Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
It’s not a feat for the faint hearted, but it’s also one which many aspire to compete in, and win.
A 228km journey of sweat, power and determination make the annual Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic one of the most iconic sporting events in Northern NSW.
Although the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers ensured the 60th anniversary of the race this year, surpassed all expectations.
A record number of more than 400 cyclists of all levels participated in the event on May 8, competing in four divisions, each one ranging in distance.
Some cyclists travelled from as far as Victoria and Western Australia to compete.
Under clear skies, albeit in chilly conditions, the cyclists enthusiastically took their places on the start line in front of the Crown Hotel in Grafton on Saturday morning, each rider carefully and strategically plotting their course in their respective divisions.
2021 also launched the inaugural Gibraltar to Inverell des Femmes National Road Series, a feature race for women over 136.6km and the first of its kind to be held as part of the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
More than 40 cyclists competed in the event, which commenced from Gibraltar House at the top of Gibraltar Range.
While a crash halfway through the race spoiled the chances for several riders, 22-year-old Ruby Roseman-Gannon from ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, won the event in her comeback after undergoing knee surgery.
She peddled valiantly across the line, claiming victory in the inaugural event in a time of 4:08:56.
Runner up was Josie Talbot from Camden CC with Peta Mullens from Roxsolt Liv SRAM third.
Victorian cyclist Rudy Porter from InForm TMX Make, timed his race winning move perfectly on the outskirts of Inverell to claim victory in the feature division, the 2021 Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic. His winning time was 5:56:12.
Sam Hill from Nero Continental and Ryan Cavanagh from St George Continental Cycling Team finished second and third respectively.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 12 May 2021.