Nicola Brander, 22, is taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Nicola Brander, 22, is taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Zoe Ware

Conquering the pain

BURNING leg muscles. A relentless sun beating down. Never-ending hills.

That's not everyone's idea of how to spend a weekend.

But one weekend in August won't be just any weekend for Sunshine Coast photographer Nicola Brander.

The 22-year-old will be taking part in The Ride to Conquer Cancer in Brisbane on August 18-19.

The gruelling 200km ride will start and end in Brisbane, travelling throughout scenic countryside over the two days.

Riders will camp overnight at Wivenhoe Dam where they will be able to enjoy hot showers, meals, entertainment and massages.

For Nicola, this ride isn't just about the scenery and the exercise. It's personal. One of her close friends has been diagnosed with breast cancer and the worst part is, they're the same age.

Nicola's mother also has friends who have been diagnosed with the disease.

"Cancer affects so many people and I want to help make that little difference," Nicola said during a break from work.

While Nicola is a regular cyclist on Coast roads, she has never faced such a daunting number of kilometres as this before in one weekend.

"I have ridden in a few different riding events over the last couple of years, but they've only been 100km," she said.

Although a newcomer to this event, she realises it will be no walk in the park - especially after having spoken to riders from previous years' fundriasers.

"This is the first time I've participated in this event and I don't know what to expect," she said.

"I have met some people who have done it before and they say it's challenging as there are a lot of hills involved."

Nicola has already helped raise about $2500 and is hoping to add a total of $7000 to the event coffers.

Last year 1343 riders took part in the ride, raising a record-breaking $4.7 million for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Event co-ordinator Brian Lowe said riders from all over the Coast had registered so far and organisers were hopeful of surpassing last year's number of participants.

While some people may see the ride as a struggle, Brian assures prospective entrants that is not the case.

"Of course it's not a race or competition, so riders can take their time and if they don't feel like riding all the way, our crews are there to pick them up," he said.

"Treat the race as the fun event that it is and remember why you've registered for the ride - to raise money for QIMR so that there will be positive outcomes for cancer sufferers."

Nicola has begun training for the 200km ride and is feeling confident she will finish the race, although she acknowledges it will be testing.

"I think I will go all right," she said.

"I've done a lot of weekend training but not with hills.

"I am looking forward to the massage on the overnight stay."

To register for The Ride to Conquer Cancer or for more information, phone Brian on 1300 450 936 or visit



  • One in two Australians are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
  • Cancer is the second-highest cause of death in Australia.
  • The most common cancers in Australia are prostate, colorectal, breast, melanoma and lung cancer.



>> To read more lifestyle stories

Good crush figures despite unscheduled mill stop

Premium Content Good crush figures despite unscheduled mill stop

‘Weather conditions remain favourable for harvesting with no rain forecast for the...

Solar farms, parks, cycle circuit in Collinsville’s future

Premium Content Solar farms, parks, cycle circuit in Collinsville’s future

Residents are being asked to give their take on the future of the town.

YOUR SAY: Reef, renewables and recognition among priorities

Premium Content YOUR SAY: Reef, renewables and recognition among priorities

Whitsunday voters share their hopes for the state election at the Chamber of...