Cyclists from around Australia and beyond will be heading for Spicers Hidden Vale (617 Mt Mort Rd, Grandchester) this weekend for the Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic, which keeps getting bigger each year and shows no signs of slowing down.
What began in 2002 as a few mates getting together to challenge themselves with an epic trail ride has become a two-day celebration of mountain biking and trail running, with something on offer for all ages and skill levels.
This year, the two-wheeled adventure will be joined for the first time by two-legged events, with 11.5-kilometre and 4.2-kilometre trail run epics on Saturday.
There are six cycling events across the two days, beginning with a 4.2-kilometre family fun ride on Saturday, along with a 20-kilometre chaser event as well as a 4.2-kilometre children's mini epic and an 11.5-kilometre children's minor epic event.
Sunday is host to the main event, the 87-kilometre Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic, along with a 50-kilometre pursuit event.
The races will further be divided into categories and teams, with wave starts for the 87-kilometre Cycle Epic rolling out from 8am on Sunday, and the 50-kilometre pursuit participant waves following five minutes later.
Results will be published live throughout the race on cycleepic.com, with people able to view them via smartphone, tablet or computer.
There will also be plenty of family fun and entertainment across the weekend and unpowered camping facilities as well. For those seeking a less rustic experience, there are also limited room, suite and cottage accommodation options available at Spicers Hidden Vale.
Food and drinks will also be available across both days, with an Epic carb-load dinner on Saturday night's menu for those who have pre-purchased it.
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Preparation Is Key To Endurance
In the lead-up to this year's Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic, contenders have been working hard to ensure they have what it takes to get across the finish line.
Taking part in the event is a great way for cyclists and runners alike to have fun and meet other enthusiasts, but without preparation, endurance can suffer.
Fortunately, there is still time for contenders to make sure they're fit and ready.
Emily Rosemund, state development officer for Cycling Queensland, and former Australian national cyclist, offers the following training and nutrition tips:
Day Before The Ride
- Go for a 30- to 45-minute bike ride, focusing on higher pedalling revolutions and utilising small gears. This will ensure you don't pre-fatigue before the race, and it will open up the neural pathways that aid in bike riding efficiency, as well as aiding blood flow.
- Follow any light exercises up with a good stretch. Stretch the major muscle groups specific to cycling – the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, gluteus and lower back, as well as the pectoral muscles, neck and shoulders.
- Keep yourself hydrated and eat nutritious meals that include a good carbohydrate source, protein and vitamins and minerals. Try to avoid alcohol and too much caffeine, as these will dehydrate the body.
- Get an early night's sleep to ensure you are well rested and ready to ride.
- Ensure your bike is clean, all gears and components are working, and your tyres are pumped.
On The Day Of The Ride
- Start the day with a nutritious breakfast.
- Ensure you have packed adequate sunscreen, along with your Australian Safety Approved helmet, spare tubes and pump for any mishaps, water and food.
- Before you get on the start line, make sure you warm up well. This should include a light ride to raise body temperature and warm up your major muscle groups ,followed by another pre-ride stretch.
- Do another quick bike check to ensure your bike is still in working order and nothing has fallen off or misaligned while being transported to the event.
During The Ride
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink water or an electrolyte source, taking small sips frequently to avoid dehydration.
- Consume food to keep your energy levels up. I recommend a carbohydrate source for each hour of riding time, for example, one banana every hour.
- Keep your pedalling revolutions steady and utilise your bike's gears to retain efficiency throughout the ride.
- Have fun.
Spotlight Is On Fun And Relaxation
For all those participating in events, or just making the trip to spectate and savour the atmosphere, there are a number of things to do, participate in and enjoy across the weekend.
There will be entertainment and rides available on Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 5pm with the purchase of a Kids Play Pass.
Epic Events Management event co-ordinator Fleur Brooks said there will be a rock climbing wall, giant jumping castle and giant slide. During the afternoons, pony lead rides can also be enjoyed.
The play pass is $20 for one day and $30 for two days with unlimited use of the attractions.
Spicers Hidden Vale's 'Hatted' restaurant – Homage – will be operating and available for bookings for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There will be live music – Jazz on the Lawn – on Sunday between noon and 4pm outside the main Spicers building, providing a relaxing space for an afternoon drink.
The newly re-launched Spicers Barn – nicknamed the Asahi Barn for the Epic weekend – will be providing both hot and cold drinks, including Asahi beer on tap, along with many food options, whilst being close to the central action of the event.
Spa Anise will be offering massages across the weekend where they will be taking on-site, walk-up bookings for all of their massage offerings.
Situated in a quaint cottage on the property, Spa Anise offers a range of massage, beauty and therapeutic treatments, from aromatherapy massage to full body treatments, in relaxing natural surroundings.
Helicopter rides over the track and action will be available throughout both days at $65 per adult and $55 per child.