If you’ve not ventured to Orange you are missing out. It’s a ridiculously good place to visit… eat, drink and enjoy the stunning Australian countryside…. and take the bike, ride up some ripping hills at the Newcrest Orange Challenge on Sunday 31 March 2019.
So, I’ve heard that mini-breaks are a thing… and I’m thinking that the most simple way to improve said mini-break is to add a bike to your weekend away. Over summer and autumn I’m keen to experience several mini-breaks with the criteria of, good accomodation, things to do for the family, good food and drink in the area, drivable distance and of course, awesome cycling opportunities.
I have not ridden my bike in Orange for a long long time. I’d guess around 10 years+ at least, so when I saw the Newcrest Orange Challenge pop up, I knew that it was a mini-break criteria matching opportunity, plus I’d not have to worry about where to ride and know there was support and food/drink as needed. Very good.
The Australian countryside is amazing. Clean air, quiet roads, great hills and opportunities to explore, relax or sit back and enjoy quiet or gaze up at a million stars that you’ll never see from the city. Then there’s the opportunity for time out of the rat race to ride more or visit local producers and support regional areas.
The Newcrest Orange Challenge actually has three ride options, 70km, 100km and 170km. The best way to describe the routes, and riding around Orange, is spiky. It’s a constant up and down place with few long grinds and more short super sharp ups. Check out the Strava routes below and it will become instantly clear.
70km - 770m of vert
A brilliant introduction to riding in the area, or for those that want to get out for a ride without demolishing themselves. There are some awesome downhills to enjoy with the odd climb to keep you honest as you make your way from Orange to Canowindra where you can grab some lunch, before being transported back to Orange. A few words of warning… you’ll still need to be prepared for this one, it won’t be a walk in the park.
100km - 1,430m of vert
As you hit the century, things get a bit more serious. Adding just 30km to the 70km option may not seem like a big deal, but you’re also doubling the vert. Yummy. The route starts out at Canowindra (Bicycle Network will transport you to the start line) and tracks back into Orange finishing in the centre of town. The route shares none of the roads as the 70km ride so you won’t have hundreds of riders coming the other way. This is a pretty serious ride that you’ll need to be well prepared for to get through.
170km - 2,200m of vert
I think it goes without saying that this is moving into game face territory. 170km is a long way… and 2,200m is the hight that light aircraft fly so this ride offers the form of enjoyment that non-cyclists never seem to fully understand. The route is a big loop that takes you over the 70km and 100km course and starts and finishes in Orange. There’s lunch and multiple water stops to keep you going.
All rides are supported and offer food and water stops.
I think that’s pretty much settled. Black out the weekend of 31 March 2019, plan a road trip (8 hours from Melbourne, 4 hours from Sydney), lock in some awesome country accomodation and start riding up hills in preparation for your mini-break.
Head on over to the event page at Bicycle Network’s website HERE for more info.