A record number of riders turned out to race and ride the 2019 MS National Fondo Championships as part of FedUni Road National Championships.
There were 17 national jerseys awarded across the respective categories with cool breezes greeting the riders across the course.
In what was the largest participation ride ever held at a FedUni Road Nationals, more than 450 challengers rolled out on fully closed roads to tackle the famed Mt Buninyong course.
The coveted 19-34 age category jersey was taken out my Elwood’s Matteo Bruschi who explains how the race unfolded.
“It’s great, actually didn’t expect to even win the race today. I was here to help my partner, Renata, to do her race and decided to do my own thing. It ended up a pretty good day!” “The first lap was pretty cruisy. But towards the second lap, we kind of did a bit of a selection. We formed a small group of six guys and kept rolling all the way to the end. The last lap, between the six, only three of us were able to stay away and I won the sprint and realised the guy in the breakaway was only five seconds in front so there was a bit of shame but happy with that.”
Kristy Grubits from Coastal Seniors Cycling Club took out the Women 35-39 national title.
“It’s pretty exciting really. I didn’t really expect it so I’m really happy! The second lap I got into a good bunch and I was able to stay with them until the last time up the hill, and then … I time trialled to the finish by myself.”
While the event is a national championship, it is also an important fundraiser to help those living with MS. Donna Meehan’s Hawthorn Cycling Club team raised a remarkable $6000 and took out the top fundraising team.
“The cause was a very personal one with her husband being recently diagnosed with MS.
“It was a team fundraising effort and it all does help. Everything helps with MS, my husband’s now a late diagnosis, so every bit counts for research. It’s about the support of MS and the awareness of it because it is a very wide-ranging disability that affects people differently.”
Cycling Australia’s CEO, Steve Drake, echoed the fundraising message. “It was great to see record numbers of riders out fundraising and riding for MS. Congratulations to all those to won a national jersey and congratulations to Hawthorn Cycling Club on their amazing fundraising efforts to help those living with MS."
City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr. Samantha McIntosh also challenged herself up the climb of Mt Buninyong,
"It was fantastic getting on the bike, even if I did get passed by almost every person on the track nonetheless, I loved it!"
"It’s always really important to see the event before the road race starts, to see what those out there are really experiencing and also from a council perspective to see how the community have really embraced this course and come on board with all the hay bails lined up, and such gorgeous art of bikes to see that creative side of our community coming together."
There was so much it really brings a smile to your face, even after the big hill climb!"
To get involved and donate, visit www.msnationalfondo.org.au