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Mid West’s biggest cycling event returns with something for everyone at Backroads Gravel Fields of Gold

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Stunning landscapes will be opened up again for Fields of Gold.
Camera IconStunning landscapes will be opened up again for Fields of Gold. Credit: Supplied

It is the biggest cycling event on the Mid West calendar as Backroads Gravel Fields of Gold Event returns, promising stunning sights and plenty of entertainment on August 12.

Last year saw the inaugural event include more than 300 riders trekking through one of the most picturesque courses in WA.

Kim Jefferys, from Geraldton Mountain Biking Club, said they had already surpassed last year’s numbers.

“In terms of participation, we’ve already smashed last year’s numbers. We are already well over 500 and will be more than 600 by the end of next week,” he said.

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“This is an event that’s for everyone. You don’t have to be a lycra-clad athlete. Our shorter distances are non-competitive, if you’re an average punter who has a bike you might only ride a few times a year you can enter and get to experience what’s on offer.”

Shaun Dynan, from the Geraldton Cycling Advocacy Group, said the focus this year was opening the event up to as many people as possible.

Kim Jeffrey and Shaun Dynan are excited for this year event.
Camera IconKim Jeffrey and Shaun Dynan are excited for this year event. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

“There’s nothing quite like being the atmosphere of being in and around, like, hundreds of cyclists, where everyone’s on the same energy, the start of the day there might be some nerves, for some it might be their first time entering an event like this.

“But by the end of the day, all that nervous energy is gone replaced with the pride of completing a challenge and what we’re really hoping for is that people hang around and cheer on other riders when they’re coming in and enjoy a beer and festivities afterwards.”

In the theme of being an all-inclusive event, this year will also see the introduction of a 14km run course.

“As much as people love cycling a lot of people love running too,” Dynan said, “Everyone loves Chapman Valley this time of year so we needed to create something where people who loved running could come out and experience all this good stuff as well.”

One of the key features of the Fields of Gold is the ability to ride through private roads and go through areas not usually open to the public.

Jefferys said it was also one of the safest rides out there with most roads closed except for local traffic.

“Gravel racing is one of the fastest-growing segments of the sport, it’s more relaxed than road riding and doesn’t require some of the technical skills of mountain biking,” he said.

Dynan said plenty of work had also gone into expanding the off-course offerings, with plenty of food and entertainment available at Nabawa Oval.

Canola fields in the Mid West during Backroads Fields of Gold cycling event.
Camera IconCanola fields in the Mid West during Backroads Fields of Gold cycling event. Credit: Daniela Tommasi

Riders are expected to come from all around Australia.

“It’s a great opportunity to show people the Geraldton experience especially with the new bike path in you can ride uninterrupted from one end of the town to the other and you’re along the beach for most of it,” he said.

The day will also be raising money for Mid West Charity Begins At Home, with socks for sale at the ground. On Friday, August 11, former pro cyclist Mitchell Docker will be in town, joining for a captain’s ride up and down the coast at 7am.

A pre-event function on Friday night includes a panel discussion with Docker as well as food trucks and entertainment at Blue Heelers Square starting at 5pm.

To enter or for more information visit https://backroadsgravel.com.au/.

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