Organising an event is a bit like conducting an orchestra. All the elements must be in the right place at the right time. Everyone needs to know their role. And then you need the planets to align.
They certainly aligned for the sixth annual BVRT E2Ex2/BVRT 150 Challenge Bike Ride 2023.
The challenge was to ride from Esk to Wulkuraka, back to Esk, then up to Yarraman and back to Esk. A total of 322 km in under 22 hours. The riders started at 7.00 pm on Friday, so most of the ride is overnight.
We had an amazing volunteer crew, mostly old hands who know the event well. The trail was in excellent condition. The weather was mild but foggy in the small hours as the mist descended, there was a full supermoon, there were no bushfires, no storms, no floods, and no COVID lockdown.
We had awesome participants and so many new faces and old friends. A perfect recipe for a great event.
Despite a slow start, there was a last minute surge in registrations. The final number was 88 for the two events, eight more than last time, and a 50 % increase in the number of women participants with 11 overall. Still low but getting there as we encourage more to participate.
We had a quite a distinguished line up for the event. Glen Chadwick and Clinton Hayward, both previous record holders, jointly set a new record for the 322 km BVRT E2Ex2, completing the course in 10 hours and 56 minutes, beating the previous record set by Clinton Hayward in 2022 by 38 minutes.
Jon Odams and Joris van der Tang are also worthy of mention – they were riding at the front with the other two until Jon punctured at Yarraman. In a commendable act of chivalry, Joris stopped to help him, sacrificing his own chances of being a new record holder. They both still did very well, coming in only 7 minutes behind the other two.
Anna Beck’s impressive female record time of 13:38:54 from 2020 still stands, but congratulations to Berenice Heuberger for being the fastest Female finisher with a time of 14 hrs and 34 minutes, a very impressive 2 hrs and 25 minutes faster than her previous time of 16:59 and looking remarkably fresh after 14½ hours on the trail. Perhaps next year she’ll have a go at the record? I know someone else who has it in her sights for next year, so it could be quite exciting…
We used to have a challenge – ‘can you beat the train?’, which used to take 6 hours from Ipswich to Yarraman. It looks like a bicycle would be faster these days.
We had a great line up for the BVRT 150 which is a sub variant of the E2Ex2. Starting at 6.00 am on Saturday morning, cyclists ride from Esk to up to Blackbutt and then return. A total of 150 km.
Again, we have new records. The fastest male time of 5:10 was recorded Taylor Charlton, beating the course record set in 2021 of 5:20 by 10 minutes and Deborah Latouf recorded a remarkable fastest female time of 5:56, beating the female course record of 7:36 by 1 hour and 40 minutes. How awesome is that? Very impressive.
Not for nothing is the 322 km BVRT E2Ex2 cycling endurance challenge renowned as Australia’s toughest rail trail cycling event. For a small number of elite endurance cyclists, the question is not whether they can complete an off-road course of 322 km in under 22-hours, but how fast can they do it?
But for the majority, the question is simply, can they survive until the end? Kudos to everyone who completed the course even if it took nearly the whole 22 hours.
A special congratulations to Gavin Johnson for having completed his 6th BVRT E2Ex2, the only person to have participated in all six events, and to Jason Weir who came in last in the 322 km, but still smiling after over 20 hours in the saddle.
These events contribute significantly to our local economy with many staying for the weekend with their family in local accommodation and eating out in the pubs and cafes.
We’d like to thank Brisbane Valley Roasters for staying open all night and through the following day so we could use the café as the event control centre, Linville Store for staying open all night to provide a place for the riders to refuel and rest a bit, and OneTime timing solutions for providing the timing and tracking system.
But it’s not all about breaking records – it’s not a race. I’d also like to give a shout out to the ordinary women and men who gave it a go and simply aiming to complete the challenge within the 22/11 hour time limit for the two distances of 322 and 150 km.
One of the things that impresses me the most about the BVRT is the way it inspires ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They often start out with a couple of small adventures on the BVRT, and then get more and more ambitious as they step outside of their comfort zone.
Cycling the entire length of the 161 km BVRT twice or even once is no mean feat.
So well done everyone for giving it a go, you are all heroes.
Even if you don’t complete the course, you still beat everyone sitting on a couch at home, and I’m sure you’ll come back next time even better prepared.
The great Finisher’s jerseys have been ordered from KGB Graphics. They will take around 4-6 weeks. We hope you will wear them with pride.
Event Results: https://results.onetime.sport/activities/event/e396c458-dec2-4808-b87b-a5197e3bc7e1
Thank you so much for all your support.
Paul Heymans for the BVRT Users Association crew.