NO Cycling Australia Chairman has ever raced in the country’s oldest one-day race – the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic.
But the current head of Australia’s governing body for cycling Duncan Murray is prepared to change that fact when the race departs Avalon this Saturday.
“I don’t think a sitting director of Cycling Australia has ever finished the race,” the 49-year-old said.
“I finished it last time as a deputy chairman but I’m sure I will be the first chairman to be stupid enough to turn up at the start line.”
Murray, who moved from South Africa to Gippsland at the age of 10, has been a keen participant in the iconic road cycling race.
The father-of-three, who puts the classic as one of his top races from around the world, completed his first Melbourne to Warrnambool 30 years ago and has jumped into the saddle for the past three editions of the event.
But with a change of course for the 2019 edition comes a new challenge for the seasoned cyclist, who is gearing up to ride in the men's C Grade.
“I promised myself, because I turn 50 this year, that my last one was my last one but I cracked and entered another one because I love it so much,” he said.
“The new course worries me a little bit. It is a bit hillier and a bit harder and I’m getting older and slower.
“You have a day job and chairing an organisation like Cycling Australia and have a family it gets harder to train.”
Because of the limited time Murray, who became chair of Cycling Australia in July last year, had to adapt how he prepared for the new-look 262-kilometre course.
“We were down in Lorne for two-and-a-half weeks so I was up and down Benwerrin a dozen times a week,” the former inaugural Chairman of the Amy Gillett Foundation (2007-2013) said.
“I have also been doing some of the hills around Frankston. For the time reasons it has been more quality than quantity. Hills have never been my friend but you have to flog yourself and hurt yourself to get over them.”
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