John Harrison will join more than 130 riders leaving Grafton for the 228km trek to Inverell tomorrow.
John Harrison will join more than 130 riders leaving Grafton for the 228km trek to Inverell tomorrow.

Johns long road ahead

AFTER more than 30 years out of the saddle, only ‘absolute insanity’ will see Grafton’s John Harrison to the finish line of tomorrow’s G2I Challenge bike ride.

The 50-year-old will embark on the 228km trek – not to be mistaken with September’s Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic - in a bid to improve on his previous efforts in the event – a nine-hour cycle in 2006 over the same distance.

Not bad considering he had not ridden since his teenage years.

And the social ride is the ideal format who Harrison. Rather than compete against other riders, he nominates a time to finish the G2I and races to complete the track in time.

“It’s hard work,” Harrison said.

“It’s a long time. It’s the challenge of it to just make the distance and seeing if you are physically fit enough.

“I love it and just seeing how far you can go.”

Harrison trains six days a week in preparation for the event, which will see competitors aged 13 to 80 take part.

But he will block out the 130-plus competitors cycling next to him to race one thing - the clock.

“You have to do a lot of hours on a bike,” he said.

“When I did it in 2006 I finished inside nine hours.

“I probably had 20 minutes up my sleeve.

“I will probably stop for an hour but hope to finish within 10 hours. I’m hoping I can do it in the same time this year.”

Harrison has previously claimed a Masters race over 100km but a different tact must be taken for the longer journey.

But he figures he has the strategies in place to ensure he will not be left behind.

“Probably the thing you try and do is keep yourself relaxed,” he said.

“You feet get sore. Your hands go to sleep. You start to cramp. You must stay mobile in the bike.”

Next up for Harrison in 2010 is a trek up Mt Bulla in Victoria – a gruelling 185km ride which includes a two-hour trip to the summit.

Not that this is likely to scare off the Grafton Cycle Club member.

“My goal is to cycle as long as I can,” he said.

“There are guys we ride with who are 70 - I hope I can be one of them. It’s good fun.”

The added bonus of the G2I Challenge is a portion of the funds raised go to Ronald McDonald House.

“There’s got to be a purpose,” Harrison said.

“If we can help out it’s all good. That’s a good cause.”

Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif

Distance – 228km

Date – Saturday, February 20

Start time – 6.30am

Finish time – Must be by 7.30pm

Location – McKittrick Park, Grafton

Categories – Under-23, Elite Men, Elite Women, Men Masters, Women Masters, Ride IT, Audax

Entry fee - $130

Prizemoney – Random draw valued at $2000

Contact – www.graftontoinverellcycleclassic.com.au

Charity – Cyclo Sportif supports Ronald McDonald House Grafton



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