Entries roll in for cycle challenge

Entries are open for the fourth running of the Snowy Valleys Cycle Challenge, to be held on Sunday March 6.

Event organiser Bruce Giles said there had been about 50 entries already.

“That’s about normal for this time,” he said.

The Challenge has a permit for up to 500 entrants, and organisers are expecting about 400 to take part. It is organised by Tumut Rotary, with help from Batlow Rotary, Tumbarumba Rotary, Tumut Valley Riders and the Adelong community. 

The event is aimed at providing a challenge and enjoyment for riders, as well as showing off the Snowy Valleys to visitors, and raising money for charity.

This year’s charity recipient is yet to be confirmed. Last year, the money went to the Tumut District Hospital Auxiliary for the purchase of a new ultrasound machine. 

Much work behind the scenes has been done to get the event on the road.

“We got approval from the Shire, Traffic NSW and police after a significant amount of effort,” Mr Giles said.

Riders have the choice between riding distances of 16km, 45km, 72km, 144km and 160km.

“The 72km distance is the most popular at this point, as it has been in the past,” Mr Giles said.

“We’ve had quite a large number of entries for the 160km distance; above average.”

Entries for this distance usually make up about 10 per cent of the total (there were 43 entries for the 160km last year), but they have made up about 20 per cent of the total so far this year.  

The smallest field is usually that which takes on the 16km distance. Sixteen riders entered for this.

Mr Giles expects entries to rise dramatically when the event gets closer.

“Because of Covid issues, people are sitting and waiting at the moment, and to be honest that’s what I would do,” he said.

He said that organisers would strictly comply with whatever Covid-19 regulations were in place at the time.

The start-finish line and event hub is at Adelong Showground.

Tumut River Brewing Co will have a van there, and there’ll be food and market stalls.

Musician Dan Whiting, who did a fine job providing entertainment last year, will be back again.

The Challenge is aimed at all ages, and the oldest rider in last year’s event was an 86-year-old who rode the 45km distance with her 82-year-old friend.     

The oldest rider to complete the 144km circuit was 68-year-old Col Wilkinson.

Many entrants from last year’s event are entering again this year.

“We got a lot of really good comments about last year’s event and that is very pleasing for the people running it,” Mr Giles said.

He is confident that the Covid situation won’t lead to the Challenge being cancelled as it was two years ago.

“I don’t think there will be any problems,” he said. “The Tumut Cycle Classic went ahead.”

He said that the Cycle Classic and the Cycle Challenge benefitted each other to a degree.

“People came to both in big numbers from Griffith,” he said.

The biggest markets for the Challenge are Canberra and the NSW South Coast, followed by the Southern Highlands. The largest rural market is Griffith.

“We get surprisingly few from Wagga,” Mr Giles said. “I think they’re afraid of hills.”

For more information on the Snowy Valleys Cycle Challenge, go to snowyvalleys cyclechallenge.com.au.

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