OVER THE TOP: Riders pedal through the rain after reaching the summit of the Jackagery Gap climb during the 228km Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif on Saturday. PHOTO: BILL NORTH
OVER THE TOP: Riders pedal through the rain after reaching the summit of the Jackagery Gap climb during the 228km Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif on Saturday. PHOTO: BILL NORTH

Riders reign in wet Cyclo Sportif

TOUGH conditions threatened to ruin the day but the riders refused to concede in the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif on Saturday.

Rain, slippery roads and waterlogged clothing took a toll but most in the field were able to complete the gruelling 228km trek across the ranges.

The Grafton Cycle Club was well represented in the annual event and all of the club's riders crossed the finish line in Inverell without any major injuries.

Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif goes ahead despite weather: WHILE wet weather caused the cancellation of most sporting events in the Clarence Valley, cyclists braved the conditions for an early pre-dawn start to the Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif. Organisers ensured all safety precautions were in place to ensure safe passage for the 228km journey along the Gwydir Highway from JJ Lawrence Park in South Grafton.
Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif goes ahead despite weather: WHILE wet weather caused the cancellation of most sporting events in the Clarence Valley, cyclists braved the conditions for an early pre-dawn start to the Grafton To Inverell Cyclo Sportif. Organisers ensured all safety precautions were in place to ensure safe passage for the 228km journey along the Gwydir Highway from JJ Lawrence Park in South Grafton.

Club president John Harrison said the ride was lots of fun and praised the Inverell Cycle Club for putting on a great event despite the unpleasant conditions.

"We had a good day with a good group of guys," Harrison said.

"It was a shame about the weather but I thought the Inverell club did a great job of organising the event.

"To ride it and finish it is a good day.

"That's my sixth finish out of seven attempts so I was really happy. The guys in my group looked after me all day. I was a bit of a protected rider throughout the cycle and they all let me cross the finish line first in the group. It was a really good day despite the rain."

Check out Cyclo Sportif in the rain: Nothing could stop the keen riders who tackled the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif this morning. All starters completed the non-competitive event which mirrors the 228km Gwydir Highway course of Australia's toughest one-day road race. Video: Bill North/Daily Examiner
Check out Cyclo Sportif in the rain: Nothing could stop the keen riders who tackled the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif this morning. All starters completed the non-competitive event which mirrors the 228km Gwydir Highway course of Australia's toughest one-day road race. Video: Bill North/Daily Examiner

"It was a tough, long day in the saddle," Hughes said.

"The conditions were very trying. We had rain all the way through to Mt Mitchell. It was that consistent rain though, where you get drenched and stay drenched all day. My feet were sopping wet; there was dirt and grime everywhere which made it hard. The wetter you are the heavier you get. I went out on my own for a while which got really tough.

"Luckily, because it wasn't a race as such we weren't limited to being fast so I was able to stop off at Mt Mitchell and change into some drier clothes which gave me a new lease on life heading toward the finish.

"Overall it was a good day and a great achievement for not just me but also for the guys who were involved and the Grafton Cycle Club."

Cyclo Sportif commissaire Stuart McPherson said while the weather had impacted there had been no major incidents.

"I thought it went really well," he said. "There were no serious issues, the riders were well mannered and the traffic was well mannered also. The road was in pretty good condition. There was no debris on the road going over the ranges.

"I think only one young guy didn't finish due to mechanical issues but the rest finished comfortably."