The newly named Bathurst Cycling Classic is one of the fastest growing weekends in New South Wales’ cycling. Incorporating several events across two days including criterium racing, the NSW Hill Climb Championships, and the much anticipated Blayney to Bathurst (B2B) Gran Fondo, there’s no shortage of things to see and do for two-wheeled enthusiasts.
With closed roads, punchy climbs, and flat-out fast sections, the B2B is a great opportunity to partake in an officially sanctioned UCI event! So with the weekend of cycling set to kick-off on Saturday, 21 April 2018, we cover all you need to know about the event to make your two-wheeled Mount Panorama pilgrimage a saunter.
How to Get There
Situated around 200 kilometres North-West of Sydney, Bathurst is a three-hour drive from Sydney. For those who prefer other means of transportation, CityRail has a daily return service to Bathurst from Sydney, expect the rail journey to take around three and a half hours.
For those who prefer a more direct method, Regional Express (REX) airlines offer two flights to Bathurst regional airport, situated roughly ten-minute drive from Bathurst CBD. There are both taxi and car hire services available from the airport, however, it is recommended you source your own vehicle in order to see all the sights the region has to offer.
The Gran Fondo Route
There are two different route options on offer for 2018, a short course clocking in at 70km and the premier event, a 110km long course that has been confirmed on the UCI calendar as part of the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Series.
Riders on both courses will be treated to race-like conditions, with riders setting off in waves, based on estimated average speed across the fully closed road course. Whilst both rides start and finish in the same location, the two courses differ in length and difficulty.
Both routes start out in the picturesque agricultural hub of Blayney, heading South towards Hobbys Yard. From here the two routes splinter with the 70km short course taking a more direct route to Bathurst through Newbridge and Perthville.
The long course continues further South towards Trunkey Creek, where aid stations and toilet facilities are available. From here riders then continue North along the rolling Trunkey Road towards Georges Plain before deviating from the short course again to take in a loop down to Rockley Mount. From here riders then head North to Perthville where the route re-joins with the short course. Capping off the ride, participants converge on Mount Panorama, the world famous motor racing circuit, before finishing on the main straight to complete 1021m of elevation over the 110km course.
With anywhere between 70 to 110 kilometres of riding planned over the two routes, the Bathurst Cycling Classic presents as a reasonable challenge for riders of all abilities. We’ve rounded up a few fundamental tips and tricks to make sure both you and your ride, are fighting fit coming into the event.
Prep Your Bike
Preparing your bike is as important as prepping your body for the event. In addition to ensuring your bike is in perfect working order, consider what spares you’re likely to need in case something goes wrong.
To ensure your ride is performing at its best, it’s worth checking your bike in for a service at your local bike shop. This will not only have your ride feeling like new on the day of the event, but also reduce the likelihood of you suffering an event ending mechanical that could’ve been avoided.
When looking at the setup of your ride, it's worth taking the course profile into consideration. With a modest 1000m of climbing planned, it’s a toss-up between bolting on those aero carbon wheels or looking for something a little shallower to make scampering up the climbs that little bit easier. Gearing is another aspect to consider, fitting an 11-28, 30 or 32T cassette out back matched with your crankset configuration of choice might just provide you with the gear range you need at the end in case your legs sabotage your efforts.
Sort out your Nutrition
Regardless of whether you’re planning on tackling the short, or the long course, as rides get longer, nutrition becomes all the more crucial to ensure you don’t just finish the ride, but that you enjoy your time in the saddle too.
Thankfully, planning your nutrition is more common sense and less shooting in the dark. Like all good things, however, enjoying your ride starts with the most important meal of the day – breakfast. On the morning of an event, it’s important to ensure that what you eat works for your stomach, is easy to digest in the early hours of the morning and provides long-burning energy.
On the bike, it’s crucial to maintain your hydration and energy levels. For hydration, riders should aim to consume 500-1000 ml of fluid per hour on the bike. This may mean carrying multiple bidons, or a quick stop to refill your water bottles on the route.
As your body can only store enough carbohydrates, or glycogen to fuel the body for around 90 minutes, you’ll want to look to keep your energy stores up to avoid hitting the wall. It’s worth remembering that the average human can only ingest 60g of carbohydrates per hour of sustained exercise, so look to fuel your ride with cycling specific nutrition that tempers portion sizes to suit this. And like your breakfast, be sure to only eat things that you know you can stomach.
Bathurst Cycling Classic has partnered with Winners Nutrition, who will be providing nutrition to ensure riders are fuelled throughout the race.
What to Wear
Whilst the event takes place in the middle of April, this doesn’t guarantee sunshine and fair winds. Inland regions such as this are known for their changeable weather conditions, so it pays to be prepared for all weather conditions.
A simple way to ensure you are prepared for all conditions and aren’t over, or under layered for the event is to keep an eye on weather forecasts for the area in the weeks and days leading up to the event and pack accordingly.
Regardless, arm warmers and a lightweight rain jacket are popular items for conquering any gran fondo, and will stop you from freezing even if you’re otherwise underdressed for a surprise burst of weather.
Much like the food selection, whatever clothing you choose, be sure that you've worn them before. Finding out that new pair of bib shorts isn’t the perfect fit for you 50km into an event will make for a terrible day on the bike.
More than a Gran Fondo
Planning on bringing the family along and making a weekend of it? There’s much more to the Bathurst Cycling Classic weekend than the UCI Gran Fondo.
Taking place on Saturday the 21st of April, the NSW Hill Climb Championships sees competitors race their way from Harris Park up to Reid Park atop the famous racing circuit on Mount Panorama. If you’d rather spectate some flat and fast racing, be sure to check out the fast and furious action of the Elite criterium racing, sponsored by Reliance Bank, set to take place in the Bathurst CBD.
After the Gran Fondo on Sunday, be sure to stick around as Pit Straight on the Mount Panorama circuit transforms into the perfect place for weary riders, or supportive partners to sip, savour and spectate. Complete with great food, coffee, craft beers and live music, The Village serves as the perfect way to wind down after the event.
Disclaimer: This is sponsored content from the Bathurst Cycling Classic. It was produced by the BikeExchange content team. Images provided by Bathurst Cycling Classic.
For more information on the Bathurst Cycling Classic including how to register, training advice and route details, visit the official website here.