CYCLISTS from across Australia visited the Clare Valley over the weekend for the 2018 inaugural Clare Classic.
Riders participated in three events, the 160km Maxi challenge, the 110km Classic challenge, or the 50km Social challenge.
Local rider, Annabel Cox entered the Classic challenge and was first female across the line and fourth overall.
Annabel was also fastest female time for both the 160km and 110km over the sprint section.
“I was more excited about that, it was a total surprise,” she said.
“I started in the first wave, thinking if I had to, I could drop back, but no one caught up.”
Maxi challenge eventers rode through Brinkworth, Auburn, Manoora and Farrell Flat, Classic challenge riders headed around Barinia, and out through Auburn, Mintaro and back, while the Social Classic riders enjoyed the scenic southerly region through Watervale and Mintaro, including the Riesling trail.
Among almost 900 entrants, were a handful local riders, and every state of Australia was represented, with 44 per cent of riders coming from interstate.
Riders had also ventured over from Malaysia to participate in the event.
The event was heavily advertised in the eastern states, with advertisements shown at movie theaters and on Foxtel putting the spotlight on the Clare Valley region.
Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North’s tourism manager Amanda Redden said “The potential flow on benefits were huge, with accommodation hosts sold out and hospitality services working flat out throughout the event generating money into the local economy.”
It was a warm 30 plus degree day as the riders left Ennis Park in Clare’s Main Street on Sunday morning to head off in the various directions for the Clare Classic and ‘Breathe in the Valley’.
Annabel said that the course started cooler and ‘comfortable’, but as the ride progressed and the wind picked up it was harder for the riders to drift and rest due to the choppiness of the wind.
“Manoora back home to Clare was the toughest battle,” Annabel said, “You would think local knowledge would help a bit, but not when you know you still have the Mintaro hills to tackle before the home stretch.”
The Clare Classic is planned to return again in 2019 but the date and details are still being finalised