Ballarat cyclist Mark Lacey is crossing his fingers that this year's Great Victorian Bike Ride goes ahead after COVID saw it cancelled last year.
It will be the 12th time he's saddled up for the long distance event which this year will take riders 537km over nine days through the award-winning art silos of Western Victoria and the Grampians to finish at Great Western.
Despite the distance, Mr Lacey isn't the most dedicated cyclist - tackling his first Great Victorian Bike Ride to lose weight and only training for the event in the months before.
"I rode a bike to school but then didn't ride for years," he said. "I'd literally never ridden further than 50km when I started my first Great Vic."
The first 100km day came as a shock, but he managed to complete it.
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"I've got a dog now so I walk the dog to keep up my fitness and only ride the bike really to commute but I'll start to build up," he said.
"But I'd really recommend people to train for it! My advice for someone coming on the ride for the first time is train as riding over 500 kilometres is no easy feat."
This year's Great Victorian Bike ride starts in Rainbow on November 27 and includes stays at Rainbow , Brim, Horsham (two nights), Halls Gap (two nights), Dunkeld, Pomonal and finishes in Great Western on December 5.
"There's a thrill in having completed it once it's done. It's a challenge but it's a great way to see places, you get to know people who come regularly, it's a really good community of people and great camaraderie," Mr Lacey said.
"My claim to glory is I've never got off bike and pushed, and never got on the sag wagon bus you have to get on if you're too slow."
After the ride was cancelled last year he set of on his own long-distance cycle to Halls Gap and back.
"It was three days of riding each way but it's quite lonely on your own," he said.
The 537-kilometre route is expected to attract more than 3000 people from across Australia.
"The Great Vic has visited Western Victoria and the Grampians previously, however, this time we're extending to new areas of this spectacular region," said Bicycle Network's general manager of events Rebecca Lane.
Those who can't do the full nine days can do the first five from Rainbow to Halls Gap, or the last three days from Halls Gap to Great Western.
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