Intrepid riders from across the ACT and beyond flocked to the scenic setting of Stromlo Forest Park on Sunday 26th October, to take part in Pedal Power’s Fitz’s Challenge cycling event.
The Challenge, now in its twenty-sixth year, has become a key fixture in the ACT’s cycling calendar and this year saw around 1400 riders taking part under blue sunny skies, with many travelling in from New South Wales and other states.
Challengers chose between a range of courses, ranging from the 50km Tidbinbilla Challenge through the Brindabella Mountains, to the 255km Fitz's Extreme.
On an unseasonably warm spring day in the capital many participants took the challenge with the beautiful scenery providing a little relief on what could only be described as a very challenging terrain. However the camaraderie of fellow riders and the atmosphere generated by the volunteers throughout the day certainly helped.
As Pedal Power Executive Officer John Armstrong, who also took part in the event, commented: “There is no doubt it was challenging, however the atmosphere on the day and the excellent support throughout the event really did help me get through the day. In this weather it was important to stop at the water and food-stops for a chat and refill before setting off to complete the challenge. There were some tired riders today, but we genuinely supported each other through the event.”
As well as testing the limits of their own endurance many participants were also riding for more personal reasons; in order to raise funds for the official charity of the event, The Kids' Cancer Project. This Australian charity is dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancers with the lowest survival rates. The riders have already raised over $36,000 from this year’s event.
Fitz’s Challenge Event Coordinator, Clem Tozer declared the day a huge success, saying: “With close to 1400 riders, this year’s Fitz’s Challenge has been one of the most successful ever in its long history – and I’d like to thank the participants and the dedicated volunteers who made this year’s Challenge event such a great event. With over 60% of riders from outside of the ACT, it truly demonstrates that Canberra is the nation’s cycling capital, with events such as Fitz’s Challenge - and the Big Canberra Bike Ride coming up next year in March – attracting riders of all abilities from within the ACT and beyond.”