communities and raise another $250,000 for the Black Dog Institute, which will contribute towards its world-class mental health research, education and training. TourXOz is a wonderful Community Fundraising partner for the Black Dog Institute since 2010.
Participants in the event will be arriving in Cairns from all over Australia to join senior executives and major sponsors including Versent, AWS, VMWare, Conga, KJRoss and Meld Studios. The tour is being organised logistically by Cairns business, Cape York Mountain Bike Adventures.
Naming rights sponsor Versent’s (also a major sponsor in 2017) CTO and co-founder, James Coxon said the event is a privilege to support.
“To be able to donate our time, raise awareness and the much-needed funds for the Black Dog Institute, as well as sending 12 of our team on the ride, is an honour.
"Mental health doesn’t discriminate. Like all professions, there are challenges. It can absolutely impact anyone. We don’t know enough about how, when and why mental health occurs. We desperately need more research to be able to prevent the triggers, as well as the causes."
Day 1: Hahn River Road to Musgrave Road House - 64ms
Day 2: Musgrave to Coen - 108kms
Day 3: Coen to Archer River - 66kms
Day 4: Archer River to Moreton Telegraph - 123kms
Day 5: Moreton to Gunshot Creek - 86kms
Day 6: Gunshot Creek to Eliot Falls - 53kms
Day 7: Eliot Falls to Loyalty Beach - 68kms
Day 8: Loyalty Beach to Cape York - 68kms
Day 9: Thursday Island - 10kms
FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS:
RON KRUEGER (TourXOz Communications Director) - 0431 911 240 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEIL JACKSON - 0414 964 148
Media outlets can also download footage at https://tour-x-oz.publish.viostream.com/tour-x-oz-media-page every day of the tour from Saturday 1 June until Saturday 8 June.
NB: Media are invited to the launch in Cairns at the Shangri-La hotel (Pierpoint Road, The Marina Cairns).
Date: Friday 31 May
The event will be MCed by SBS commentator and TourXOz ambassador Mike Tomalaris.
Speaking at the event will be Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, The Black Dog Institute’s Chairman, Peter Joseph, Dr Simon Rosenbaum and, Rupert Guinness, author and long- distance cyclist.