16 March 2024

Rugged Snowy Mountains a challenging route for Gran Fondo cyclists

| Edwina Mason
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Offering one of the most challenging courses in Australia, the Snowy Classic Gran Fondo – now in its third year – attracts cyclists of all levels of experience all keen to take on the rugged and picturesque alpine region. Photo: Snowy Classic/Facebook.

In just a few days’ time, the sound of traffic in the Snowy Mountains will give way to the sound of humming rubber on the road and hearty distant banter as the 2024 Snowy Classic Gran Fondo gets underway.

In its third year, the 23 March classic is maturing as one of the region’s major annual sporting events, attracting local, national and international riders enticed by the beautiful and challenging alpine region terrain.

And with registrations closing 17 March, now is the time to dust off your bikes and lycra and get among the cycling action down in its host town of Jindabyne. Because you too can participate.

The 2024 Snowy Classic is the fifth and newest of Gran Fondo-style events first established in 2016 and now held across Australia in towns such as Mudgee, Bowral, Noosa in Queensland and Clare in South Australia.

A Gran Fondo, which loosely translates into English as “Big Ride”, is a type of mass participation long-distance road cycling event which originated in Italy in 1970.

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It’s run much like a marathon where most participants are competing against the clock instead of other participants. Some team up to raise money, others just treat it as a day trip or a corporate event but, given the course, expect to see some well-trained, passionate cyclists.

The Snowy Classic distinguishes itself as the only classic event on fully closed roads, and also the toughest, as riders have to conquer the tough peaks and elevation of the Snowy Mountains region.

But, with two challenging courses on offer, there’s something for cyclists of every level – beginner to pro – with thrilling climbs, sweeping descents and splendid scenery backgrounded by a buzzing festival-style vibe with support vehicles, food and drink stops.

The 170-kilometre Maxi Classic and the 110-kilometre Challenge Classic start and finish in the heart of Jindabyne.

Riders will leave Jindabyne, crossing the majestic Rocky Plain before passing through quaint and picturesque towns such as the poplar-lined main street of Berridale and Dalgety, positioned on the banks of the Snowy River.

Cyclists will then face the Beloka King and Queen of the Mountain, a three-kilometre vertical climb with an average 10.3 to 14 per cent grade, considered one of Australia’s most daunting and revered cycling ascents.

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Riders who tackle the maxi course will then wind up the mountain through the Kosciusko National Park, climbing to Perisher Valley, a 990-metre ascent over 22 kilometres, before heading back to the Jindabyne finish line.

The centre of activity on the day will be the Snowy Classic Event Village, located at Jindabyne’s Town Centre Carpark in Bay Street, open from 10:30 am – 5:30 pm with live music, market stalls, children’s activities, cycling exhibitors and more on offer.

Organisers say riders from all over Australia, and some international, have registered for the event.

Many will be staying in the Snowy Mountains region over the weekend boosting tourism and bringing considerable economic benefits to the local region.

The public is reminded there will be rolling road closures throughout the region on 23 March with updates available on Live Traffic NSW.

The Snowy Classic Gran Fondo commences on March 23 in Jindabyne. Registrations close March 17. Visit the Snowy Classic website for more information.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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