For most the task of taking on the 100km road ride during the Ballarat Cycle Classic is challenge enough, but Ballarat rider Andrew Huie has decided to push himself in the name of cancer research and take on the big ‘double’.
He will be riding the 50km mountain bike challenge before taking on the 100km road ride conquering the infamous Road Nationals course, a feat that has never been attempted before in the twelve years of Ballarat Cycle Classic history.
Mr Huie lost his sister to breast cancer last year and will be riding in her name on a bike custom painted hot pink.
“Cancer is something that has affected us a lot in recent years,” he said.
“We also lost my wife’s father to pancreatic cancer about five years ago. It was tough to see them suffer. My sister lost her mobility and her quality of life really plummeted in the last 12 months. She was basically bedridden at home. It was very tough to see.”
Mr Huie used to race mountain bikes at a state and national as a teenager, but stopped riding after he finished school.
He said the health challenges his sister Kiara faced in the past four years triggered him to reassess his life, and he got back on the bike again about three years ago.
This will be the third year he completes the Cycle Classic mountain bike challenge, but his first for the road ride. He will complete the mountan bike challenge first, before changing bikes and starting the road race with a team of friends a couple of hours after the first starters.
He anticipates the both rides will take about six hours to complete.
Mr Huie’s team Karing 4 Kiara has raised more than $1000 so far, with an aim to reach $5000 before the race on February 17.
“It is a talking point. I tell people I am doing both and they just look at me like I am crazy,” he said.
“People look at the bike too and ask why pink. It creates a conversation and gets that ball rolling again of awareness and talk.”
The Ballarat Cycle Classic raises funds and awareness for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, a world class cancer research facility based in Ballarat.
FECRI is Australia’s only regionally based cancer research centre and relies on the support of the community to continue research into more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer.
FECRI director professor George Kannourakis said the Cycle Classic was more than just a bike ride for many people in Ballarat.
“The even attracts many people who ride in the name of a loved one they have lost, or one who may be currently receiving treatment,” he said.
“We are incredibly grateful to Andrew for taking on this challenge and for supporting the work of the institute. We wish him the best of luck.”