D234614One of the organisers of the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge, Gavin Slavin, congratulates the first cyclist across the finish line in the 121km event – Leigh Hauxwell from Yarragon. Leigh finished the punishing course in 3.47:37. D234614.

FOR the first time, the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge used a timing device for cyclists on Saturday morning.
While the focus is still very much on participation, and a group event to cycle the South Gippsland hills safely, the timer will act as an extra incentive for returning riders next year.
The timers also allowed the organisers to keep track of the cyclists who were riding 121, 85, 53 or 40km routes.
Last year there was a group of cyclists organisers had thought had lost their way – it turned out they were just having a long lunch in Wonthaggi!
Nearly 600 riders tested themselves against the hills and now the clock during the ride, while others capped off their hard work and training with the challenge just to show they could do it.
Around 80 volunteers from SES, Rotary, Lions, Coastal Cruizers, Phillip Island BUGs, bike mechanics from local businesses and event specialists assisted to keep everyone on track.
Despite an overcast start to the day, the event went without a hitch.
“With lots of Carman’s bars, Mez’s Favourite Fruit Cake and volunteers at the drink stations and helping with signage, we’ll get everyone home safe,” said one of the organisers Gavin Slavin.
The huge numbers of participants had Inverloch’s cafes and bars at standing room only after the event.
Many of the riders were from Melbourne, who had been enticed to come down through ambassador David McKenzie’s work – he was called up to work in Italy with his SBS cycling commentary job, and SEN radio presenter Tony Schibeci, who was “the voice of the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge” on Saturday morning before heading over to the Grand Prix Circuit for the V8s.
The event is all for a good cause – raising money for the RYDA program, which is a driving course for young people.
While waiting for their event to start or cooling down and rehydrating after, cyclists and their families raced on the Leongatha Cycling Club’s ‘watt bike’ – which measures how many watts you can produce through cycling for just six seconds, looked over the RYDA car, joined Bicycling Victoria, inspected bike gear from local businesses WheelHeat and Crossover Cycles (who also performed mechanical repairs on the course), visited the Inverloch Hub, and listened to Marty Box’s live music.