July 3, 2018
An endurance cycling race held on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail last Saturday drew more than 142 competitors, though only 132 managed to finish the gruelling course.
The event was the BVRT-100, a cycling race between Esk and Yarraman that challenged riders to complete the 100km distance in eight hours or less.
Participant numbers were more than double last year’s roll-up, and the course records for both men and women were smashed.
According to cyclist Andy Handyside, who won the inaugural BVRT-100 last year, the general pace of the race was ‘fast and furious’, and positively ‘eye-watering’ in the early part of the day.
It saw a group of about eight Toowoomba riders quickly establish a big gap at the front of the pack in the cool morning air before the tempo began to settle down.
But when the race leaders heard two cyclocross bikes were in hot pursuit, the pace rose again as they sought to protect the gap they’d opened up – something that continued all the way to Moore.
Once there, however, the velocity dropped on the run to Linville and the base of the climb up the Blackbutt Range where one of the competing riders joined the leading pack, which by then had been whittled down to four.
“I’ve no idea what happened up the track but I can tell you the rest of my race consisted of grovelling up to Blackbutt and then trying to hang on for dear life for the last 18km to Yarraman,” Andy said.
“This saw me cede a position and meant I had to settle for seventh place.
“I was at the finish line in Yarraman Station Park when the remaining top riders came into the final straight for a blistering final sprint.”
This year’s joint winners in the men’s race were Benji May and Zach Larsson, who tied for first place with a time of 03:29:53.80, 12 minutes faster than Andy’s winning time last year.
Will Brown came second, and third place went to Trent West.
The women’s race was also a close call after a sprint finish by Rachel Edwards and 16 year old Holly Lubcke that saw only 0.23 seconds between them.
Rachel won with a time of 04:05:59.01, while Holly placed second with 4:05:59.24.
Third place went to Rebecca Stone, who holds the current record for the fastest time to complete the BVRT in both directions, with a time of 04:19:01.71.
Race organiser Paul Heymans, the president of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association (BVRTUA), said he was very pleased with participation numbers at this year’s event, as well as the positive feedback the group received on social media after it was over.
“The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail has become an iconic trail for cyclists that brings huge economic benefits to the Somerset and South Burnett regions,” Paul said.
“Many of the participants made a family weekend of it, and one of the staff from Esk Caravan Park told me all the accommodation in Esk was booked out, with an overflow to Toogoolawah.
“On my way home, I was unable to get a table at Esk Thai and the Grand Hotel was packed.”
Paul said the BVRTUA’s next event will be the BVRT End-to-End Extreme 161km Challenge on August 4 between Wulkuraka and Yarraman.
“When we ran the first event last year we expected 30 takers to sign up but we had 130 at the starting line,” he said.
“Many of the participants in the BVRT-100 were using it as training for the BVRT E2E-160.
“With the new section from Toogoolawah to Moore opening in the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be huge this year.”
[Photos: Element Photo and Video Productions ]