Grafton cyclist euphoric just to finish 228km cycle classic
CYCLING: The euphoria of finishing his first Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic has not worn off for Grafton cyclist Garrett Salter.
Riding in division 3, Salter finished the 228km trek up the Gibraltar Range and beyond in 8 hours, 15 minutes, just 28 minutes behind the lead riders.
"When I went round the corner and saw the finishing arch up ahead, the feeling was pretty amazing," Salter said.
"I'm still feeling pretty good, considering the ride."
Salter said battling a cross headwind from the start of the race made it a war of attrition the whole way.
"It was pretty gusty on the range," he said. "But once we got to the top it was pretty much in your face the whole time.
"Everyone was looking for a good spot in your group to ride in."
After failing to finish in his first attempt at the classic last year, Salter knew he had to race smarter this time.
"When you're going up the range, you have to stick to your own thing," he said.
"You know you've got about an hour of pretty uncomfortable riding ahead of you, but you can't get too carried away, or you can ruin your race."
Salter said once he reached the top of the range, a group of riders started to form up for a "race within the race" to Inverell.
"We had about 20 or so riders in the group and we stuck together for most of the way," he said.
"About 20km out we had one guy make a pretty significant attack, but I was able to do a bit of work with the pack to reel him in."
Salter said he took his chance about 5km from the finish to make a break away.
"I went full gas for the line," he said. "I knew I had the legs to do it."
Salter said after finishing the event this year, he would be having "a real crack" next year.
"I think I can finish in the top 15-20 riders in my division," he said.
"With the level of training I can fit in, I think that's doable."