WHAT'S ON

Granite terrain on show as new bike race pedals to bring in visitors

Gravel and granite: Terry Butler and Michael Lieberman check out Gunya Road, which forms part of route 2. Photo: Shayle Graham.
Gravel and granite: Terry Butler and Michael Lieberman check out Gunya Road, which forms part of route 2. Photo: Shayle Graham.

A new bike racing event catering to riders 13 and up of all levels of experience is scheduled for August, taking advantage of the local terrain.

Gravel n Granite will take place on Saturday, August 21 with three route options: 28, 65 and 102 kilometres.

The event will be run by Tenterfield's Saddlers Mountain Bike Club supported by Tenterfield Shire Council, and will cater for riders seeking a challenging, adventure-based experience. The routes will take them off the bitumen roads but without the higher level technical aspects of traditional mountain bike events.

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Not to be outdone traditional mountain bikers are also attracted to these events, presenting an opportunity to challenge road riders on their own terrain. This will be the first hybrid/gravel event that Cycling NSW has added to its race calendar.

Chris Thompson of cyclesense=excellence has worked with the club to prepare an event management plan, ensuring a professional and experienced approach is applied to planning and implementation.

"Cycling NSW has identified the potential of this new type of 'hybrid' event and has extended its traditional focus from road and track cycling to include a gravel event on its calendar for the first time," Mr Thompson said.

"The region's scenic, challenging gravel roads interspersed with quiet bitumen sections presents potential to attract a wide-range of participants from around the country."

Thanks to government grant funding received as a result of the region being hit hard by bushfires, it is intended that Gravel n Granite will generate enough momentum and attendees to become a highlight of Tenterfield's annual event calendar, attracting hundreds of participants from near and far and providing a boost to the local visitor economy.

Mayor Peter Petty said council supports the future of gravel cycling and mountain biking in the region, following a business case presented by Regional Development Australia - Northern Inland in October 2020 in support of the Angry Bull Mountain Bike Trails proposal.

The proposed concept would see the construction of 150 kilometres of varied trails to suit riders of all abilities, including disabled riders and walking trails, placing Tenterfield as the first year-round mountain biking destination on this scale in Australia.

"This was the first step in establishing Tenterfield Shire as an adventure tourism hub," he said.

Easy rider: Kildare Road is part of the shortest route. Photo: Shayle Graham.

Easy rider: Kildare Road is part of the shortest route. Photo: Shayle Graham.

Early-bird registrations for Gravel n Granite are open now, closing 11pm Monday, July 5. General registrations will close 11pm Monday, August 16.

To register go to thesaddlersmtbclub.com.au/gravel-n-granite. Those who don't hold AusCycling membership will need to purchase the add-on day insurance when registering.

The website has lots of information regarding the three routes which take riders out Kildare Road, Woodside Road or Gibraltar Road, depending on race length. It also includes elevation to gauge the hard pedalling and the coasting.

Cycling NSW with provide race event timing, transponders and live results.

Tenterfield Showground is the hub of all activities, including after-race partying in the evening with food vans, music, firepits and a slideshow of the day's race events.

Organisers are encouraging riders and support crews to have some fun, ride new places and enjoy an end-of-winter weekend in Tenterfield. Local enthusiasts won't have far to go to join in .