The Newcrest Orange Challenge is back. Celebrating its third birthday with new routes and cementing its position on the New South Wales calendar, the 2018 edition is fresher than ever.
Orange, renowned for it’s fabulous food and wine, it makes sense for the cycling fraternity to follow its nose. In 2016, Bicycle Network branched out from its Peaks and Victorian-based events to try something new in New South Wales. First-year riders found a much-needed fondo, tough and challenging but achievable and rewarding for all. In 2018, the event is even more inclusive with fresh routes designed to satisfy a broader range of fitness levels. So highlight Sunday, 4 March 2018 in the calendar and get started on a training program.
The Brute, the original 170km Orange Challenge, is billed as a Belgian spring classic. Flowing around the tableland country surrounding Mount Canobolas and taking in all the hills on the way, riders will negotiate 2,200 metres of total elevation gain – most of it tackled in the second half. You won’t find particularly long and steep climbs in these parts but the rolling slopes will test your resolve while the infamous Piggery Hill won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
The Brute doesn’t allow for short cuts or slow pokes, so Bicycle Network have devised The Tonne, starting from Canowindra and following the last 100 kilometres of The Brute course. It may be short a few kilometres but with 1,430 metres of climbing you’ll be rewarded by the time you hit the Velodrome in Orange.
For those unsure or tipping the balance in favour of more time to sample local culinary delights, The Taster is an aptly named 70 kilometre option, with only 770 metres of climbing. Following The Brute course to a finish in Canowindra, lunch and transport back awaits, all on picturesque, empty, country roads.
In a standard we’ve come to appreciate, the course will have full traffic management, including first aid and mechanical support. All rest stops will provide water, nutrition, bathroom facilities, plus an additional lunch stop on each route.
Don’t discount the shorter options, as there’s plenty more to see in Orange. This year’s challenge coincided with a craft beer and food festival, fingers crossed for the same luck next year. Alternatively, there’s a wide variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, and other events on around the town. Of course, no visit to Orange would be complete without a winery stop or two. Cyclist advises not to drink and ride so stay the weekend and be sure to book your accommodation early.
Cyclist has attended this event since its inception, and in keeping with tradition we’ll stick with the 170km option, for those feeling the challenge come ride with us and prepare with our full course preview here.
70km – $99.00 | 100km – $129.00 | 170km – $189.00
Heard enough? Enter here.
For full details, including entry, head to the Bicycle Network Newcrest Orange Challenge site here.