Cyclists to grind it out on gravel roads

Cyclists to grind it out on gravel roads

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 Up to 130 riders are expected to contest the Gravel Grinder Challenge on Saturday, October 19.

Up to 130 riders are expected to contest the Gravel Grinder Challenge on Saturday, October 19.

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Expect to see a bit more lycra than normal between Moora and Watheroo on Saturday, October 19, when the annual Gravel Grinder Challenge is on.

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EXPECT to see a bit more lycra than normal between Moora and Watheroo on Saturday, October 19, when the annual Gravel Grinder Challenge is on.

The popular event, which continues to grow in stature, will see cyclists opt for four different courses, depending on their age and ability.

The aim is to provide an avenue of activity and catch-up for local people and the greater community.

It's just as much a social activity as it is a sporting event and over the years it has been used as a vehicle for local farmers to clear their headspace before harvest cranks up.

One of the people behind the event is local farmer Brad Millsteed who said more people were now more mental health aware.

He said people living in the country had learnt to become resilient but it was still important for everyone to check-in with each other and be aware of support networks that were available.

Previous Gravel Grinder Challenges have also included guest speakers who have helped cast the spotlight on mental health.

As the name suggests, much of the event will be held on gravel with the 15km Grommet Gravel Grind for children, the 52km Gravel Grind and for the more adventurous, the 88km Gravel Grind.

And for something different this year there will also be the 90km All Bitchi Alternative that is for riders who don't want to take their bikes onto gravel.

Recent campaigns have raised money for various mental health campaigns, but Mr Millsteed said this year they had decided to keep the money in the district, putting it towards a new outdoor area for the Watheroo Pavilion.

Mr Millsteed said they went through the thought process of extending the pavilion, which he said had been past its prime many years ago.

He said rather than go down that path they decided to build a better outdoor area that would be purpose-built and more beneficial, particularly to Gravel Grind participants, with the event getting bigger each year.

"Up until now we have been gifted 10 gazebos from the local Lions Club in Moora and that is our outdoor area," Mr Millsteed said.

This is the seventh running of Gravel Grinder Challenge - an event that was created when there were some keen bike riders in the town.

Mr Millsteed said it was created out of a conversation with a few people who were looking for a community activity, particularly with the lack of sporting clubs in the area.

It was recognised that many local people liked riding bikes and creating the Gravel Grinder Challenge meant it was something that the wider community could enjoy.

After the courses have been completed by an anticipated 130 riders, more than 200 people will gather at the Watheroo Pavilion for a meal and entertainment that will be supplied by the Tenindewa Tossers, a band from Geraldton that will play music from the 1970s to the 90s.

Mr Millsteed, who this year will skip getting on the bike, said it was about getting people out of the house, off the phone and enjoying some great country hospitality.

He said it was also a chance for city people to return to the area and chill out for a weekend.

"Everyone can have a few drinks, camp the night and have a good time," Mr Millsteed said.

"The food will be hot and the beers will be cold and it's a good chance to catch up with mates."

More information go to gravelgrinder challenge.com

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