With countless hours and hundreds of kilometres covered in training, Gunnedah cyclist Nathan Browne is two sleeps away from competing in his first “hellish” Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
Steve Murray, Steve Middleton, Nathan Browne and Gary Turner.
Widely considered the toughest cycle race in Australia, Browne will be taking part in his first and is uncertain of what awaits.
His goal is clear however.
“I really just want to finish it. If I’m in the mix toward the finish then who knows,” Browne said.
In the build-up, he’s received advice and training assistance from a number of people, like Garry Turner, Steve Middleton, Stuart Downes and Steve Murray, all eager to see him do well.
Murray, a committee member with the Gunnedah Cycling and Triathlon Club, competed in the race on four occasions.
He’s been quick to offer a few words of wisdom.
“I think Nathan’s the best rider in town at the moment,” Murray said.
“He’s really ramped up his riding and training in the last 18 months.”
But Browne will need to be on his game if he’s to finish the 228 kilometres, including a steep 18 kilometre climb up the Gibraltar Range.
“His aim will be to get over that [the range] and still be in the first bunch. You’ve got to preserve yourself.
“At around 130 kilometres into the race he’ll be at the summit of the range and it’s mostly downhill from there but it’s still pretty hilly,” Murray said.
Gordon Turner Motorcycles have been quick to help Nathan prepare for the event, offering sponsorship, assistance and new equipment.
They’ve provided him with a Giant propel advanced pro zero bicycle to utilise in the race, a bike you would see competitors in the Tour de France use, Mr Turner said.
Nathan will compete in the C grade division against 87 other riders.
“It’s a really sought after crown and there’s quite a bit of prize money involved,” he said.
According to Browne and Murray, he’ll be one of only a handful of riders from Gunnedah to ever take on the challenge.
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