The action has already started, a taster really, but there are huge opportunities to get involved and make a difference.
For the first time, Ballarat Cycle Classic launched with a BMX event in Sebastopol, on February 10.
Now come the rest of the rides.
Classic's bumper weekend will launch with the booming off-road program, including gravel grinds, with Super Sunday's traditional road rides and pet-friendly fun to wrap up action.
The weather is looking fine to ride, walk or roll - an expected top of 29 on Saturday, February 17, and high of 28 on Sunday, February 18, with both looking to be pretty fine with plenty of sunshine.
Every single cent from registrations supports Ballarat's Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute's internationally-recognised work in the fight against cancer.
CLASSIC GOAL: $250,000 (more than $156,000 has been raised by 5pm on Friday, February 16.
Here is what you need to know:
WHAT IS BALLARAT CYCLE CLASSIC?
A chance to ride - on roads, gravel, plunging downhill or on a fun family adventure - or walk to raise money for Ballarat's Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
Every cent from registrations and donations supports the internationally renowned work our scientists are making in Ballarat, including collaborations with major global cancer research teams.
Any age and ability can get involved - even pets - and help in the homegrown fight against cancer.
HOW DID THE CLASSIC START?
They wanted strong community involvement, they wanted to support work in Ballarat that would directly affect Ballarat people, and they wanted to honour their great friend Bruce Stafford, who had died with cancer.
Ballarat Cycle Classic hit the roads. The first event had about 200 participants.
The Classic became a chance for riders to take in part of the road nationals course, including the Mount Buninyong climb.
Mountain biking and walking later added with the gravel grind a popular addition during the pandemic period as popularity in the off-road riding started to boom. This helped evolve the Classic into a two-day program with a mountain bike focus on the Saturday and the traditional road rides program on the Sunday.
The 2024 Classic adds BMX into the mix, including a mini wheels program.
WHAT IS FECRI?
Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute started as the dream of Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey when she was undergoing own aggressive treatment for Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer that forms in bone and soft tissue.
She held a meeting in her family room in 1990 to start fundraising for cancer research.
Fiona had a passion for learning from her oncologist George Kannourakis, who made a promise to Fiona before she died, age 14, in 1991.
That promise, fuelled by community support, has continued to grow into the start of the art laboratories housed in Ballarat Tech Park, in Lydiard Street, with about 30 scientists, including Federation University PhD candidates, hunting to unlock more effective cancer treatment.
WHY GET INVOLVED?
For many this is personal or a sense of community or a personal achievement.
AFL great Michael Malthouse perhaps put it best when speaking to The Courier earlier this month: "it's important because cancer hasn't gone anywhere. It's still killing people".
Malthouse grew up in Wendouree, his wife Nanette is a breast cancer survivor, and he said the older he got, the more friends seemed to be diagnosed with cancer.
"I'll defy anyone, who is an adult, who doesn't know anyone who has had or been impacted by cancer," Malthouse said.
FECRI is Australia's sole regional cancer research hub. The institute receives no government funding and relies on community support (the Classic is FECRI's biggest fundraising drive) and philanthropy.
WHAT SORT OF RESEARCH DOES FECRI DO?
Research is primarily focused on the role of the immune system and how it relates and can be used to treat cancer.
The aim is to break through the fog, as Professor Kannourakis puts it, with druggable targets to help the immune system find its way to attack cancer cells without the need for chemotherapy and radiation.
FECRI's key research projects focus on a range of cancers, including: leukaemia, bowel, ovarian, breast, renal, lung, brain and blood cancers.
Work also goes into other rare immune diseases, in particular Langerhans cell histiocytosis.
FECRI also has an extensive tissue bank.
BALLARAT CYCLE CLASSIC AMBASSADORS:
WHAT'S HAPPENED ALREADY?
Three dads from Cranbourne made the dramatic move to ride from their home base, Casey BMX Club, to the BMX track in Sebastopol for Ballarat Cycle Classic.
You need not go to the same dramatic lengths, but every move does count in Ballarat's biggest participation event.
Ballarat Cycle Classic is back for its 17th annual edition raising funds for Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
The BMX trio visited clubs along their 170-kilometre route to the startline at the newest Classic offering on Saturday, February 10 and arrived just in time for racing.
They were led by Adam Wright whose 33-year-old sister Hayley has breast cancer after their mother died with the disease when they were children.
"It doesn't really matter that our bodies will hurt," Mr Wright said. "It's about raising the money for research."
If you want to get involved, Ballarat Cycle Classic is about far more than BMX - that is actually a 2024 addition - and you need not even ride to the startline, or even ride at all.
Most of the favourite events are still a week away, on February 17 and 18, so there is still plenty of time to gear-up and get involved.
THIS WEEK, AT A GLANCE
CLASSIC GOAL: $250,000
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17
9am: gravel grind at Black Hill Mountain Bike Park
Choice of 30-kilometre, 47km or 66km tracks
10am: gravity enduro jam at Black Hill Mountain Bike Park
This is five hours of downhill racing on six trails that are short and fast with a mix of flow, jump and technical lines. There are two climbing trails. In a jam format, riders can test each trail as much as they like but must record a time for each of the six trails.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18
7am: SPUD100 road ride from Lake Wendouree
An epic challenge named in honour of the Classic's foundation ambassador Danny "Spud" Frawley. This is 100 miles, or 160 kilometres, about the region including, of course, spud country.
8am: road rides from Lake Wendouree
Choice of 50km, 60km, 85 or 100km courses about the region.
9am: family adventure ride
A 28km through Ballarat and along the Yarrowee trail to the Gong Gong Resevoir. You can stop for a Springhill Farm slice, lolly and drink at the refreshment stand at the Gong and take a family selfie before riding back.
9.30am: pet-friendly lake walk
A 6km walk about the lake with plenty of others and their human friends.
9.45am: lake ride
Two hours to ride as may, or as few, laps of Lake Wendouree as you like. One lap is 6km.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17
- Sim Street (from Chisholm Street up to the Look Out) Black Hill will be closed to all traffic from 7am to 4:30pm.
- Whitefield Street and Esmond Street (west from Oliver Street) will be closed to all traffic from 8am to 6pm.
- An increase of vehicles will access street parking around the Black Hill Mountain Bike Park and will additionally be directed to a car park at the Black Hill Reserve/Swimming Pool precincts.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18
- Wendouree Parade (inside lane around Lake Wendouree - in anti-clockwise direction) will be closed to all traffic from 5am to 4pm.
- Traffic on Wendouree Parade will be restricted to 40kmh during the event.
- Parking is not permitted on the inside lane of Wendouree Parade from 5am to 4pm.
- Pedestrian access to the precinct will not be affected at any time.
- Additional car parking will be provided for the event in North Gardens on Wendouree Parade.