Grafton City Cycles owners Sue Webber and Trevor Creighton sign up to tackle the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo-Sportif.
Grafton City Cycles owners Sue Webber and Trevor Creighton sign up to tackle the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo-Sportif. Debrah Novak

Grafton to inverell hitting the road

FORGET the gruelling 228-kilometre trek up and over the Great Dividing Range, the toughest task facing local cyclist Trevor Creighton in the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif is the deprivation of his favoured hot brew.

Creighton, along with fellow Grafton cyclist Sue Webber, will join the peloton on Saturday as the Sportif re-enacts the 'toughest one-day race in Australia'- the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.

Webber said Creighton, a former endurance mountain bike rider, would be able to overcome all of the Sportif's many hurdles, except for one.

“I think the biggest challenge for him is not being able to stop for a cup of tea,” she said with a laugh.

“In his mountain bike races he stops for a cup of tea every couple of hours, but he won't be able to do that, so he'll be seriously caffeine depleted.

“He has talked about putting tea in his water bottle, but I think he's got some people taking a thermos so he'll be able to get a cup of tea along the way.”

The Sportif, which will begin at the Grafton council chambers, gives cycling enthusiasts an opportunity to experience exactly what the classic's professional riders face every year.

“This isn't a race, it's a challenge ... so a lot of people who ride it won't be regular racers,” Webber said.

“It's designed to let people who want to have a go at the ride try it out and see what they think about it.

“It's like in Europe where the big events like the Tour de France give an opportunity for amateurs to go and ride the course.”

Webber co-owns Grafton City Cycles with Creighton and said they were tempted to take on the challenge by the reaction of their customers who had tackled the Sportif in previous years.

“It's very hard, it's very challenging but the people who complete it, you should see how they look ... they're so pleased with themselves,” she said.

“They call it the hardest one day race in Australia and you think 'well I got to have a go', you would be crazy not to just give it a try and find out what it's like.”

Formerly a Woolgoolga resident, Webber, who will compete in the 65-kilometre Glen Innes to Inverell stage of the Sportif, recently joined the Grafton Cycle Club and said there was no better area for riding.

“The beauty of living here is being able to go out riding three or four mornings a week. There is always people around and it's great riding,” she said.

“Grafton is one of the best places to ride.”

Webber and Creighton have only been competing in road racing for the past year, but feel it is time to test their skills on the road to Inverell.

“It's funny because I never thought of myself as that sort of rider (road racing),” Webber said.

“But as I've done more riding and I've ridden better bikes, I just find I'm getting stronger and enjoying it.

“With the road it's more tactical and you can get a lot of help because you're riding in a bunch so you don't have to work so hard.”



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