International endurance mountain-bike rider Morgan Pilley is used to pushing through the elements, but this weekend he'll push on to raise money for local mental health services in a charity ride at Junction Hill.
International endurance mountain-bike rider Morgan Pilley is used to pushing through the elements, but this weekend he'll push on to raise money for local mental health services in a charity ride at Junction Hill. Adam Hourigan

Cyclist's 24 hours of pain for mental health

RACING bikes in the Italian mountains for 24 hours at a time contending with rain, lightning and exhaustion isn't much fun at times, says Morgan Pilley, but it's his job.

And he says the experience can sometimes be a metaphor for life.

"There are some races, and you get to 2am, it's dark, cold and you're hungry and you think there's no relief and you can get pretty emotional, but the sun always comes up in the morning," he said.

"And I think there's a metaphor in life for that, that no matter how bad things get it does get better."

Pilley will put his strength to the test this week, as he again rides non-stop for 24 hours around the Junction Hill Criterium Track in his Ride For Youth to raise money for local mental health services.

International endurance mountain-bike rider Morgan Pilley is used to pushing through the elements, but this weekend he'll push on to raise money for local mental health services in a charity ride at Junction Hill.
International endurance mountain-bike rider Morgan Pilley is used to pushing through the elements, but this weekend he'll push on to raise money for local mental health services in a charity ride at Junction Hill. Adam Hourigan

Last year, he rode 590km over the 24 hours with 69 riders joining him, and raised $3555. The money helped train an additional 60 people in Youth Mental Health First Aid training, something Pilley said was an important part of his ride.

"It wasn't just a case of awareness or getting involved with a national group - what I personally wanted was a community-minded event where 100% of the funds are used locally," he said.

"And from the courses they've already done, a lot more things have taken off and it is gathering momentum."

The ride starts at midday on Saturday, with registrations open from 10am.

HARD ROAD: Morgan Pilley is supported by his mother Sue during his 24-hour fundraising ride last year.
HARD ROAD: Morgan Pilley is supported by his mother Sue during his 24-hour fundraising ride last year. Debrah Novak

The cost is $10 per rider, and whether you ride with him for a lap, an hour or all day, every little bit helps, according to Pilley.

"Even late at night, there was never less than six people out on track, and because the course is so short, having the people to roll around and talk with over the night especially helped a lot," he said.

Donations can also be made online.



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