Cyclists roll into city for gruelling 100 Mile Classic

Cyclists roll into city for gruelling 100 Mile Classic

This weekend riders from around Australia will converge on the Blue Lake city to participate in the 87th running of the 100 Mile Handicap Classic.

There have been some major changes to the route this year to account for rider safety and the various roadworks happening in the region, but the riders are looking forward to a tough battle.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from Pristine Skin and Laser Clinic, GT Bobcat and Fennell Forestry, the winners of the Men’s 100 mile classic and the Women’s 110km Classic will receive equal prize money.

Racing begins at 8am as the junior riders, from Under 11 to Under 17, tackle a new course.

They will begin out the front of the Blue Lake Golf and ride past Carinya Gardens before turning left onto Carpenter Rocks Road, up the hill to turn left at Moorak Hall Road down the hill to Moorak Primary School, where they turn left again and enjoy a short flat ride to Bay Road.

A left at Bay Road and another left along Orchard Road brings the rides back to the T intersection at Grant Avenue, with a nice uphill finish to each lap.

The Under 11s will ride one lap of the 8.8km course, with the Under 17 riders tackling five laps.

This course will certainly separate those who enjoy hills from those who do not.

Some of the top junior riders here will be hoping to forge careers in cycling and may one day grace our TV screens as the next Tour winner.

Once the junior races have been completed, attention will be drawn down to the BMX club in preparation for the men’s and women’s handicaps to begin.

In cycling handicaps, each of the riders need to complete the course, but some are given a head start before the faster riders begin their chase.

In this case there is usually up to an hour’s gap between the first riders to begin and the final group.

The women will be racing their own race and will be grouped separately to the men, with the plan being they will finish their race about 15 minutes before the men’s race comes charging down Bay Road to the finish line in front of the police station.

Both races will start from Millard Street and quickly join White Avenue/Carpenter Rocks Road.

They will follow this road all the way into Carpenter Rocks, turning around at the General Store and coming back along Carpenter Rocks Road until turning left onto Kongorong/Tantanoola Road.

This could be the first chance to see the cohesion of the groups chasing each other.

The riders will then head to Tantanoola before turning right at Kennedy Avenue, right again onto the Princes Highway, and then left in order to tackle Range Hill.

There will be a feed zone heading up the hill, which may allow some of the riders to take on some more fuel for their race, before the riders zoom into Glencoe.

Taking a left turn at Medhurst Road, this year the riders will come back to Mount Gambier along Wandilo Forest Road, before turning right onto Wandilo Road and right again at Sassanowky Road, rejoining the highway at Compton for the short run to Tollner Road.

Then there’s a right again at White Avenue before a left at Carinya Gardens, the riders will have one last chance to stock up on fuel before the final 50km stretch as they ride past the Blue Lake Golf Club.

Here the paths of the race diverge, with the men’s race turning right at Bay Road to continue down to Allendale East, turning around at the school and riding back to Mount Gambier, up past the Blue Lake and into the finishing chute, whereas the women will turn left at Bay Road and miss the Allendale East leg.

There are 85 riders signed on to race the 100 Mile Classic, including local riders Jami Buckley who this year is making the step up from junior racing, but performing well in local races, Scott Waters and Tim Koopman.

The fastest riders who are making the trip to Mount Gambier include riders who have been participating in the National Road Series with distinction.

In the women’s race, Eloise Sandow will be hoping to take advantage of Katelyn Nicholson’s absence to finally climb the top step of the podium after a couple of years on the lower steps of the podium.

She will have her work cut out for her with other riders such as Ash Ankudinoff and U19 riders Leani van der Berg and Madeleine Wasserbaech wanting their share of the glory.

The finish of the race on Bay Road is a sight to behold, so MGCC encourages interested onlookers to see the end of the race at about 2pm.

On Sunday morning attention will be drawn to the Blue Lake as riders compete for the State Kermesse Championships.

Cyclists in various grades will be racing laps of the 3.8km circuit in a bid to be crowned the state champion.

Competition will begin with the junior grades at 8am and culminate with the men’s State Elite Championships at 11am.

Racing should be completed by 1pm.

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